Film Director, Producer, Founder
Timur Bekmambetov is a Russian producer/director whose work spans genres and continents.
In 1994 he founded the Bazelevs Group, an advertising, film production, distribution and marketing company that has offices in Moscow, Los Angeles and Beijing. In addition to producing Bekmambetov’s projects, Bazelevs seeks out, nurtures and employs young talent.
In 2004, Bekmambetov wrote and directed Night Watch (2004), a popular Russian contemporary fantasy film based on the series of books by renowned author Sergey Lukyanenko. The film was highly successful in Russia, and at the time became Russia’s highest-grossing release ever, earning US$16.7 million at the Russian box office. The sequel to Night Watch, Day Watch (2006), was also written and directed by Bekmambetov and again set a new all-time box office record in Russia of US$38.9 million.
Bekmambetov followed up Day Watch with the smash hit The Irony of Fate: 2 (2007). This sequel to the famous Soviet comedy remains one of the most successful films in Russian history. Once again, it became at that time the most commercially successful movie release of all time in Russia, grossing more than US$55 million in Russian box office.
His Hollywood directorial debut was Universal Studios’ Wanted (2008), an action blockbuster about a secret society of assassins, based on a comic-book series of the same name written by Mark Millar and starred Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and James McAvoy. The film, which reached more than US$341 million in worldwide box office, was Universal’s then highest ever grossing “R” film.
Under Bekmambetov’s guidance, Bazelevs explores and creates new film technology, including the latest cinematic technique, “screenlife,” an innovative approach that tells stories through social media and internet platforms by way of the devices we use to communicate with each other every day.
In 2015 Bekmambetov produced, cyber horror Unfriended, ushered in a new era of fear, unfolding over a teenager’s computer as she and her friends are stalked by an unseen figure seeking vengeance. The film grossed more than 185 times its original budget and marked Bazelevs’ first foray into screen life.
Bekmambetov also produced screenlife techno-thriller Searching starring John Cho and Debra Messing, directed by Aneesh Chaganty as his feature debut. Searching won the Alfred P. Sloane Prize, the NEXT Audience Award at Sundance and grossed almost US$70 million in worldwide box office.
His latest directorial project, screenlife feature Profile starring Valene Kane and Shazad Latif, is about a journalist going undercover to reveal the vast ISIS recruitment network in Western Europe. Profile had its World Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Panorama Audience Award. In March 2018, after its North American premiere in Austin, Profile won the Audience Award at SXSW.