Vyacheslav Shmyrov: "14 former Soviet countries to be presented at 'Moscow Premiere'"
From October 29 to November 3, Moscow will host the International Film Festival of the Commonwealth countries 'Moscow Premiere', which became the successor to the Moscow domestic film festival, held in 2003-2014. Artistic director and general producer of the festival Vyacheslav Shmyrov told Vestnik Kavkaza about what prompted the idea to revive the festival, about the competition program and the jury.
- How did it become an international festival?
- The Moscow domestic film festival was very popular, we worked for more than 12 years under the leadership of Alexei Batalov. But for various reasons, that festival was closed, it was necessary to change its format. A few years later, the experience of working with the Intergovernmental Foundation for Educational, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation of the CIS (IFESCCO), with which I have been conducting events in Georgia for ten years, in particular, the International Film School in Batumi, was useful. They wanted to organize a festival related to the post-Soviet countries, that is, thanks to the IFESCCO, the 'Moscow Premiere' brand came in handy, which, I hope, is remembered, and has not been lost, has not been forgotten over the five years and will, on the contrary, help us.
- Which countries will take part in the festival?
- These will be 14 former Soviet countries. With the sole exception of Turkmenistan, because filmmaking is practically not developed there.
- What were the criteria for film selection?
- We have two contests - feature films and short films. The feature film programme was selected by editor of the 'Cinema Art' magazine Eugene Mayzel. I told him to select films that were not shown in Moscow and at other Russian festivals, and which have a certain international reputation. Muscovites are quite sophisticated people, and just trust is not always enough. One film was presented in Venice, won a prize there, the other one was presented in Locarno, the third in Amsterdam. These are large international venues where these films have already established themselves.
Alexander Zhukov, who traditionally prepares the program of our Batumi film school, is engaged in a short film programme. It will be opened by master from Kyrgyzstan Marat Sarulu, whose every film is represented at very prestigious international film festivals. It has a smaller jury: actress from Belarus Alina Poddubnaya, and a young Russian film expert, film historian Denis Viren.
- How did you choose a venue for the festival?
- This is not just a festival venue, it is always about a certain logistics, because Moscow is a big city, and it’s stupid to choose a movie theater in the south, live in the north, and dine somewhere in the east. We are based in the Komsomolsky prospect, Vorobyovy Gory. We live there, the 'Horizon' film theatre is located there, which was informally assigned to film clubs back in Soviet times. During the years of perestroika, film clubs settled there. We remembered this tradition now, and the structure that owns the film theatre did us a favour. They are interested in developing such a festival venue. There are four halls in 'Horizon', including a large hall which can seat up to 350 people. This is a common festival standard where you can organise not very large, but notable festivals.