Director, founder of BAZELEVS
The advertisement series “Bank Imperial: world history” were recognized by peers and collected awards at Russian and foreign advertisement festivals
Timur Bekmambetov was born on June 25, 1961 in the Town of Guryev in Soviet-era Kazakhstan (renamed to Atyrau in 1991). After a prematurely finished stint at the Moscow Energy Institute Bekmambetov went on to serve in a Soviet army artillery regiment deployed near Ashgabat. In 1982 Bekmambetov moved to Tashkent to work with the Ilhom theater and the Uzbekfilm film studio.
In 1987 Bekmambetov graduated from the Ostrovsky Institute for Theater and Arts, gaining the qualification of “theater and film artist”. He moved to Moscow and began working in advertisement production. Bekmambetov directed advertisement videos for the banks Kredit Moskva, Menatep and Imperial. The advertisement series “Bank Imperial: world history” were recognized by peers and collected awards at Russian and foreign advertisement festivals. They were also popular with viewers. Following the series’ release, Bekmambetov was elected the first member of the Russian Academy of Advertisement.
Bekmambetov’s debut film was the war drama Peshawar Waltz, released in 1994. A graduation work at the higher school for writers and directors, the film told about an episode of the Afghan war. The picture took part in several prestigious film festivals, collecting a number of awards, including the Grand Prix at the International Film Festival in San Remo.
Bekmambetov’s first big break came in 2004 following the premier of the fantasy thriller Night Watch
In 1994 Bekmambetov founded the film company BAZELEVS.
Bekmambetov directed an eight-episode series Nashi 90-e (Rus: “Our nineties”), commissioned by the RTR media holding. In 1997 Bekmambetov was recognized as the best young director by the Russian Film academy. In 1998, producer and director Roger Corman invited Bekmambetov to direct Gladiatrix – a feminist version of The Gladiator with a budget of approximately $200,000, which was shot in Russia. The film premiered in 2001.
Bekmambetov’s first big break came in 2004 following the premier of the fantasy thriller Night Watch, based on the book by the same name by Sergey Lukyanenko. The main parts were played by Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Menshov and Viktor Verzhbitsky with Channel One General Director Konstantin Ernst acting as the producer. The film was welcomed with fervor by audiences and screened in Russia, across the CIS, in the UK, US and Germany. A sequel – Day Watch – was released a year later.
2008 saw the world premiere of the Hollywood feature Wanted, directed by Bekmambetov and starring James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Konstantin Khabensky and Angelina Jolie
In 2007, Bekmambetov directed the sentimental comedy The Irony of Fate. Continuation, which became the highest-grossing comedy of all time in Russia and the first ever domestically-produced picture to generated a revenue of over $50 million.
2008 saw the world premiere of the Hollywood feature Wanted, directed by Bekmambetov and starring James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Konstantin Khabensky and Angelina Jolie. A year later Bekmambetov produced the animation feature 9 by Tim Burton.
The eve of 2011 saw the release of the comedy Yolki the Six Degrees of Celebration, starring Ivan Urgant, Sergey Svetlakov, Vera Brezhneva and other Russian stars. Timur produced and partly directed the picture. The Yolki franchise was later extended with four more titles, including the historical Yolki: Tsar Christmas and the family-friendly spinoff Paws, Bones & Rock'n'roll. The Yolki series is to date the most large-scale and the most successful film franchise in the modern history of Russian filmmaking.
The Yolki series is to date the most large-scale and the most successful film franchise in the modern history of Russian filmmaking.
The romantic comedy Lucky Trouble, produced by Bekmambetov and directed by Leo Gabriadze was released in 2011. Lucky Trouble was the first Russian film to feature a contemporary Hollywood star – Milla Jovovich, who was assisted by Konstantin Khabensky and Ivan Urgant.
Bekmambetov’s second Hollywood feature, the sci-fi thriller President Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was released in 2012, directed once again in collaboration with Tim Burton. Bekmambetov was awarded as the Best Foreign Director of the Year at the CinemaCon American film industry exhibition in spring 2012.
In the summer of 2013 Bekmambetov co-produced the ambitious project Hardcore - the world’s first action picture filmed entirely from a first-person perspective, with Hollywood actors Sharlto Copley and Tim Roth and Russian star actor Danila Kozlovsky. Another Timur Bekmambetov film, the comedy Kiss Them All hit the screens in fall 2013 and became the most profitable film in the modern history of Russian cinema.In april 2015 the new producer project of Timur – revolutionary-format horror Unfriended - had been released in the US by Universal Pictures. The film gained the world box-office of $47mln with the budget of $1mln. At the moment Timur Bekmambetov is directing the epic historical movie Ben-Hur for MGM and Paramount pictures studios starring Jack Huston and Morgan Freeman. Ben-Hur is scheduled to be released in february 2016.
- Grand Prix and Best Image Advertisement Campaign award (for "Alfa Bank 3", "Birthday") at the 4th International Advertisement Festival (Moscow, 1994)
- Best Image Advertisement Block ("World History, Bank Imperial") at the New Europe Festival in Slovenia in 1994
- The Golden Cypress Award in the "Image" category at the 2nd International Advertisement Film Festival "Cypress" (Yalta, 1994)
- The Platinum Tarlan, at the 2004 Tarlan Awards, Kazakhstan
- The Order of Friendship for contributing to the development of Russian cinematography and years of creative work, 2011
- Best Foreign Director of the Year at the CinemaCon, Las Vegas, 2012