Gulls, The: First Female Director from Kalmykia

The Gulls, the Russian and Kalmyk-Oirat language film, is directed by Ella Manzheeva, a native of the small Russian republic of Kalmykia. 

Manzheeva is the first female director from Kalmykia to direct a feature film and her debut will be an awakening for a future Kalmyk film industry.  Shot in the winter near the Caspian Sea, THE GULLS concerns a fisherman’s wife who becomes emancipated from her oppressed domestic existence after a life–altering incident involving her husband at sea. 

Director-writer Ella Manzheeva: “THE GULLS is my debut in feature-length cinema. But there is another thing, something I did not realize when I was creating this film. I never could imagine it would become the beginning of Kalmyk cinema, an enormous cultural event in the history of my small people. Kalmyks say that the protagonist of the film, Zhenya, reflected in her image is contemporary Kalmykia. This response is the most important for me. It was worth it to get through all of the difficulties, and now show my face to the world to get such an answer.”