During her OCA residency, Saodat Ismailova is planning to work on archives of silent Uzbek films from early 1930s and film journals from the region to create a work dedicated to the female body in relation to its public representation. Furthermore, as part of the OCA ISP programme Ismailova will travel to Tromsø to develop her first solo exhibition in Northern Europe at the Tromsø Kunstforening (TKF), which is scheduled to open in January 2017.
Born in Uzbekistan, Saodat Ismailova has studied filmmaking at the Tashkent State Institute of Art. Subsequently she joined the cinema department of Fabrica, Benetton's research centre, Treviso, Italy, where she directed the short film Zulfiya and co-directed Aral, Fishing In An Invisible Sea (with Carlos Casas), awarded Best Documentary film of the 2004 Torino Film Festival. Her first award-winning feature film 40 Days of Silence premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2014 and has since been presented in more than 30 countries around the world. She is presently working on directing her next feature-length film Barzagh, which has received support from the Hubert Bals Fund, The Netherlands, and the Asian Cinema Fund, South Korea.
Saodat's video- and sound-installations have been presented in numerous international exhibition and festivals including most recently the 2013 Venice Biennale (Central Asian Pavilion) and 'Lost to the Future', the 2014 Singapore Biennale. Titled 'Celestial Circles', her first solo exhibition was presented at the Kunstsammlungen und Museen Augsburg, Germany in 2015.
Currently Ismailova is a guest artist at Le Fresnoy, National Center of Contemporary Arts, Tourcoing, France, where she is working on the three-screen film installation Stains of Oxus – featuring the Amu Dariya, a major river in Central Asia and collecting the dreams of its inhabitants alongside the river's shores – and the 'choreographic film' Two Horizons, which reflects on dance heritage in Central Asia and the disappearance of these dances.