After Kazakhstan gained independence from Russia in the late 1990s, the city of Tselinograd was first renamed Almaty and then Astana, as it became the new capital city of the nation. Grand plans went into motion to transform Astana from an ordinary town along the plains into a gleaming, modern city that would be a symbol to the world of a new Kazakhstan. However, when the project began, the global economy was in high gear; once the worldwide credit crisis struck in 2007, construction on nearly all the new buildings ground to a halt, and while Kazakhstan's leaders went ahead with their plans for a national celebration of Astana's tenth anniversary as the capital, the fact that the city was stuck in an economic doldrums and looked like a house that hasn't been finished escaped the attention of a very few. Filmmakers Maxim Pozdorovkin and Joe Bender examine the shining promise and the less impressive reality of life in the new capital in their documentary Capital, which profiles many of the people who came to start in a new life in Astana only to be caught in the city's downturn, as well as the sometimes comic, sometimes grim spectacle of the diminished anniversary festivities. Capital was an official selection at the 2010 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.
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