Timur Nuruakhitovich Bekmambetov was born on June 25th, 1961, in Guryev, Soviet Union (now Atyrau, Kazakhstan) to Nuruakhit Bekmambetov, his father, and Mira Bogoslavskaya, his mother. At the age of 17 he moved to Moscow where he attended the Moscow Energy Institute, but he was more interested in art and movies. Timur eventually dropped out of college and from 1982 he studied at Tashkent Theatrical Art Institute, graduating in 1987 with a degree in theatre and cinema set designing. After serving in the Red Army, he began working in the field of advertising.
In 1989 he directed his first commercial, and for the next 15 years he created and directed many award-winning television campaigns that would later influence his unique and revolutionary vision for film. Many of his advertisments received prizes and awards at both Russian and international festivals. In 2000, he became a member of the Russian Academy of Advertising.
Bekmambetov began his film career in 1992 when he made his directorial and writing debut with Peshavar Waltz, a film about the Soviet war in Afghanistan, which received awards at several festivals in Europe, including Best Director at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic. In 1997 he was named Best Young Director by the Russian Film Academy and in 1999 he started his own film company, Bazelevs Production.
Despite this early success, his big break didn't come until 2004, with the release of the very successful Nochnoy dozor (Night Watch) which became an international blockbuster and received several awards and nominations. The sequel, Dnevnoy dozor (Day Watch), was even more successful - grossing $40 million in Russia alone (with a budget of just $4.2 million) and cemented his status as an internationally successful film director. He has since made several successful movies, such as Ironiya sudby. Prodolzhenie (The Irony of Fate, the Sequel) and Wanted.
Timur Bekmambetov most recently collaborated with Tim Burton to produce the animated feature 9 and is currently working on several Hollywood films.
To view the entire filmography of Timur Bekmambetov, go to IMDB.
Quotes by Timur
"It is like 100 ideas are going on inside my brain, all fighting to come out. What happens is this makes a new style, maybe something no one has seen before. I want to put the audience in the action - in the middle - so that they go on a journey with the character, not just sit and watch."
"Making my first film in English is not so different from my other movies, I just try to communicate with the audience, fall in love with them in a way and make a good movie for them - be a good storyteller for them."
"My humor is not dark. It is life that is dark - the humor is just in a dark context. When things are dark, people turn to humor to survive. To keep your mind. In the middle of all this violence, humor helps the characters - and the audience get through."
"For me, it is the emotion that is important, not really the effect. It may be a little old school, but this is how I get what I need from my actors and crew. I don't use effects to make up for what is not there. If it's in the character, in his or her emotions, it will be on the screen."
Quotes about Timur
"I like that [Wanted] doesn't take itself too seriously... It's a little more nutty and has a sense of humor about itself. It doesn't pretend to be too cool and there is something textured, European and a little funky about it. Timur is a very focused, deep-thinking guy, and it's cool to see him in the middle of a big Hollywood movie, bringing something to it that is unusual."Angelina Jolie (Actress - Wanted)
Sometimes I was quite shocked at what Bekmambetov asked me to do, but generally it was for the best and [it] elevated the material. He really does think differently than most directors. I think he's a mad, evil genius and his work is incredibly cool and strange. Even on big, emotional, sincere things, he undercuts it with a very strange angle... which I respond to very well.James McAvoy (Actor - Wanted)
"The cinematic experience of Timur's work and the visual language employed by him are so unique, eye-popping and extraordinary, I knew his was a voice that had to be heard. I had never experienced visual images in that way. I thought by matching him and his ability to create a completely new world with this material, we could create something exciting, experimental and yet accessible for audiences all over the world."Marc Platt (Producer - Wanted)
"Bekmambetov brings a very strong sardonic sense to his work, which was very present in all of his previous films. Not in a silly, broad way, but in a dark, comedic way that constantly undercuts the earnetness of the proceedings. It is the irony that he brings to the project, both narratively and visually, that gives Wanted a very unique tone."Marc Platt (Producer - Wanted)
"You could put three people in a room, give them the same camera and ask them to take the same shot. Timur's image would be amazing."Jim Lemley (Timur's Producing Partner - Wanted & 9)
"I was seduced by Bekmambetov in about 15 seconds - he's just about one of the most creative people I've ever met. It's so fulfilling to talk to another filmmaker and have them so enthusiastic and so full of good ideas... He'd have 3,000 ideas to everything, and they'd all be great."John Myhre (Production designer - Wanted)
"He uses his pre-vis as a tool - he uses it to educate and discuss with those who are trying to capture the action, but he doesn't cripple people's visions with it. [...] There is no bad idea with Bekmambetov. He knows there is more than one way to do something and he's very open to ideas, but as experienced as he is, he understands that ideas always need to be fresh."Jon Farhat (Visual Effects Producer - Wanted)