New films from Krzysztof Zanussi and Ralph Fiennes to also world premiere at Window To Europe Film Festival.

New films by Gérard Depardieu, Krzysztof Zanussi and Ralph Fiennes will have their world premieres at the 22nd edition of the Window To Europe Film Festival (Aug 8-15) in the Russian town of Vyborg situated close to the border with Finland.

French director Philippe Martinez’s tale of redemption and revenge Viktor, which stars Depardieu, Elizabeth Hurley and Eli Danker, will open a competition section dedicated to films co-produced with Russia.

Viktor, which was shot in Chechnya and Moscow last summer and is being handled internationally by UK-based sales agent Saradan Media, will be released by Paradise in Russian cinemas on September 4.

Co-production competition

Other co-productions selected include Zanussi’s Foreign Body, produced by his own company Studio Filmowe Tor with Italy’s Revolver Film and Russia’s Ineureka and Bella Vostok Ltd; Uzbek director Dilmurod Masaidov’s thriller Geologist - Stronger Than Death; and Anatoly Balchev’s Russian-US co-production Passenger From San Francisco which was shown at Cannes’ Marché du Film last May.

According to Russian press reports, Depardieu will come in person to Vyborg to attend the film’s premiere and also take part in a roundtable discussion on the pros and cons of co-production with Russian producers Sergey Selyanov and Igor Tolstunov, director Valery Todorovsky, and Viktor’s French producer Arnaud Frilley.

Autumn Premieres

Tolstunov will be joined by film director Larissa Sadilova (who won the festival’s Best Feature Film award last year for Ona) and actress Agripinna Steklova (Roads to Koktebel), among others, in the jury for the Autumn Premieres feature film competition.

Some 13 titles were selected from a total of 68 entries for the competition line-up ranging through Vladimir Kott’s modern adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s play The Lower Depths (Na Dne) and Arkady Yakhnis’ thriller Doorman (Schweitzar) through Sergey Karandashov’s children’s film Dar to Alexander Strizhenov’s grotesque family comedy The Grandfather Of Your Dreams and Arseny Gonchukov’s family drama The Son.

Vyborg Account

Window To Europe also stages competitions for animation and documentary films as well as a fifth one - entitled Vyborg Account - where all of the festival’s guests and audience are able to cast votes for their favourite film from four Russian films which have already won prizes at other festivals: Vladimir Beck’s Skinless, Ilmar Raag’s I Won’t Come Back, Alexandr Kott’s Test and Mikhail Ugarov’s Brothers Ch.

Apart from organising roundtables and special screenings, the festival will also hold master classes given by Zanussi, Mosfilm chief and film director Karen Shakhnazarov, writer and dramaturg Yuri Poliakov, and Israel-based film-maker Mikhail Kalik whose classic 1964 film Goodbye, Boys on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.

The festival will open on August 8 with Renat Davletyarov’s new feature Guys (Patsani) and close with the world premiere of Vera Glagoeva’s costume drama Two Women, based on the 19th century writer Ivan Turgenev play A Month In The Country and starring Ralph Fiennes, Anna Astrakhantseva and Sylvie Testud.

International sales for the Russian-French-Latvian—UK co-production are being handled by Rezo Films.

Zanussi and Fiorenza in Irkutsk

Meanwhile, ahead of his visit to Vyborg, globetrotting Krzysztof Zanussi will be in Irkutsk on the shores of Lake Baikal as a member of the international family feature film jury at the In The Family Circle Festival (Aug 2-8).

He will be judging films like Momcilo Mrdakovic’s Mamorosh, Anthony Chen’s feature debut Ilo Ilo, Anatoly Mateshko’s Trumpeter and Larisa Sadilova’s She with such jury colleagues as UK-based Amadeus Entertainment’s Ivo Fiorenza, Russian actor Stanislav Lyubshin, and actor-director Aleksey Petrukhin.