Sarzhal: Half Lives and Whole Truths

A daughter takes an intimate look at a major historical event in Kazakhstan – the Semey Test Site, the most nuked place on Earth, where a father fought to end bomb testing.

  • Guldana Talgat
    Director, Producer
  • Guldana Talgat
  • Gianpiero Delliturri
  • Guldana Talgat
  • Marcia Rock
  • Talgat Kenesbay
    Key Cast
  • Guldana Talgat
  • Lyuwei Chen
  • Zachary A. Johnson
    Composer and Sound Mixer
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    40 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 2, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Kazakhstan, United States
  • Language:
    English, Kazakh
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - New York University
Director Biography - Guldana Talgat

Guldana Talgat is a Kazakh journalist and documentary filmmaker from the Graduate School of News and Documentary at New York University. Guldana began her career as a senior correspondent for major media outlets in Kazakhstan. She now focuses on documentary filmmaking as a medium to help her explore both the wonderful cultures and social issues in Central Asia. Through storytelling she wishes to share the beauty of her country, the diverse people that constitute it and the stories that make the land what it is today.

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Director Statement

This film began as my thesis several years ago. It is a personal look at the local history in my father's hometown as well as an environmental catastrophe that took place there and the natives who struggled to end it. It was a pleasure reconnecting with my father's hometown and the people living there and giving them a forum to share their memories and testimonies.