The most anticipated historical action drama directed by Akan Satayev "Dawn of the Great Steppe" was released in Kazakhstan. The film shows Kassym Khan's childhood, his youth, and reign over the Kazakh Khanate. The film was shot by the Kazakhfilm studio. The project took over a year and a half to complete. The filming involved approximately two and a half thousand people. The main episodes were shot in the Almaty region, near the cities of Zharkent and Kegen. According to the producer, one of the most difficult and pivotal scenes — the large-scale struggle for Ulytau was shot in the Kapshagai area. Many scenes were shot there.
“This is one of our country's key moments. Kasym Khan has a special place in it. It is a pleasure and big responsibility for me to present a film about this great figure. I hope that our effort will be well-received by the audience. It wasn't easy. The film was shot during the summer and winter periods. We could only have a rest during the breaks between filming. The battle scenes take up 20 minutes of the 2.5-hour film, which is regarded a significant amount of time. Preparation for the scenes was the most challenging part of the filming process,” said Akan Satayev, a filmmaker.
Berik Aitzhanov, a well-known Kazakh actor, played the lead part in the action drama. According to him, playing the legendary Kassym Khan was not hard, but it was a great responsibility to audience. Over 6,000 online film casting applications were received from all throughout Kazakhstan.
“Of course, the cinematic adaptation of Kassym Khan was required by the entire country. After all, this image should serve as a model and an example for the younger and growing generations, teaching patriotism, developing our independence ideals, and encouraging them to respect and honor our heritage. My task was to recreate and display the image of Kassym Khan as authentically as possible, to show that he was a great and wise ruler, who played a key role in the formation and successful development of the Kazakh Khanate,” said Berik Aitzhanov, an actor.
Bekbolat Shekerov, Nazira Bakayeva, and Akan Satayev were the screenwriters. Historians, ethnographers, and culture experts took part in the film’s shooting.
Translation by Saule Mukhamejanova