After the success of its first two seasons, the 3rd edition of Russian Film Days that showcases the best of contemporary and classic Russian cinema is back in India. Russian Film Days commenced in Delhi, travelled to Mumbai and is now part of the International Film Festival of Goa. Producer of the Russian Film Days festival in India, Maria Lemesheva talks to NT BUZZ
Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ
The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) has ‘Loveless’ in the main competition section and ‘Hostages’, ‘Closeness’, ‘Light Up’ and ‘Panfilov’s 28’ in the non competitive section. Representing their cinema in Goa is a delegation consisting of lead actress of ‘Light Up’, Inga Oboldina; producer of the ‘Closeness’, Nikolay Yankin; directors of Panfilov’s 28, Andrey Shalopa and Kim Druzhinin and cameraman and IFFI jury member, Vladislav Opelyants.
- Could you throw light on the section ‘Days of Russian Cinema’ and the films it will showcase?
In this year’s IFFI, we had the opportunity to present six Russian films at once, unlike before; we have the Cannes Film Festival laureate Andrei Zvyagintsev’s ‘Loveless’, the war drama ‘Panfilov’s 28’, the winner of the Russian National Kinotavr film ‘Light Up!’, and two dramas from Russia’s recent past – the film ‘Hostages’ based on the armed hijacking of an airplane in Soviet Georgia and ‘Closeness’ about interethnic relations in Nalchik in the early 90’s; another one on the list is the comedy ‘Once Upon A Time’ about life in the Russian outback.
- In the early days, Soviet cinema made a huge contribution to the world of cinema for its style and narrative. How has it evolved over the years to keep up with cinema being made in other countries?
Certainly, at the dawn of cinema there were not so many countries that formed trends – Russia, the United States, France, England, Germany and so on. Since then, much has changed; today you can shoot movies on your phone. But the fact that Russian cinema still wins awards at the world’s leading film festivals, and that Russian filmmakers, actors and producers are closely integrated into the world film industry is a clear indication that Russia is one of the world’s leading cinema powers; albeit not in quantity, but precisely in quality and uniqueness of content.
Of course, the Russian film industry is not very big, like the Indian or American; but nevertheless we have at least 10 major regional centres of the film industry in Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Crimea, Yakutia and others. The film industry in Russia is a very significant component of the country’s culture where millions of people are involved in it, so this is really a significant part of the Russian economy.
- Russia and India have strong ties, how can this be strengthened through cinema?
Undoubtedly, the main component of strengthening ties is co-products, as it was before. Our countries have many interesting locations, many professional directors, actors, producers, great technical capabilities, so I’m sure that by joining forces we will be able to significantly expand the boundaries of our film industry in the world.
- Could you tell us about your experience at the 48th IFFI?
We were amazed at the opening ceremony – a huge stadium filled with people, a bright programme and Shah Rukh Khan’s performance was simply amazing! No less outstanding is the programme of the festival which is versatile, full of non-standard, art house cinema. It is truly a real festival for the cinephile!