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Kazakhstan-born Timur Bekmambetov most recently directed Wanted, the action thriller which grossed $341 million worldwide. The film starred James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, and Angelina Jolie; a sequel is in development. Wanted and 9 producer Jim Lemley is developing several additional features on which he will reteam with Mr. Bekmambetov as director.
Mr. Bekmambetov co-wrote and directed the highest-grossing film of all time in Russian cinema: 2006’s Day Watch, the follow-up to his 2004 international hit Night Watch; the director co-wrote the fantasy thrillers with Sergei Lukyanenko.
Before he became a filmmaker, he studied at the Moscow Power Engineering Institute. He went on to graduate from the A.N. Ostrovsky Institute of Theatre Arts in Tashkent in 1987, with a degree in theater and cinema set designing.
After several years in the military, he began working in the field of advertising. For the next 15 years, he created and directed award-winning television campaigns that would influence his distinct vision for film. Many of these ads received awards in Russia and around the world. In 2000, he became a member of the Russian Academy of Advertising.
Mr. Bekmambetov’s film career began in 1992, when he collaborated with Gennadi Kayumov to write and direct Peshavar Waltz. The film was awarded prizes for both Best Director and Best Cast at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic.
In 1999, he produced and directed an eight-part miniseries for television, Our ’90s. In 2000, he directed and co-produced (with Roger Corman) the feature The Arena. In 2002, Mr. Bekmambetov directed and co-produced (with Bakhyt Kilibayev) the film GAZ — Russian Cars. In 2007, he directed and co-wrote (with Eldar Ryazanov) the feature Irony of Fate 2, which was a boxoffice smash in Russia.
Through his production and visual effects company Bazelevs Films, he recently partnered with Universal Pictures and Focus Features International to produce and distribute Russian-language feature films. The superhero adventure Black Lightning, directed by Alexander Voitinskiy, is currently in post-production as the first film under the deal.