Olivier Assayas’ Cloud of Sils Maria will open European Film Promotion’s (EFP) second edition of its WestWind showcase of European cinema in Moscow’s Formula Kino Horizont Cinema tonight.

German actor Lars Eidinger, who appears in the French-US co-production with Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche, will come from the shooting of Alexey Uchitel’s historical drama-thriller Mathilde (working title) to attend the screening for a Q&A.

Clouds of Sils Maria was shown at last week’s International Media Forum in St Petersburg and will be released theatrically in Russia by Cinema Prestige.

Running until Oct 19, EFP’s event will present 11 European films to Moscow audiences, including two Oscar candidates - Germany’s Beloved Sisters by Dominik Graf and the Czech Republic’s Fair Play by Andrea Sedlackova - as well as Rok Bicek’s Class Enemy, Ragnar Bragason’s Metalhead and Petra Volpe’s Dreamland.

Other talent attending WestWind include Slovenian director Bicek, actresses Luna Mijovic and Bettina Stucky from Dreamland, and Icelandic actress Þorbjörg Helga Þorgilsdóttir from Metalhead.

This year’s line-up was selected by a jury of experts including distributor Raissa Fomina and film critic Peter Shepotinnik from a list of nominations proposed by EFP’s member organisations.

Commenting on the programme, Fomina suggested that two genre films, in particular – Denmark’s Someone You Love and the Finnish comedy 21 Ways To Ruin A Marriage – might interest Russian TV buyers.

Shepotinnik observed that the issues raised in the films from Western Europe were quite close to those of the “Eastern” neighbours.

“In fact, everything that brings people together should be especially promoted particularly in nebulous times,” he said.


Petersburg Forum attracts 25,000 admissions

The inaugural edition of the St Petersburg International Media Forum (SPIMF) attracted 25,000 admissions to its public screening programme of feature films and TV series pilots as well as to the DOORS market screenings, roundtables, master classes and showcases in the SPIMF business programme.

However, in an interview with the daily business newspaper Kommersant at the beginning of the 10-day event on Oct 1, SPIMF director Catherine Mtsitouridze had spoken of “around 35,000 to 40,000 visitors“ to the various events.

Although SPIMF spoke of 2,700 professional participants from 57 countries attending at the Forum’s business programme last week, the overwhelming majority of those attending came from Russian companies.

Moreover, the final attendance figures are likely to be lower since many accreditation badges were still waiting to be collected as the Forum closed last Wednesday (Oct 8).

In a new development, Kommersant, one of SPIMF’s main partners, suggested in a report this week the possibility of the event being moved next year to a new date ahead of the St Petersburg Economic Forum in June.

First films announced by Moscow’s ArtDocfest

Moscow’s ArtDocFest (Dec 9-17), Russia’s largest festival for documentary films, has revealed its first titles for this year’s programme.

Estonian film-maker Meelis Muhu will be showing PMR, which follows the 2011 presidential elections in Transnistria and the re-election aspirations of Igor Smirnov, while Ivan Tverdovsky will present his portrait of the Grumant mines on the Spitzbergen archipelago in Grumant. The Island of Communism.

This year, festival president and internationally known documentary flim-maker Vitaly Mansky has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise $24,400 (RUB 1m) for the running of the festival since the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Culture has not provided any funding for the event which attracted 25,000 visitors in 2013.

To date, more than $3,900 (RUB 160,000) has been raised, Further contributions can be made at http://planeta.ru/campaigns/7764.