Our production team and director started the location huntings for our film! Here's some sneak peaks of what kind of scenery will be in the movie. #AfterTheRainFilm
Our second episode for Alya in Kyrgyzstan is coming out soon!
Stay tuned to find out! #SalvagingHope
By Kiri Kim, Production Coordinator
It’s already been over a month (one month and two weeks to be exact) since my team and I arrived here in Kyrgyzstan. And what an amazing sweet adventure it has been thus far! For those of you who know me, I love traveling, and as a military brat, I’ve been constantly exposed to traveling all my life. I love packing and traveling to the unknown, eating dishes you can barely even pronounce, and most importantly, meeting and making new friends.
Before heading to Kyrgyzstan, thinking of all this made me even more excited because I knew that Alya’s journey to Kyrgyzstan would be a craaazy one. Everything that I’ve expected about Kyrgyzstan was true, but one thing that I didn’t really think much of was the local Kyrgyz language.
Learning a language is one of my biggest weakness. As much as I love traveling, speaking a new language is a struggle, and let me tell you, as of right now, the struggle is real.
A couple weeks ago one morning, our team really wanted to eat scrambled eggs for breakfast. We were out of eggs, so the team asked me to go buy some eggs at the “Dukon” (super market) that’s right around the corner.
At this point, my Kyrgyz language proficiency consisted of 8% of actual Kyrgyz words and 92% of sign/body language (think of Charades). And sadly, time to time, I catch myself speaking Arabic to the locals (since I studied Arabic for one year).
Anyways, back to the egg story.
So I walked over to the store. Before heading over, I asked my teammates how to say “egg” in Kyrgyz just in case I didn’t see any eggs around the store.
So there I was, casually walking around that mini store (it’s super tiny- like the size of an average bedroom) looking for eggs. My eyes began to shift and scan from shelf to shelf in search for the eggs. I walk inside around the store again and again.
By the fourth time I went around, I realized that there were no eggs… at least from what I saw, there were none in that store. But deep within me, I knew there had to be eggs. A couple days before, Spencer bought eggs from this store! It’s just that it’s hidden, or out of stock. So I immediately thought to myself, "Egg...Egg… how do you say egg?? Kiri you’ve got this- you know this! Esther told you how to say egg."
So imagine me, in the middle of the store, just standing and thinking to myself, trying to think of how to say “egg" in Kyrgyz.
All this time, Baike (“Mister” in Kyrgz) the store owner, looks at me curiously. I mumble under my breath, “Egg… egg… Athum (which means “egg” in arabic)... Egg.. Egg…. Aaahhh shoot!”
My mission was clear: buy 10 eggs from the store.
My 3-minute trip to the market soon became a 10-minute trip. All I could think of is how badly my team wanted to eat eggs for breakfast, and I knew I had to ask Baike for eggs. Asking him wouldn’t hurt at all… it just took a lot of effort to describe an egg to him, that’s all.
So I boldly ask Baike, “Moshna Baike, barbeh…?” and I quickly motioned with my finger an egg, a round small circle. Baike looks at me and he totally didn’t understand me.
So I repeated and said, “Umm.. Baike, barbeh….” I motioned a small circle with my finger.
This time, he looked all the more confused.
Uh-oh… My head screamed, “Ahhhhhh! An egg!! I just want eggs!!!” Then out of no where, a brilliant idea came to my head! I knew exactly what to do. I quickly asked him the third time, “Baike, barbeh?” and I motioned with my two arms, a chicken flapping its wings. As I was flapping my arms like a mad person, I asked him, “Baike, bok bok booook!” And I then motioned with my finger again, a small circle. “Bok bok bok! Chicken, chicken! Bok bok bok!”
The Baike looked at me, and immediately he bursts out laughing, and says, “Ahhh! Obbaa, Obbaa! (yes, yes) Barbeh, barbeh!! (there is, there is!)” He quickly goes to the back of the store counter, and below the counter he shows me a full stock of fresh brown eggs.
And at the moment, I was beyond happy. Seeing those eggs brought me to great joy. I immediately motioned to Baike ten fingers and said, “Baike, ohn! Ohn pajalushta.” (Mister, ten, ten please.)
Mission complete. I walked home beyond satisfied. Yes, I may have looked foolish, and even completely crazy, but I’m glad I was able to buy the eggs for our team. On top of that, I made Baike laugh. After that incident, every time I go to that store, Baike always smiles and we both know why :)
This egg story of mine is one of the many stories I have. Learning a language is a struggle, but a good struggle, and I still remain hopeful with my own personal journey of mastering the Kyrgyz language. One day… :)
By Lily Kan, Outreach Coordinator
Growing up in Kyrgyzstan, often being an outcast, I preferred the company of a book over countless peers. Thanks to the majestic stories, my bedroom would easily transform into the Amazonian forest, an old province in England or even a completely different planet. Books taught me to how to dream, unhindered by the fear of circumstances. Who could have imagined, that this ability would later bring me from the comfort of my room to the City of Angels, thousands and thousands miles away from the place of my childhood.
A small but brave country surrounded by mountains; most people in America cannot even pronounce its name. This place is now so far, but yet so near and dear to my heart.
This place is my Kyrgyzstan.
I still remember the day when I met Eugenia. After hearing Eugenia talk about her stay in Kyrgyzstan, I was surprised to discover that she and I had something in common: a love for Kyrgyzstan. And this love was so near to her heart, as it was in me. This girl from Boston had such great passion and desperation to be a voice of hope, to make even a small change for the country. Unlike me, she could not stay still and continue to live a “normal life” back in the states. This challenged me to my core. Eugenia’s conviction and the depth of her love for my country and my people drove me to join this project.
Over the years, the issue of bride kidnapping has been shown in international mass media and in films. Even though Kyrgyzstan is filled with so many positive and joyful things, it’s known more for its political instability and bride kidnapping. That’s why I didn’t want just another film on this issue of bride kidnapping; if there was to be another film produced, I wanted it to be filled with hope for Kyrgyzstan.
And this is where Alya Production Coalition stands. Our vision as a production is to share stories of hope. Our focus is not to show the world how bad the country is, but to show the people in Kyrgyzstan the beauty and strength that lies in themselves. I am dedicated to showing true beauty of Kyrgyzstan through this production.
Looking back to my childhood experiences, I know the power stories have to create dreams for the future. And my dream is that this story will give every daughter in Kyrgyzstan a country where they are enveloped in love and dignity; I dream of a brighter future for the daughters of Kyrgyzstan. Yes, you may say I am just an ordinary girl, but my dreams are propelled with extraordinary hope. So here it goes! A journey of salvaging hope!
By Stephanie Kim, Public Relations Specialist
Hmm.. where do I start..
Born and raised in the state of cowboys, sweet tea, and barbecue, Texas was all I had really known. After graduating college in Austin, I moved out to Los Angeles with wide eyes and big dreams. I came with nothing but hopes that everything would turn out exactly how they were supposed to.
There was only one thing that pulled me to this city: motion pictures.
I’ve always been captured by the power within films. I, myself, have been so strongly influenced by some of the movies I’ve seen in my past. The ability that characters, their words, their interactions can have on the audience always blew my mind.
But after getting an amazing job and seeing Hollywood and all it has to offer, I began to wonder. Billions of dollars flooding into this industry for so many movies, but, what kinds of stories were these films sharing? Were all of these movies truly taking advantage of the influence they have?
I started to wrestle in my thoughts about what my part was in this field, this city, this world. And I thought to myself, I want to help tell stories worth sharing. I even wrote it in my journal that day haha.
Would you believe me if I said I met Eugenia and Kiri two days later? Welp, that’s what happened!
Friends invited me to a big dinner and I was 30 minutes late. I got there, and there were two new girls talking about an amazing film project revolving around a heartbreaking issue. They called it “After The Rain” and I immediately knew I had to join!
I still have my full-time job and being a part of this coalition hasn’t been the easiest. BUT, it has given me the joy, the excitement, the passion to continue to strive to love others. I may not personally know the people that are being bride kidnapped or enduring another horrible injustice, but as a fellow human being, I am called to have compassion, love, and to do my part.
It’s been such a learning experience and I cannot wait to see the final product and the impact it will have on the people of Kyrgyzstan.
After The Rain is just the beginning. I know this coalition will start to move the world one story at a time.