MIFF 2011: Russian programme director Irina Pavlova, New Directions of Russian Cinema


MOSCOW: MIFF`s Russian film programme will present over 150 films this year screening all the recent features, docs and animation as well as a selection of shorts. For most foreigners attending the festival the Russian programme is the reason that they are here. Russian film critic Irina Pavlova has been the director of the Russian programme for 9 (2003-2011) years.

{mosimage}FNE: What is the role of the Russian film programme in the MIFF and why is it important??

Moscow Festival’s Russian programme is a panorama of the Russian cinema produced over the past year, since the previous Moscow festival. This program is an opportunity to see the general tendencies in Russian film and personal creative preferences. Our programme shows the general character of the Russian cinema for the past year.

FNE: What are the most important trends and developments in the Russian film today and how are they reflected in the programme???

The direction of development is focused not only on festivals, though success at festivals is important, but the first priority is the domestic audience. The general tendency more and more frequently is a desire to speak from the screen about the people of the our country and to have a dialogue with people of the our country. This includes people who do not live in the major cities but also in the regions and in small towns.

FNE: The Russian programme screens nearly all the new features, docs and animation produced in Russia over the past year. How many films are produced and is there any pre-selection and if so how is that done?

About 130 feature films in a year are produced in Russia. Plus about 100 documentaries Plus 60 to 70 animated films. Certainly, we don't show everything that is produced during the year. We choose the most interesting and representative films in all genres and directions, and the films most lucidly characterize this or that tendency in the Russian cinema. But some interesting and very good films do get into our program, because they have already been selected for large western festivals, and their participation in these festivals can seriously affect where they are screened in future and the further development of the film and the director.

FNE: What is your philosophy in putting together the programme??

Ancient Chinese wisdom says: On our field hundred Flowers should blossom. It is also our philosophy. We don't want and we can not to put together the program only for a narrow part of the professional audience. For example, if I did the program personally for myself, only about three or four feature films would make it into the programme, the same number of documentaries and about ten animated films.
But I`m not representative of the whole audience. I am not representative even of the festival selectors who visit the Russian program, different films are necessary. Both blockbusters, melodramas, rigid arthouse and high quality mainstream. We try to ensure that each genre and branch of film production is represented by the best films produced in their category. This is how it has turned out so far and we continue to learn and develop.

FNE: Who is the main audience for Russian films?? What type of person comes to the screenings???

 The Russian programe is part of the overall structure of the Moscow International Film Festival, and, naturally, the audience is made up of people accredited to MIFF. For the Russian programme these are mainly cinema professionals, press, specially invited visitors including figures from the worlds of theater, literature, music and all spheres of cultural life.

Actually we do not sell tickets since this is a special festival activity. The age of audience of the Russian program is different, with both the young and the old. We have students of film institutes, and older people. People of the last century and people of this century. And each of them finds in our program something for themselves

FNE: Are there any films that you think are real discoveries from this year`s Russian programme that we will be seeing at festivals around the world this year???

In addition to the already well-known film Elena which screened in Cannes, the foreign saudience will soon hear about films Siberia. Mon Amour, Hunter, Games of Children of School Age, How to Catch the Shoplifter, The Sniper of Sakha.

SPONSORED by Moscow International Film Festival