RUSSIAN FILMS AT THE 63rd BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL
The 63rd BFI London Film Festival (BFI LFF), one of the top global film events, finished on October 13. This year’s programme took place from 2 to 13 October.
ROSKINO endorsed by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation supported the Russian presence in London for the 8th time during this edition.
The line-up showcased 229 feature titles by acknowledged and aspiring filmmakers from all over the world, films that were set to entertain and inspire as well as tackle the urgent issues of our time. This year’s BFI LFF edition included 28 world premieres, 12 international premieres, and 28 European premieres with over 60% of films across all sections from a female director or co-director.
The winner of the Best Film award in the main competition was Monos by Alejandro Landes from Brazil. The jury was headed by director Wash Westmoreland whose latest film Earthquake Bird was also screened in this year’s event.
The Sutherland award of the first feature competition went to Atlantics, a drama by the actress, director and writer Mati Diop created in French-Senegalese-Belgian co-production. This section’s jury was led by Austrian director Jessica Hausner whose Little Joe was also playing at LFF.
To complement the screenings, the programme featured a selection of industry events including discussions, panels, public talks, and workshops.
For the 8th time this year ROSKINO partnered with LFF to promote Russian films and advise the festival programmers on the recent developments of the Russian film scene.
The Russian contribution to this edition’s line-up provided four remarkable entries. Beanpole by Kantemir Balagov, an Alexander Rodnyansky and Sergey Melkumov production, enjoyed a great success in London. Previously the drama had received the Un Certain Regard Best Director Award and the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Film in Cannes. The title had also featured in the prestigious Contemporary World Cinema section at TIFF. It is scheduled for a North American release and selected as the Russian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards.
Alexander Rodnyansky, Beanpole producer:
‘The UK premiere of Beanpole took place at Curzon Soho, one of the oldest theatres of London. It was fully packed by a wonderful public that made possible a beautiful Q&A session. The British press of the film was amazing, including a highly positive review by the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, one of the most influential critics of the world, who gave our film the rarest maximum grade of five stars. All of this generated a lot of buzz in the run-up to the UK theatrical release that launched right after the LFF. Beanpole had been acquired by MUBI, one of the top independent film distributors. As always, we are grateful to Roskino for the worldwide support of Russian films at top global events.'
The LFF shorts section included Good Heart, an animation by Evgenia Zhirkova, and Cunningham, a documentary 3D biopic by Alla Kovgan celebrating the legendary American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham.
The brilliant US-based Russian director Kirill Mikhanovsky showcased Give Me Liberty, a poetic and dramatic look on the three generations of an emigrant Russian family and their daily struggles in Milwaukee, a story full of genuine empathy and emotion. The world premiere had taken place at Sundance, during the most important independent film event of the world. In May, 2019 the title had also featured in the Directors’ Fortnight line-up in Cannes where the press conference set in the Russian Pavilion by ROSKINO attracted over 200 global media professionals and led to great reviews. The London festival continued along the same lines. The story of freedom and love against all odds was an instant success both with the professionals and the general public.
Kirill Mikhanovsky, Give Me Liberty director
‘I was very happy to learn that my film would be presented in London with the support of ROSKINO. I am really impressed by the work of Katya Mtsitouridze’s Roskino team which is doing a great job of promoting Russian film trends worldwide, especially when it takes going beyond the national frontiers and dealing with films such as Give Me Liberty which was produced in the USA. On the other hand, it is no wonder since Katya was among the first ones to see our no budget film and fall in love with it. She appreciated the story long before it was applauded in Cannes and was instrumental in bringing the whole cast and crew to the festival. I am forever grateful to Roskino for taking part in the festival and theatrical success of our film.’
Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO
‘This year’s LFF edition was fantastic, best films were brought here from festivals around the world, and the selection was amazing. Our entries profiled very well, they blended perfectly into the global context of films tackling the most urgent issues of our society. The humanistic focus of these excellent titles contributed to their success in London. ROSKINO has been supporting the Russian presence at LFF for eight years and this season has been one of the best. We are in a perfect position to go on showcasing the latest and brightest Russian projects at the AFM in LA.’
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