Olzhas Bayalbayev

Guest Speaker


Areas of Expertise

Time Period

Olzhas Bayalbayev is an acclaimed director and producer from Kazakhstan. A native of Almaty, he rose to fame with his short motion picture ‘GOK’ (2021), fearlessly exposing corruption and injustice. The film sparked widespread resonance and debate in a country where the space for freedom of artistic expression has recently been shrinking.

In February 2024, his first impressive feature ‘Claustro’ won the Best Film Award at the 2024 Boston SciFi Festival, the oldest genre festival in the U.S. Bayalbayev’s cinematic endeavors across genres like drama, horror, thriller, comedy, and historical epics explore the complexities of human existence and societal challenges. Through his lens, Bayalbayev navigates the depths of the human experience dissecting themes of identity, justice, and resilience. He holds a BA in Film Arts from the New York Film Academy, where he was a Bolashak Program fellow. A professional dombra player, Bayalbayev finds inspiration in Kazakh rich cultural heritage that fuels his creativity.