PavelLungin's latest feature film Roots swept the board at the"Kinotavr" Open Russian Film Festival in the Black Sea resort ofSochi, winning four awards and one special mention.
Thetragicomedy, which was produced as a Russian-French co-production, received theKrasnodar Territory Government's Prize, the Jury's Grand Prix and the BestScreenplay Award for Gennady Ostrovsky. Lead actor Konstantin Khabensky sharedthe Best Actor Award ex aequo with Nikita Mikhalkov (for his performance inPhilip Yankovsky's Counsellor Of State), while the Jury made a SpecialMention of veteran actress Esther Gorinthin.
Visiblymoved by the number of awards presented to his film, Lungin quipped that theKrasnodar Governor's cheque of $10,000 "comes at just the right time as(producer) Olga Vasilyeva and I made the film with our own money."
TheCompetition Jury under director-actress Galina Volchek was the centre of somecontroversy after they announced that they had not found any performance worthyof receiving the Best Actress Award although special mentions were made of NannyRequired's Ira Shipova in addition to Root's Gorinthin. A Jury Special Mention went to actor Dmitry Dyuzhev for his performance in Alexei Balabanov's Tarantinoesque gangster comedy Dead Man's Bluff.
TheSpecial Prize of the Jury was explicitly awarded to director Ilya Khrzhanovsky- "an extraordnary man" - as opposed to his film 4, while oneof this year's real discoveries - Alexei Fedorchenko's mockumentary FirstPeople On The Moon - picked up the prize for Best Debut and the FilmCritics of Russia Prize.
Speakingto ScreenDaily.com, CTC Media president Alexander Rodnyansky and thefestival's general producer Igor Tolstunov explained that the event had beenre-orientated this year to focus on Russian films. The move, they said, is"intended as a promotional tool in future for the whole Russian filmindustry and as a showcase for its technical quality and professionalism. It isimportant that Kinotavr develops as a vehicle for uniting the differentdirections of that one single family called a film industry."
Rodnyanskyexplained that it had been particularly important to hear the input of foreignguests at this year's edition about the international image of Russian cinemaat festivals and in international distribution. Those attending from abroadincluded Roman Paul (Celluloid Dreams), Willmar Andersson (Willmar AnderssonFilm), Ludmila Cvikova (Rotterdam Film Festival), and An Cha Flubacher-Rhim(Jeonju International Film Festival, Korea).
The festival also hosted a meeting of national filmfestivals including representatives from Switzerland's Solothurn, the CzechRepublic's Pilsen and Karlovy Vary and France's Cannes Film Festival to discussthe position of national showcases and the potential of collaboration betweenthese festivals.