“Isn't it weird to come over, to eat, drink, and then to get ten grand for that?”

For Masha and her girlfriends, the party invitations are a game: they get to drink for free and are even rewarded with a bonus when it's all over. Sure, every now and again a grown man mingles with the young girls during the wild get-togethers, whatever – a fact that Masha chooses to ignore, smitten as she is with seductive Ram, the middle-man who organises these celebrations. But then Masha herself becomes a victim of this predatory arrangement. Farkhat Sharipov, whose work explores the hopes, dreams and dark sides of new-rich Kazakh society, constructs complex shots to depict an Almaty of shopping malls and anonymous apartments, a cold yet tempting world full of consumerist allure – and fraught with the danger of losing one’s self.
by Farkhat Sharipov
with Victoriya Romanova, Tair Svintsov, Diana Bulatova, Yan Tomingas, Evgeniya Ksenaki
Kazakhstan 2022 Russian 73’ Colour World premiere recommendation: 14 years and up


  • Victoriya Romanova (Masha)
  • Tair Svintsov (Ram)
  • Diana Bulatova (Disha)
  • Yan Tomingas (Father)
  • Evgeniya Ksenaki (Larisa)


Written and Directed byFarkhat Sharipov
CinematographyAlexander Plotnikov
EditingFarkhat Sharipov
SoundRuslan Sakiyev
Production DesignAlexey Shindin
CostumesAzhar Aubakirova
Make-UpAliya Shmanova
CastingRaushan Meirmanova
Assistant DirectorDana Serik
ProducersDina Zhumabek, Yuliya Kim
Executive ProducerTalgat Nuriyev

Produced by

Farkhat Sharipov

The director has degrees from the Kazakh National Academy of Arts and the New York Film Academy. His debut feature film The Tale of a Pink Bunny was a box-office hit in Kazakhstan. Beginning with The Secret of a Leader, he is now using his films to explore deep-rooted social problems in modern Kazakh society.


2010 The Tale of a Pink Bunny 2013 Nothing to Do With Aliens 2016 4+1 2018 The Secret of a Leader 2020 18 Kilohertz 2022 Skhema (Scheme)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022