Award Encore: WELCOME TO THE USA

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for International Narrative Feature | How do you choose yourself when everyone around you seems content to stagnate in their own complacency? In her gorgeous, topical narrative feature debut, Kazakh filmmaker Assel Aushakimova paints a heartbreaking and hopeful portrait of a journey she knows intimately, that of a 36-year-old lesbian who has spent her entire life fighting her way to stability in homophobic, politically repressed Kazakh society. When Aliya (Saltanat Nauruz) wins the Green Card lottery, the only real choice seems to be making a fresh start in America — but how can she tell her family, friends, and lover that she is leaving them behind? Led by a sensitive, complex performance from Nauruz, WELCOME TO THE USA is an immersive depiction of a queer life that rarely makes it to the screen.

  • Saltanat Nauruz
  • Assel Aushakimova
  • Assel Aushakimova
  • 94 minutes
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