Akhtem Seytablaev’s Haytarma received two prizes at the Kimera International Film Festival in Italy. The film was awarded the Best Director and Best Picture prizes. Let us recall that this is the first feature film about the deportation of the Crimean Tatars during the Second World War. The main character is twice Hero of the Soviet Union Amet-Khan Sultan, played by Seytablaev himself. He is now planning to make a new movie.
“This is a true story about a girl who during the war saved 88 Jewish children, a heroic Crimean Tatar called Saide Arifova,” Seytablaev told The Day. “To survive, the children had to know the Crimean Tatar language and the Muslim prayers. Arifova was a kindergarten teacher and so had experience working with children. She gave each child a Tatar name. By the time the Gestapo began to look into what kind of children she sheltered, they were already able to pass the test. The woman was still tortured by the Gestapo, but she never confessed. She was released, and Arifova raised the children for two years until she was deported. On the day of the deportation, she managed to show the real birth certificates of these children to an NKVD officer to prove that they were Jews. In this way, she saved their lives twice. The children ran after the car and shouted: ‘Give our mother back!’” Now, the director’s chief concern is finding the funding to shoot another movie.