The Crimean Tatar Youth Day (Qirimtatar Yaslar Kunu) was celebrated at the Crimean Tatar Academic Music and Drama Theater on May 29, with the Crimean Tatar Youth Center organizing the event. An award ceremony for various categories of gifted youth was a part of the celebrations, following the voting for the best young persons by field on the center’s website (http://kmc.in.ua) earlier. The Crimean actress and TV host Dinara Avaz won the Arts category.
She played the part of Feride, the fiancee of the film’s main character Amet-khan Sultan in Haytarma, the first Crimean Tatar movie ever. Following a stint with the Meydan radio station where she hosted the Lezzetli Sofra show, Avaz is now working as the presenter of the morning show Saba Erte ATRde on the ATR TV channel.
“This is my first formal award, and it was the people’s choice. However, the opportunity to work for the ATR was my first real award. As for the voting, had it brought the award to someone else, I would have been happy still, because I know all the nominees and like them all,” she said in response to a question about her award.
On the night of May 29, your reporter decided to go for an in-depth interview with the young and highly promising Ukrainian actress.
Dinara, why did you take interest in the Haytarma project? How did you get to play in the film?
“I went to a casting call, of course, and a few days later, I got an interview with our manager [the ATR’s chief executive. – Author] and the film’s general producer Lenur Isliamov. I felt scared at first, afraid of messing such a serious role up. I still agreed, the strongest reason for it being probably the fact that it was the story of my people, and especially my grandmother, because the Soviets deported both her and my grandfather from this railway station [Siren. – Author]. Therefore, I feel deeply for this topic. This is the first film about the deportation of Crimean Tatars. To act in such a film is a great honor for me.”
Why were you cast for this role?
“I was asked to try and get the feel of my character. The organizers have said I fit my role excellently, but even had I failed to be cast in the prime role, I would have still liked to play in an episode, crowd scenes, among the people, to provide support to the project.”
How do you feel about the statement of the Russian consul in Simferopol Vladimir Andreyev, banning pilots who reside in Russia from going to the film’s premiere?
“The ATR invited them, in fact, and Andreyev’s ban is nothing more than his personal opinion. Having neither watched the film nor learned our history, he ought to refrain from attacking the entire people, overgeneralize and stating his own opinion as the Russian state’s official stance. It hurt, but still, I think he will watch Haytarma. I hope it will change his thinking, but would like to have him to watch it more than once, to study the history of the Crimean Tatar people, and his own people, too.”
Did your TV experience influence your cinema work somehow?
“It did, indeed, and sometimes negatively so. I used to broadcast live, communicate freely with the audience all the time, and though there is camera in TV studio, one still feels that the audience is watching even as one speaks. One answers the calls as they come, sometimes with emotional responses. However, the film required me to play a highly important, serious role, and it had to include not only words, but facial expression and, more generally, acting, too. I needed to feel it first.”
With this success, you are obviously the star on the ATR now.
“Yes, I work as a presenter (smiles). There were similar moments in the film, too, as I calmed children in it, like a presenter would do. When my grandmother had told me about her experiences, I had felt she had a hard time, but when I got to the filming set on that first day, I realized that my grandmother had told me less than a percent of the terrible events she had to live through. I very much hope that the film will have a sequel. This subject can be discussed for hours and covered in a million films.”
Are you ready to star in the sequel, in the whole saga, perhaps?
“Actually, I am not sure, because I realized how difficult this job is during the filming. To feel one’s role and play it so that people would believe is a very difficult job. It is not these difficulties, though, that prompt me to doubt if I would star in a sequel. I am not sure that I would be able to justify the film team trusting me to do the job right. I would like to have a professional actress playing it. I am very grateful to the director and producers for trusting me, but honestly, I have not thought of continuing my acting career yet.”
By the way, Avaz commented very positively on The Day during the interview. “Having got to know your newspaper better, I realized that there are these wonderful people who support us and are interested in our culture. I hope we will join our efforts,” the actress said.