Private Project

Welcome to the USA

Aliya is a Kazakh lesbian woman who for the first time in her life played the Green Card Lottery and won. Now she cannot decide whether to leave Kazakhstan or stay. On the one hand, Aliya is tired of the stagnation, corruption and dictatorship of the Kazakh society and wants changes in her life. But on the other hand, she is afraid of the uncertainty and to start her life all over again in a foreign country.

  • Assel Aushakimova
  • Assel Aushakimova
  • Assel Aushakimova
  • Zhanna Utarbayeva
  • Saltanat Nauruz
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 34 minutes 31 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 30, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Kazakh, Russian
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • AFI FEST 2019
    Los Angeles
    United States
    November 20, 2019
    World premiere
    New Auteurs
  • OUTFEST Fusion
    Los Angeles
    United States
    March 8, 2020
  • InsideOut
  • NewFest NewYork LGBTQ Film Festival
    New York
    United States
    Best International Feature
Director Biography - Assel Aushakimova

Assel is a Kazakhstani director, screenwriter and producer. Assel graduated from the International Film Business Academy of the Busan Asian Film School in 2021. Her first feature film WELCOME TO THE USA had its world premiere at AFI Fest 2019 (New Auteurs). This is the first feature film in Kazakhstan with the protagonist from the LGBTQ community. It was awarded Grand Jury Prize as Best International Narrative Feature of NewFest New York’s LGBTQ Film Festival 2020 and it continues to be screened at many international Queer film festivals. Assel participated in the Meetings on the Bridge 2021, BOAT Meeting 2020, Script POOL Tallinn 2018 and Eurasia spotlight 2017 (special mention of the jury). She is currently working on her second feature film project BIKECHESS that has been selected for the Biennale College Cinema 2020-2021 of Venice IFF.

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Director Statement

In the film, I intended to reflect my thoughts about emigration from Kazakhstan and the reasons for this process. This is a mass process that the Kazakh authorities prefer not to notice. Any sane person in Kazakhstan, including myself, sometimes thinks about emigration. My second short film THE NEWS was on this topic and I wanted to expand this theme in my feature debut. The main reasons for emigration are stagnation, corruption, passivity, dictatorship, and the homophobia of the Kazakh society.