Homeward (Evge) directed by Nariman Aliev has been selected by Ukraine to represent the country in the 2020 Oscars in Best International Feature Film category. The film tells the story of a Crimean Tatar man, Mustafa (Akhtem Seitablaev), who is coming back to the Russia-annexed Crimea to bury his elder son (Remzi Bilyalov) who died in the Donbas war.
Having lost his oldest son in the war between Russia and Ukraine, Mustafa resolves to bring the boy’s body to the land of his birth: Crimea. Together, he and his younger son set out on a journey that will profoundly mark their relationship. – Cannes Film Festival
Homeward premiered at 2019 Cannes Film Festival in “Un Certain Regard” section, and also at the Odesa International Film Festival, where the film won the Grand Prix.
When asked, what inspired him to work on this film, director Nariman Aliev responded, “Five years ago, when Crimea was annexed, a lot of people heard of my nation – Crimean Tatars – for the first time. In those difficult times, we supported the sovereignty of Ukraine, despite Russian military intervention. Since then, most activists have had to leave Crimea, and those who stayed have been persecuted for their political and religious beliefs. There are a lot of stereotypes about Crimean Tatars, both in Ukraine and in the rest of the world. It’s impossible to show the full picture in one film or in one interview. However, I would like to start by showing the importance of family values and love for the Homeland. This is what I was taught in my childhood and this is what I will believe in until I die.”
In addition to Akhtem Seitablayev who plays Mustafa, and Remzi Bilyalov who plays Alim, the film stars Dariya Barihashvili, Anatoliy Marempolskiy, Viktor Zhdanov, Veronika Lukianenko, Akmal Gurezov and Larysa Yatzenko.
About your actors, “The main parts are played by Crimean Tatars, as it was crucial for me to preserve authenticity. And it is especially heartwarming that 50% of the film is in the Crimean Tatar language. The father is played by Akhtem Seitablayev. He is a well-known actor and director in Ukraine. I am grateful to him: with all his experience in the film industry he fully trusted me and took the part very seriously. Remzi Bilyalov plays the younger son. He’s my cousin; he isn’t a professional actor. I have worked with him before – he acted in my short film “Sensiz” (“Without You”), along with his elder brother Fevzi. He did me a big favor, he is not into filmmaking at all, but for my sake he agreed to take part. It was hard for Remzi, but he went through the whole process with great dignity.