Articles & Notes — December 3, 2011 at 6:22 pm

On November 24th, the 5th ceremony of Asia Pacific Screen Awards has been held in Australia, and Azerbaijani film “Buta” has been awarded in the “Best children’s feature film” category.

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) promote and acclaim the cinematic excellence and cultural diversity of the vast Asia-Pacific region. Established in 2007, the annual Awards are the region’s highest accolade in film.

Winners are determined by an International Jury and films are judged on cinematic excellence and the way in which they attest to their cultural origins.

An international cultural initiative of the Queensland State Government, Australia, it brings together in a unique collaboration Paris-based UNESCO and FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producers Associations. APSA honours the film culture of a region stretching from Egypt in the west to the Cook Islands in the east, and from Russia in the north to New Zealand in the south, representing a total area of 4 billion people.

Nominees for 2011 Asia Pacific Screen Awards (Asian Oscar) have been selected by the Independent Council for Nominations consisting of experts of film production, directors and authors of the programs of festivals, film critics and academicians from Asia and Pacific.

“Buta” director Ilgar Najaf and producer Hamis Muradov were present at the awards, not only becoming part of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, but also representing Azerbaijan abroad.

ADDITIONAL INFO: “Buta” is a story about a lonely 7 year old boy (named Buta), who lives in a mountain village with his grandmother. He is befriended by an old man, a liquid soap merchant who once loved (and lost) Buta’s grandmother. The old man’s friendship and wise advice helps Buta to overcome his difficulties in life.

Buta’s grandmother, in the meantime, is weaving a special carpet in memory of Buta’s mother. The carpet features a ‘buta’ pattern, which represents love. The boy is inspired by grandmother’s work, and decides to make his own “buta” made of rocks and stones, high on the top of the mountain…

Later, a news conference on the International success of “Buta” was held at the Azerbaijan National Library in Baku. During the event, sector chief of the department of cinematography of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Yusif Sheikhov and “Buta” film director Ilgar Najaа provided information about the picture.






Azerbaijan 2018


Gabil returns home to the humble family farmstead, surrounded by an orchard of venerable pomegranate trees; since his sudden departure twelve years ago he was never once in contact. However, the deep emotional scars he left behind cannot be erased from one day to the next.

Director’s Biography

Ilgar Najaf was born on 2 March 1975 in the Ararat region of the Armenian Republic (USSR). After ethnic conflicts in 1988 (when we has 13), he and his family wereforcibly expelled from Armenia and became refugees. In 1997 he graduated the Azerbaijan State University of Arts, film directors’ faculty. In 2004 he established the film studio Buta Film where he produced a number of films as a producer as well as director.

2011 – BUTA
2009 – THEATRICAL LIFE, short

Burbank, CA – May 3rd, 2018: Tonight at the closing ceremony of 2018  SEEfest, (South East European Film Festival LA.), POMEGRANATE ORCHARD, from Azerbaijan, directed by Ilgar Najaf, won GoE Bridging The Borders Award, presented by Cinema Without Borders and sponsored by GoEnergistics.


Susan Morgan Cooper & Bijan Tehrani presenting GoE Bridging the Borders Award

Azerbaijan, 2017, 90’
Director/Producer: Ilgar Najaf
Producer: Mushfiq Hatamov
Main Cast: Gurban Ismayilov, Samimi Farhad, Ilaha Hasanova

Even with the help of his daughter-in-law and grandson, Shamil is too old to take care of his vast and lush pomegranate orchard, which has been his pride and livelihood for many years. When his prodigal son, Gabil, unexpetedly returns after a twelve year absence, they are ready to believe his promises in spite of the deep emotional scars Gabil left on his family. Inspired by Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.

Jury members for Bridging the Borders Award assigned by SEEfest were:
Therese Hayes has programmed films for the Palm Springs International Film Festival for the past 17 years as well as other world cinema festivals in Bangkok, Mumbai, and is the co-curator of the Indian Film festival in Stuttgart, Germany. She is also working with the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis, and is on the board of Film Trust India, and works as a consultant on Indian films to international festivals. Therese was raised in France and London, and studied Far Eastern Civilization at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Sandra Seeling Lipski is the founder and director of the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival (EMIFF), in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. She is an accomplished actress with notable credits such as CSI NY, Bruno, and Jane the Virgin (CW), and serves as Director of Programming on the film festival team at MissionFest in San Fransisco. In 2017 she was on the juries for the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival and Los Angeles Music Video Festival. Sandra holds a degree in dramatic arts from the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York and is a graduate of the Los Angeles Film School.

Jacques Thelemaque is an award-winning writer, producer and director who founded the Los Angeles filmmaking collective Filmmakers Alliance in 1993 and FA Productions in 2004. He was also Chief Community Officer of in 2005. Jacques has also been a programming associate at the Los Angeles Film Festival since 2011 and has been an advisor, board member, programmer, juror or invited speaker at numerous film-related organizations and events.
Jacques has written and directed numerous short films, including “Transaction” which played at the Sundance Film Festival, and won the Grand Prix du Jury Award in the Labo Competition at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. He also wrote, directed and produced the feature film “The Dogwalker” as well as produced five other feature films.

About SEEfest
The 13th South East European Film Festival Los Angeles (SEEfest) run from April 26 to May 3, 2018. SEEfest is a competition festival presenting cinematic and cultural diversity of 18+ countries of South East Europe to American audiences. SEEfest creates cultural connections through films, artistic and social events.
Each year the festival takes the audience on a journey to the cinematic and cultural crossroads of the countries along the Danube and across the Balkans, touching on the Euro-Asia divide on the eastern shores of the Black Sea and the Caucasus. SEEfest is showcasing independent cinema and providing a platform in the U.S. for the discovery of new talent from South East Europe.

On the left, Vera Mijojlic, founder & Director of SEEfest & Bijan Tehrani

About Cinema Without Borders
Cinema Without Borders ( is an international cinema webzine dedicated to covering and discovering the news, reviews, trends and new artistic milestones in independent film and filmmaking worldwide. Cinema Without Borders Foundation is a non-profit organization supporting independent and international cinema and filmmakers.

About GoEnergistics
GoEnergistics is dedicated to “Serving Those Who Serve
Federal and Private Sector healthcare facilities form the back-bone of an industry focused on healing environments and serving the needs of their patients. As a trusted partner of choice, GoEnergistics’ mission is to dramatically improve healthcare buildings and delivery systems to empower optimal performance and promote the best possible care. Whether it is planning services, design, procurement assistance, medical equipment installation, logistics support or “all-of-the-above,” GoEnergistics is committed to “Building Solutions that FiT Your Healthcare Needs.

Photos by Aaron Perez

About Author

Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children’s books.

” Pomegranate Orchard ” feature film was awarded the Grand Prix of the 12th Lublin Film Festival in Poland.

Report informs that film was produced jointly by “Azerbaijanfilm” film studio and “Buta film” film company at the order of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

The film is directed by Ilgar Najaf, script writers Asif Rustamov, Ilgar Najaf, Roelof Jan Minneboo, producer Ayhan Salar, animation director Rafiq Nasirov, composer Firudin Allahverdi, executive producer Akif Aliyev, producers Mushfig Hatamov and Ilgar Najaf.

Starring are Gurban Ismayilov, Anar Hasanov, Samimi Farhadov and Hasan Agayev.



Efter tolv år återvänder plötsligt den stoiska sonen till sin kärleksfulla familj i Azerbajdjans täta Oscarbidrag inspirerat av Anton Tjechovs “Körsbärsträdgården”.
Shamil har blivit för svag för att behålla familjens granatäppelträdgård som länge varit hans stolthet och glädje. Spekulanterna är många men den åldrande mannen vägrar att sälja. Shamil delar huset med svärdottern Sara och det unga barnbarnet. Efter att hans äldsta son dog i en bilolycka lämnade hans andra son Gabil hemmet utan ett ord. När han oväntat dyker upp igen efter många år, för att ta med sig sin familj till Moskva, blir Shamil misstänksam. Ett starkt och ofrånkomligt familjedrama och ett titthål in i Azerbajdjans innersta väsen. Man kan känna äppelträdgårdens stillhet och draget från det vita husets fönster.

– Niclas Goldberg

Regissör: Ilgar Najaf

Iigar Najaf, born in 1975 in Ararat region of Armenian Republic (USSR). After ethnic conflict in 1988 (when we has 13) he and his family was forcibly expelled from Armenia and became refugees. In 1993 he entered the Azerbaijan State University of Arts, film director’s faculty. His short documentary Shacks without shades (2000) was awarded the Prize of the Baku Youth Festival. His short film “Musicians” (2004) participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus. He established the film studio Buta Film that has produced the number of documentary and short film as a producer as well as director. In 2009 he directed his first short fiction film Theatrical Life (Silver Remi Award at Houston WFF). In 2011 He directed debut feature film Buta. Pomegranate orchard his second feature film.