The Pencil

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Arizona Underground Film Festival – Official Selection WORLD PREMIERE 9/15/2023

Syracuse International Film Festival – Official Selection

Sci-Fi Horror Festival – Presented by Syracuse International Film Festival

Louisville’s International Festival Film – Official Selection

Halloweenapalooza – Official Selection

Montreal Requiem Fear Fest – Official Selection

πŸ† Los Angeles Movie Awards – Official Selection & Award Winner (Best International Film)

πŸ† Austin After Dark Film Festival – Official Selection & Award Winner (Best Dark Fantasy Film)

πŸ† Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film & Screenplay Festival – Official Selection & Award Winner (Best Story)

Soho Horror Film Festival – Official Selection

Down East Flick Fest – Official Selection

πŸ…Days of the Dead International Film Festival – Official Selection & Nominee (Best International Film) (Best Short Film) & (Best Production Design)

Toronto Shorts International Film Festival – Official Selection

Final Girls Berlin Film Festival – Official Selection

New Generation Filmmakers Forum – Official Selection

Los Angeles Asian Film Festival – Official Selection

πŸ…Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema – Official Selection & Nominee (Best Short Film, Best International Short Film, Best Director Short Film, Best Actress Short Film, Best Ensemble Cast Short Film, Best Child Actor, Best Screenplay Short Film, Best Cinematography Short Film, Best Original Score Short Film, Best Sound Design, Doug Austin Humanitarian Award)

Love Your Shorts Film Festival – Official Selection

Dam Short Film Festival – Official Selection

Love Horror Short Film Festival – Official Selection

πŸ†Romford Horror Festival – Official Selection & Award Winner (Best Cheap Thrills) Nominee (Best Foreign Language Film)

The Fargo Film Festival – Official Selection

πŸ…Chicago Southland International Film Festival – Official Selection & Nominee (Best International Film, Best Professional Short Film, and Best SciFi/Fantasy/Horror Short Film)

GOSH! International Film Festival Paris Official Selection

Phoenix Film Festival – Official Selection

Chicago Horror Film Festival – Official Selection

πŸ†Chicago Shorts – Official Selection & Award Winner (Best Cinematography in Short)

The Story


Sara, a struggling artist who discovers a unique pencil that can solve all her problems. But her dreams turn into a nightmare when a malevolent demonic creature from Kazakh legends gets unleashed.


Sara, a struggling artist living in Kazakhstan. While painting on a peaceful mountain top, Sara stumbles upon a mysterious wooden case holding a unique pencil. Little does she know that this seemingly ordinary pencil possesses extraordinary powers. As Sara starts sketching with the pencil, her drawings come to life, blurring the lines between imagination and reality. Filled with excitement, she discovers that this newfound gift holds the potential to solve all her problems and bring her artistic visions to fruition. However, her dreams quickly turn into a nightmarish ordeal when the powers of the pencil unleashes a malevolent demonic creature from Kazakh folklore legends – Zheztyrnaq (trans. ‘copper claws’). 

With her world turned upside down, and in a gripping showdown that transcends the boundaries of imagination, Sara’s resolve is tested to the brink. The once-promising powers of the pencil now serve as a conduit for darkness and despair, leaving her powerless against the mystical evil force that was unleashed. Sara learns that every creation bears unforeseen consequences and she must confront the demon, and the chaos it unleashes upon her life and loved ones.

Directors Statement

Creating ‘The Pencil’ has been a deeply personal and fulfilling journey for me, both as a filmmaker, and as a partner in life with my wife, Madina, who also wrote and produced this film. Our shared passion for storytelling and art brought us together on this creative adventure, making it a true family project.

We wanted to explore the idea that art, in its various forms, has the potential to solve problems, and express emotions beyond words. The unique pencil in the film represents a symbol of creativity that holds both promise and peril.

Throughout the filmmaking process, my team and I were determined to create a visually captivating experience that transports the audience into Sara’s world. We embraced the challenge of seamlessly blending reality with fantasy, as Sara’s drawings come to life through the magical pencil. Moreover, the film delves into the rich unexplored folklore of Kazakh legends, infusing a sense of mystique and darkness into the narrative. Zheztyrnaq, the demonic creature represents the dangers of tampering with forces we do not fully comprehend. I am incredibly proud of the dedication and passion shown by our cast and crew throughout this filmmaking endeavor, and I hope that audiences will find themselves immersed in the world we’ve crafted.

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