The 7th London Russian Film Festival opened on 7 November 2013 at the legendary Empire Cinema in Leicester Square.
The ten day long festival brought together prize-winning directors, producers, actors and actresses to present their works and to celebrate the great, vibrant cinematic tradition of Russia. Among the special guests of the festival were: Taisia Igumentseva and Sergey Abroskin (Bite the Dust), Vera Krichevskaya (Citizen Poet), Kirill Serebrennikov (Betrayal), Larisa Malyukova (animation programme), Pavel Artemiev (Intimate Parts), Marina Migunova (Mirrors), Yusup Razykov (Shame), Maxim Panfilov (Ivan Son of Amir), Vitaly Mansky (Pipeline).
We were delighted to support the Gift of Life foundation with the 15th anniversary screening of Todorovsky’s Land of The Deaf. Dina Korzun and Chulpan Khamatova – the two lead actresses and co-founders of Gift Of Life – joined us after the screening to talk about the film and their amazing work with children and young adults suffering from cancer.
For the first time the Russian Film Festival hold its own Award - The London Lion. The high profile panel of Judges included the UK's leading film critics and film professionals:
- Jos Stelling, international award winning film director (Chairman of the Jury),
- Robbie Collin, chief film critic at The Daily Telegraph,
- Chris Curling, British producer and director,
- Catherine Bray, award-nominated writer and broadcaster
- Iain McLeod, Empire Cinemas presenter.
London Lion Award 2013
The 7th London Russian Film Festival ended in style on Sunday 17 November with our sparkling Closing Night Gala and the much anticipated announcement of the winner of the inaugural London Lion Award! It went to Sergei Taramaev and Lubov Lvova’s groundbreaking 2013 film WINTER JOURNEY. The award was collected on behalf of the directors by the film's director of photography Mikhail Krichman.
The judges were united in praising this wonderful film:
“Gorgeously shot, this powerful drama is an atmospheric and quietly striking character study featuring brilliant performances and exquisite cinematography” ("Фильм "Зимний путь" не только роскошно снят. Это полное драмы и атмосферы исследование человеческих характеров, в котором соединились мощь актерской игры и богатый кинематографический язык ").
Jury chairman, Jos Stelling, went on to describe the winning entry as “...a genuine film...(which) went straight to my heart. The theme of the alleged homosexuality hardly played a role for me... To me this film sometimes approached the status of a masterpiece for its cinematographic values” ("Это настоящее кино – делающее невидимое видимым – с мощным столкновением противоположностей. Этот фильм тронул мое сердце. Тема гомосексуализма в фильме совершенно не играла для меня никакой роли (даже метафизически). Для меня этот фильм приближается к шедевру исключительно благодаря его кинематографическим качествам").
As all of you who joined us at the Festival know, it was certainly hard to choose just one winner from the fantastic competition line-up.
Our judges also awarded special commendations to:
BETRAYAL, dir. Kirill Serebrennikov
Our Judges said: “The most formally fully realized of the films in the Competition... a confident, stylish film. The narrative contrivances take some getting used to but once tuned into its wavelength, Betrayal reveals itself as a rewarding and teasing piece of cinema.”
SHAME, dir. Yusup Razykov
Our Judges said: “Featuring one of the strongest lead performances of the festival, Shame made wonderful use of underlying folkloric themes to explore the dynamic of an isolated community in a way that felt more uniquely Russian than perhaps anything else in Competition.”
The winner of the audience vote was the incredibly popular GEOGRAPHER DRANK HIS GLOBE AWAY; selling out all three screenings, Aleksandr Veledinsky's comedy was undoubtedly the audience's Festival favourite!
The other films nominated to the London Lion Award and participated in competition were:
· Bite The Dust (director: Taisia Igumentseva, 2013)
· Geographer Drank His Globe Away (director: Aleksandr Veledinsky, 2013)
· Citizen Poet (director: Vera Krichevskaya, 2012)
· Ivan Son of Amir (director: Maksim Panfilov, 2013)
· Mirrors (director: Marina Migunova, 2013)
· Pipeline (director: Vitaly Mansky, 2013)
· Intimate Parts (director: Natasha Merkulova, Aleksei Chupov, 2013)
Our Closing Night Gala was certainly a star-studded event. Following the London lion Awards Ceremony and the celebratory screening of Jos Stelling's amazingly Russian-inspired The Girl and Death, we were joined by our guests and audeince in the sumptuous Crystal Room of the May Fair Hotel to toast great Russian cinema with Abrau Durso wine. We were delighted to welcome some of the most celebrated film makers in Britain and Russia, including:
• Vitaly Mansky, documentary film director, and Natalia Manskaya, producer
• Kirill Serebrennikov, theatre and film director
• Mikhail Krichman, director of photography of the film Winter Journey
• Marina Migunova, film director
• Evgeny Gindilis, producer of The Girl and Death
• Natalia Ivanova, producer
• Andrey Vasiliev, producer of the project and the documentary film Citizen Poet
• Victor Ginzburg, film director
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors and partners, the amazing directors, producers, actors, and actresses who took part, and you, our audience for making The 7th London Russian Film Festival an event to remember!