The Horse Thieves (WIP)

Kazakhstan, Japan / 2019
Asian Project Market 2017

Barymtashylar/ The Horse Thieves

Directors: Yerlan Nurmukhambetov, Lisa Takeba

Script writer: Yerlan Nurmukhambetov

illustration by Saule Suleimenova

saule5.jpg.468x331_q95_box-0,0,468,331_crop_detailCountries: Kazakhstan, Japan

Genre: Western, drama

Reference films:

“No country for old men” by brothers Coen

“Once upon a time in Anatolia” by Nuri Blige Ceylan

“The naked island” by Kaneto Shindo

“My friend Ivan Lapshin” by Alexey German


Artistic mood inspired by Andrew Newell Wyeth and Saule Suleimenova


Foothills of Tian Shan. Gangsters murder a father of a young family and steal the herd of horses that belonged to the village. To compensate the debts the family sells the house and move. On their way they collapse with gangsters.



Olzhas (12 y.o.) is an older son in a family that lives on the foothills of Tian Shan. A gang of horse thieves lead his father to a dead end, kill him and steal the herd of horses that belonged to the village. To compensate the debts the family sells the house and move. Desperate mother asks an old friend Kairat to help her. Olzhas and Kairat get close very fast. On their way they collapse with gangsters.

Olzhas, goes through the death of his father and witnesses the destruction of his peaceful childhood  by unreasonable and cruel evilness.

Director’s statement:

The idea came from the real story that happened a few years ago in Kazakhstan. It’s horrible what people can do for money. I want to tell the story in the realities of 90s because at this period people were wild and hungry, and they didn’t care about humanity and other people’s life. It was wild times in all post-soviet countries with a lot of criminals and no justice.

The main character is a boy Olzhas. He takes care of his little sister, brother and baby-horses. He symbolises life and a new beginning. The line of his emotions and feelings will be developed through the film. I want to show how defenceless and fragile is childhood. When the boy loses the sense of purity and innocence and changes drastically because of the destruction of children’s safe, sensible, idyllic world by beastly evil.

For more information please contact
Julia Kim —
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