• Country: Kazakhstan
  • Initial release: June 11, 2023 (China)
  • Film Director: Meirzhan Sandybay
  • Running Time: 24 Minutes
  • IMDB Grade: 8.5

The animation industry in Kazakhstan has been experiencing a surge in recognition in recent years. With local projects garnering positive international acclaim, it is clear that the country’s animation studios are making their mark on the global stage. One such studio that has achieved significant success is ARA Studios, led by director Meirzhan Sandybay. Their ambitious 24-minute film, ‘Shyraq,’ has captured the hearts of over 250 thousand viewers since its recent release on YouTube. In this article, we will explore the journey of ARA Studios, the creation of ‘Shyraq,’ and the impact of the Kazakhstani animation industry as a whole.

The animation industry in Kazakhstan has been experiencing a surge in recognition in recent years. With local projects garnering positive international acclaim, it is clear that the country’s animation studios are making their mark on the global stage. One such studio that has achieved significant success is ARA Studios, led by director Meirzhan Sandybay. Their ambitious 24-minute film, ‘Shyraq,’ has captured the hearts of over 250 thousand viewers since its recent release on YouTube. In this article, we will explore the journey of ARA Studios, the creation of ‘Shyraq,’ and the impact of the Kazakhstani animation industry as a whole.

ARA Studios: From Humble Beginnings to Creative Powerhouse

ARA Studios, based in Almaty, stands as a compelling example of the creative prowess within Kazakhstan’s animation landscape. The studio was founded by Meirzhan Sandybay, who began his career as a beginner 3D artist. Sandybay and his partner, Meirzhan Sandybay, connected through Instagram and decided to collaborate on an animation project. This collaboration led to the creation of the animated series ‘SABI’ for Balapan TV channel, which tells the story of a girl and her friends – a dinosaur, a robot, a dog, and a fish.

Starting with a small team of four people, ARA Studios faced numerous challenges during the production of the first season of ‘SABI.’ The team had no prior experience in creating a whole series, but their enthusiasm and determination pushed them to take the risk. Despite the tight deadline, the team worked tirelessly day and night to complete the project. Their efforts paid off, and the success of ‘SABI’ led to the offer of a second season.

With the second season, ARA Studios had doubled in size, allowing them to optimize their production pipeline and deliver a higher quality product. This success attracted the attention of Psychedelic Games, a game development company from the United States. ARA Studios collaborated with Psychedelic Games on their labor-of-love game development project, ‘Golden Tides,’ a multiplayer online battle arena game set in a fantasy-pirate world. ARA Studios was responsible for the visual elements of the game, including character modeling, animation, and creating worlds and locations.

‘Shyraq’: A Heartwarming Tale of Courage

Shyraq Poster

The pinnacle of ARA Studios’ achievements is their 24-minute film, ‘Shyraq.’ Directed by Meirzhan Sandybay, ‘Shyraq’ tells the story of a little candle who lives in an attic and is extremely afraid of people. One day, a house cat sneaks into the attic and steals Candle’s most beloved friend, a toy figure. Faced with the loss of his friend, Candle must overcome his fear and venture into the outside world to save his companion.

‘Shyraq’ has captivated audiences both locally and internationally, garnering over 250 thousand views on YouTube since its release. The film showcases the technical and artistic excellence of the ARA Studios team, with stunning visuals and a heartwarming narrative. Meirzhan Sandybay, the director of ‘Shyraq,’ brings his past experience as an illustrator of children’s books to the film, infusing it with a certain wisdom and a touch of nostalgia.

The Impact of Kazakhstani Animation Industry

The success of ARA Studios and other Kazakhstani animation studios is a testament to the growing recognition of the country’s animation industry. The Kazakhstani government has shown a keen interest in supporting this industry, establishing the Qazaq Animation Association and outlining plans to develop creative industry centers in major cities across the country. These initiatives aim to nurture emerging talent and provide opportunities for local professionals to thrive.

In addition to ARA Studios, other Kazakhstani animation studios have also gained traction both domestically and internationally. Tasqyn Studio, a relatively young studio, achieved success with their short film ‘Seriktes,’ earning an award in France. Singularity Lab, based in Almaty, specializes in VR applications for games and educational purposes, further diversifying the Kazakhstani animation industry.

To further propel the growth of the animation industry in Kazakhstan, there is a need for more professionals and educational opportunities. Opening universities or providing specialized training from the school years can help cultivate a pool of skilled animators and industry professionals. Inviting local and foreign specialists to teach at these institutions would provide valuable knowledge and mentorship to aspiring animators. By investing in education and creating a favorable environment, Kazakhstan has the potential to produce more successful examples in animation, much like the achievements of Gennady Golovkin and Dimash Kudaibergen in their respective fields.

The Future of Kazakhstani Animation

The future looks bright for the Kazakhstani animation industry. With the success of ARA Studios and other local animation studios, there is a growing interest and enthusiasm among artists and viewers alike. The production of ‘Shyraq’ and other high-quality animated projects showcases the talent and potential that exists within Kazakhstan.

As the industry continues to gain recognition, it is essential to foster an environment that supports and nurtures local talent. This includes providing financial incentives, educational opportunities, and infrastructure for animation production. By doing so, Kazakhstan can position itself as a hub for animation in Central Asia and attract international collaborations and investments.

1 Film Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • The rise of Shyraq and the success of ARA Studios exemplify the growth and potential of the Kazakhstani animation industry. With continued support from the government and the development of educational opportunities, the industry is poised for further advancement. As Kazakhstani animation studios continue to create compelling and innovative content, they will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the global animation landscape.