Sergei Loznitsa’s Cannes competition film My Joy took two prizes at this year’s Kinotavr Open Russian Film Festival which came to a close in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Sunday evening (June 13).

Loznitsa’s fiction feature debut received the Prize for Best Direction and the Guild of Russian Film Scholars and Critics’ “White Elephant” prize, while the Grand Prix was presented by the main competition jury, headed by Karen Shakhnazarov, to Svetlana Proskurina’s drama Truce (Peremirie) which was also awarded the prize in the Best Actor category for the lead actor Ivan Dobronravov.

Other prizes from the jury included Best Debut (for Missing Man by Anna Fenchenko), Best Actress (Maria Zvonareva in Dmitri Meskhiev’s The Man At The Window), Best Cinematography (Roman Vasyanov for Act Of Nature), Best Script (Anush Vardianyan, Andrei Stempkovsky and Givi Shavgulidze for Reverse Motion) and Best Film Score (Anna Muzychenko for Another Sky).

Meanwhile, a group of experts including producers Alexander Rodnyansky, Ruben Dishdishyan and Sergey Selyanov and distributor Michael Schlicht selected My Father Is Baryshnikov by producers Natasha Mokrizkaya and Mila Rozanova as the best project presented at this year’s pitching session.

The $ 1.6m production by New People Production Company about a teenager having to decide between ballet and money against the backdrop of Perestroika in 1987 will be the feature debut of writer-director Dmitry Povolotsky. He had studied classical ballet at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and modern dance and choreography at the Juilliard School in New York before leaving the dance world to study Film at the Columbia University.

Seven projects had been selected by the pitching coordinator Anna Gudkova including the €2.5m Russian-Italian comedy Three Russian Girls In Rome by Andrei Selivanov and Luca Biglione, Timur Kabulov’s debut, the tragicomedy The Sensation of Flight, and Katya Shagalova’s new drama Sheep.

Speaking about this year’s festival, Kinotavr’s programme director Sitora Alieva noted that there had been several innovations at the 2010 edition: this had been the first time that a foreigner – Unifrance’s Joel Chapron – had been a member of the main competition jury and that eight debutants had been selected for the competition lineup. Moreover, this was the first time that the competition had featured a film shot with a photo-camera.

“After its twentieth anniversary, Kinotavr has entered a new reality,” Alieva said. “The State has resolutely joined in the process of reorganizing film financing. But nobody knows how the new funds will affect the current situation: will they effectively work for the market, and can they expand the territory of the arthouse cinema?”

“Nobody can overestimate the roles of Kinotavr, bearing in mind its dependence on the will and desire of concrete people. But it would be kind of the State to remember that there is an island of real, exciting, humane, social cinema. And Kinotavr remains and will remain loyal to that cinema.”