The Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF) is seeking to boost its position on the festival circuit with a 16-strong competition line-up, including world and Russian premieres.
The festival (June 19-28) will close with the international premiere of Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, three days ahead of its US release.
The move is part of a strategy by programme director Kirill Razlogov to position Moscow, Russia’s oldest film festival, closer to the circuit’s A-list events, such as Cannes.
To mark its 50th anniversary, Moscow is introducing changes including a greater focus on its Perspectives programme to develop it into a special-interest selection, similar to Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar.
Pavel Lungin’s Tsar will open this year’s festival, which has a focus on Eastern Bloc films. He will also head its competition jury, which includes UK producer Nik Powell and Indian director Shyam Benegal.
Nikita Mikhalkov, the Russian film-maker and director of MIFF, says the festival’s objectives are “mainly cultural” and, unlike the Kinotavr Open Film Festival, which ran earlier this month, does not have a film market running simultaneously.
However, Moscow is running a co-production forum for the second year in a bid to interest a wider spread of international industry figures.
Eugene Beginin, the former general director of Universal International Pictures Russia and now head of local distributor Profit Film International, said MIFF has become Russia’s most important festival for promoting international films. He added: “It gives those films publicity which they wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise.”