Eddie Marsan named Best Actor, Sokurov calls for 2bn rouble rescue package for Lenfilm Studios.

UK director Tinge Krishnan’s Junkhearts won Moscow International Film Festival’s (MIFF) the “Golden George” Grand Prix for the Main Competition’s Best Film as well as the “Silver George” for Best Actor for the film’s lead actor Eddie Marsan who plays an alcoholic ex-soldier subject to anxiety attacks and post traumatic stress disorder.

The International Jury, headed by veteran director Hector Babenco and including actor-director Jean-Marc Barr and sales agent Adriana Chiesa Di Palma, gave its Special Jury Prize “Silver George” to Mexican filmmaker Kenya Marquez’s Expiration Date and the Best Director and Best Actress “Silver Georges” to Andrei Proshkin’s historical drama The Horde about St Alexius, the Metropolitan of Moscow and Wonderworker of All Russia, in the 14th century, which also picked up the NETPAC Jury Prize.

Another prize went to the UK with D.R. Hood’s The Wreckers taking the “Silver George” as Best Film in the Perspectives competition, and the Documentary Competition’s “Silver George” for Best Film went to Malik Bendjelloul’s investigation about the whereabouts of the mysterious rocker Rodriguez in the Swedish-UK co-production Searching For Sugar Man.

Meanwhile, the FIPRESCI jury members were at one with their Russian critic colleagues whose jury also awarded its prize to Stefano Sollima’s A.C.A.B. (All Cops Are Bastards), which is based on the book by Carlo Bonini and charts the true story of three “bastard riot cops”,

In addition, the Audience Award was won by Ferzan Ozpetek’s Magnificent Presence, while US director Tim Burton picked up a Special Prize for “An Outstanding Contribution To The World Cinema”.

Furthermore, legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve, who is one of the stars from cinema promoting L’Oreal Paris, the festival’s official beautician, was in town to accept another special prize, this time for “The Achievement In The Career Of Acting and Devotion To The Principles Of K. Stanislavsky’s School”.

On the festival’s sidelines, newspaper reports surfaced once again about festival president Nikita Mikhalkov’s ambitious plans to create a giant Palace of the Film Festivals – and a new home for the film festival and the (currently homeless) Russian Cinema of Cinematography.

According to the Kommersant daily newspaper, Mikhalkov claimed to have written to Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin asking for eight hectares of land near the capital’s Luzhniki sports stadium to build the festival palace as well as a shopping mall, hotels, restaurants and cafes.

An estimated total investment of $200m would include the construction of a multiplex with Europe’s biggest 4DX screen seating 300 as well as a 550-seater IMAX cinema.

However, Kommersant’s enquiries to the mayor’s office indicated that Mikhalkov had possibly jumped the gun in suggesting that the mayor was behind his project. Indeed, plans for a purpose-built festival centre has been on and off the back burner since 1998.

At the same time, ambitious plans were being hatched last week in St Petersburg by film director Alexander Sokurov about a rescue package for the ailing Lenfilm, Russia’s oldest film studios.

Sokurov, who is known internationally for his documentary Russian Ark filmed in the city’s Hermitage Museum, spoke with the Russian Federation’s new Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky during this year’s Economic Forum

Sokurov called for a state loan of 2bn roubles to implement reorganisation and modernisation programmes as well as create a producers’ centre to handle production commissions.

Last autumn Sokurov had spoken with the then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin about the Lenfilm studio’s fate, with Putin commenting at the time: “I very much want to preserve the studio. It is a brand and a very good brand. But the situation is more complicated than it seems at first glance.”

Sokurov recalled that he had said to Putin that “our final task is to create on the foundation of Lenfilm a state studio which will be involved in humanitarian, historical and national cinematography as well as debuts.”

After the meeting with Sokurov, Medinsky charged his deputy Ivan Demidov to meet with the studio management during the past week and report back to him on the results of the discussions.