Andrey Zvyagintsev. The Director

Director: Dmitri Rudakov
Producer: Alexander Rodnyansky
Studio: Non-Stop Production
Country: Russia
2016, 58 min
Language: Russian, English subtitles
American premiere

How did the director make films that became sensations at international film festivals? Andrey Zviagintsev is a star of contemporary film. He has won numerous awards: Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Screenplay, César Award for Best Foreign Film, Golden Lion in Venice, Venice Film Festival SIGNIS Award, Cannes Jury Prize, Grand-Prix at the IFF van Vlaanderen-Gent, Golden Globe Award in Hollywood, Russian NIKA Award for Best Film and for Best Director, three Golden Eagle Awards for Best Director (Russia). He is a jury member of the 71st Cannes Film Festival, and an Oscar nominee. This “making of” documentary is Dmitry Rudakov’s directorial debut. This film was made simultaneously with Andrey Zviagintsev’s “Loveless”, and presents an inside scoop. What is the secret of his meteoric rise to stardom? This documentary shows what goes into Zviagintsev’s success: the painstaking work and the profound personal drama that fill the director’s work days. The film also gives a peek inside the director’s process: we see from what tiny details and moving parts Zviagintsev’s intricate mosaic is assembled, as he shows us the life of the hero, and the lack of love and meaning in his life.

Awards: Golden Laurel Award for Best Art-Film.

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Brother Azari

Director: Alexey Burykin
Country: Russia
2017, 60 min
Language: Russian, English subtitles
American premiere

A film-memoir of Azari Plisetsky, brother of the great ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, pedagogue and choreographer. He has lived his life in the shadow of his renowned sister. The film discloses Azari Plistesky’s own enormous talent as a ballet dancer and teacher, who founded the ballet school in Cuba. Plisetsky reminisces about working with Maurice Béjart, about his sister Maya, and about the artistic scene in Moscow, during the “Thaw” of the 1960s. Unique home videos from the Plisetsky family’s personal archive form the basis of this film.

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Era of Lyubimov. Master’s Rehearsals

Director: Elena Yakovich
Country: Russia
2017, 56 min
Language: Russian, English subtitles
American premiere

This film is about the innovative stage director Yuri Liubimov, the founder of the famous Taganka Theater. Liubimov headed his theater for over 20 years, creating its aesthetic and artistic principles. This film was made in honor of the 100th anniversary of the great director, and is built entirely on archival footage, private home videos, footage of Taganka rehearsals, and interviews with Yuri Liubimov himself. The director’s voice still sounds bold and daring, and his ideas have not lost their relevance in today’s Russia.

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I Have Believed – I Believe

Directors: Maria Kosobokova, Polina Zavadskaya
Producer: Darya Khrenova
Studio: Magic Mountain
Country: Russia
2017, 49 min
Language: Russian, English subtitles
American premiere

The film is about the traditional Cossack vocal ensemble “Krugolet”. The group is from the remote border town of Dalnerechensk, in the Far East of Russia. Since settling in the 17th century, the Cossacks have lived in the Primorsky Kray Region, on the border with China. The Cossacks have survived local nature, armed conflicts with local tribes, the blood of the Russian Revolution and the horrors of the Soviet GULAG, and carried their own culture and folklore through it all. This film is about a people who have become accustomed to fighting, and winning. They express their pain and suffering in resonant Cossack song.


Director: Andrey Osipov
Producer: Mikhail Gridin
Studio: Point of View
Country: Russia
2017, 60 min
American premiere

Much has been said about World War II, but even more has not yet been said. This film takes place in Germany, starting before the War, and ending in 1945. The film is entirely built on German footage, and shows the War through the eyes of German soldiers. This is a story about the most horrific war in all of human history; a war that broke the people fighting on both sides of it. A war, from whose ashes nobody arose.

Awards: Golden Laurel Award for Best Art-Film; Special Award of Gild of Film-critics; Grand Prix at the IFF “Window to Europe.”


Director: Lidia Sheinin
Country: Russia
2017, 62 min
Language: Russian, English subtitles

Grandma Nina realizes that her life will soon end. She asks her granddaughter to move in with her, so the kind and compassionate Nadia moves herself, and her four kids, into Nina’s small apartment. The film is, in its own way, an homage to the “communal paradise” of Soviet life. However, it takes place in today’s real Russia. Here, young and old are squeezed into tiny quarters, they could go mad from living this way.. But… At the center of this hell is a grand piano. The old family piano seems to house the soul of this small, beleaguered community of humans. The piano lives, it has sensitivity, it loves. Filmed in a single shot, “Harmony” presents, with astonishing accuracy, the wonderful female characters.

The film is being shown as part of the “Beyond the Borders: Women in Contemporary Documentaries and Visual Arts” special program (screenings and Round table).

Awards: Grand-Prix at IFF «Message to Humanity.”

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The Story of Vinh

Director: Keiko Tsuno
Country: USA
1994, 50 min
Language: English

The screening of this film by the famous American documentary film-director Keiko Tsuno is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of her work in documentary cinema. Keiko Tsuno is the laureate of numerous American and international awards. It is impossible to imagine contemporary American non-fiction cinema without her works. She was there at the inception of American documentary film as part of the generation that formulated the main principles, methods, and aesthetics of documentary movie-making in the USA. Keiko Tsuno’s vivid and bitingly relevant work continues to submerge the viewer in the main problems of contemporary society.
After the Vietnam War ended, over a hundred thousand Vietnamese children left Vietnam, in pursuit of their American fathers. Their new homeland, however, did not greet them very warmly. Most of them ended up rejected by society, and destitute. Today, in the context of current US immigration policy, this film takes on a fresh poignancy.

The director’s presentation is part of the special program “Beyond the Borders: Women in Contemporary Documentaries and Visual Arts” (screenings and roundtable).

King Lear

Director, producer: Denis Klebleev
Country: Russia
2017, 56 min
Language: Russian, English subtitles

Shakespeare was right: all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. Players, performing the role given to them by the Director. This film is about an elderly actor, who is obsessed with the idea of playing King Lear. Subconsciously, he plays out a Shakespearian drama in his own family, unable to comprehend that his actual situation is much simpler than Lear’s, and that he is far from Lear himself. Before the viewer’s eyes, a commonplace family story turns into a great tragedy, and no one will be spared.

Awards: Golden Laurel Award for Best Art-Film (2017)

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Unknown 1917

Director: Galina Evtushenko
Studio: Rosa
Country: Russia
2018, 60 min
Language: Russian, English subtitles

100 years ago, in 1917, life in Russia was not only on the path to civil feuds, shootings, demonstrations, and social conflicts. The many nations of the Russian empire were striving to live peacefully and creatively. This film, which includes historical footage, demonstrates that 1917 was not a pause in the progressive development of Russian thought, culture, art, and way of life. Chaliapin, Eisenstein, Akhmatova — they were also part of Russia in 1917. Until the catastrophe happened.

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Monkey, Ostrich, and Grave

Director: Oleg Mavromatti
Producers: Boryana Rossa, Andrey Sylvestrov, Marat Gelman
Страна: Bulgaria / Israel / USA
2017, 95 min
Language: Russian, English subtitles
American premiere

The subject of this film is a video blogger, a person with limited abilities. He lives in Luhansk, which, since April 2014, has been under the control of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Luhansk. His city is in the center of military action; the war determines its denizens’ lifestyles, behavior, and sense of morality. The young man’s unstable psyche refuses to accept the violence of the war, and our hero gets lost in a world of fantasy. His unusual story is a lesson in how inhuman any war is, and submerges us in the pacifist philosophy.

Awards: Special Jury Prize at IFF ARTDOCFEST

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Radio “К”

Director: Julia Gerra
Producer: Olga Shaposhnikova
Studio: Risk-Film
Country: Russia
2017, 37 min
Language: Russian, English subtitles
American premiere

For one hour each week, for three years, a small room in the Kaschenko Psychiatric Clinic in Moscow turns into a radio studio. The hosts and authors of the programs broadcast from there are former patients of the hospital. Society has labeled them insane, and has turned them into outcasts. Their solution was to band together to help others who had been rejected in the same way. In baring their souls together, they fight for their right to speak about what cannot be silenced. For one hour a week. Awaiting the next hour.

Awards: Prize “Audience Sympathy” at the IX International Television Festival “Occupation – Journalist”, Special Prize of RF and UN Human Rights committee at the XXIII IFF “Stalker.”

Facing the Mirror

Director: Sarah Khaki
Country: USA
2017, 50 min
Language: English

The young Iranian-American director Sarah Khaki presents the sector of contemporary American documentary film that deals acutely with social issues. Her film is the story of Kaveh Alizadeh, an American plastic surgeon of Iranian descent. His career in New York unfolded without any problems until he decided to devote his work to helping victims of armed conflicts. Now, his surgical clinic is dedicated to trying to normalize the lives of those whose faces and bodies have been mutilated by war. Dr. Alizadeh is convinced that this will help to rehabilitate these victims’ tortured souls, as well. This is a film about human choice, and about bravery and compassion, which are so sorely lacking in today’s war-torn world.

The film is being shown as part of the “Beyond the Borders: Women in Contemporary Documentaries and Visual Arts” program.

Awards: the SVA Social Documentary and an Alumni Scholarship awards; the «Ready, Set, Pitch!» Prize from CAAM (Center for Asian American Media), «Honorable Mention Award», «Award of Excellence» in Berlin.

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Victory over the Victory

Director: Irina Vasilieva
Producer: Alexander Radov
Studio: Fishka-Film
Country: Russia
2017, 57 min
Language: Russian, English subtitles
American premiere

The well-known Russian philosopher Grigoriy Pomerants was in WWII for its entire duration from 1941, until 1945. He took part in battles, and was with the Red Army when it reached Berlin. His observations and thoughts about the phenomena of war, militarism, and the human at war, are astounding in their candidness and profundity. The film is being screened as part of a trilogy by the RUSDOCFILMFEST-3W laureate, director I. Vasilieva, about the well-known philosopher.

Awards: Golden Laurel Award for Best Art-Film

Flight of a Bullet

Director: Beata Bubenec
Country: Russia / Latvia
2017, 80 min
Language: Ukrainian, Russian, English subtitles
American premiere

This film is about the war in the Donetsk Basin. Embedded with an armed squadron of the Ukrainian army, the film crew shows the everyday lives of soldiers, active military fighting, and the taking and interrogating of prisoners. The film is shot with a constantly rolling camera, and uses the “kino-eye”. The viewer sees a special type of human: homo militaries, a modern “man of war”, who is incapable of existing without weapons and blood. This is the director’s second film about the war in the Donetsk Basin.

Awards: Special Prize for Best Art-Film at the IFF ARTDOCFEST, Golden Laurel Award for Best Art-Film.

You Rock

Director: Eugeny Grigoriev
Producers: Eugeny Grigoriev, Anna Selyanina, Victoria Lupick
Studio: Pervoe Kino Film Company
Country: Russia
2017, 113 min
Language: Russian, English subtitles
American premiere

A film anti-depressant on choosing one’s way in life. A tragicomedy on the 30-something generation. An ironic blockbuster about a dream and the circumstances of the eternally young and eternally drunk. Three musicians chosen by Russian rock stars at a casting session spend 5 years in pursuit of success, encountering visible and invisible obstacles. On the road to their dream they find love, idols, the torments of creativity, poverty and light alcoholic beverages. 100% sharp-witted truth on a film screen.

Awards: Grand-Prix at the FF “Movement,” Special Prize at the IFF “Window to Europe”,” Special Diploma at Flahertiana (Russia), others.

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The Trial. The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov

Director: Askold Kurov
Producer: M. Gavrilova, M. Tuula, D. Jabloński, I. Wójcik, V. Kamińska, Alena Müllerová
Studio: Marx Film, Message Film, Czech Television, Polish Film Institute, B2B Doc
Country: Estonia / Poland / Czech Republic
2017, 70 min
Language: Ukrainian, Russian, English, English subtitles

In August 2015 Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Russia. He was convicted of organizing terrorist acts and a terrorist organization in annexed Crimea. Amnesty International and the Russian human rights center “Memorial” have proclaimed Sentsov a political prisoner. Ukraine has sued Russia in the European Human Rights Court to appeal the sentence. Oleg Sentsov is on hunger strike… The film is based on the real court proceedings during Sentsov’s trial. The world premiere took place at the Berlinale in 2017.

Awards: Special Prize “Audience Sympathy” at the IFF Verzio International in Budapest.

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Sasha Sokolov. Last Russian Writer

Director: Ilya Belov
2017, 60 min
Country: Russia
Language: Russian, English subtitles
American premiere

Sasha Sokolov. He is called the Russian Salinger; Vladimir Nabokov wrote elatedly about his novel, “School for Simpletons”; his books were distributed through Samizdat, and published worldwide. His parents disowned him and had him committed, he was banished from the USSR and his citizenship was taken away. A living legend, and a living mystery, the writer determined the direction in which Russian literature would go at the end of the 20th century. The film is built on conversations with the author, family home videos, and over a hundred never-before-published photographs from Sasha Sokolov’s personal archive. Perhaps this film will lay the foundation of a yet unwritten biography of the great shut-in of modern Russian literature, who lives among us, and yet remains so evasive.

Awards: Golden Laurel Award for Best TV-Film

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The Term

Directors: Pavel Kostomarov, Alexey Pivovarov, Alexander Rastorguev
Producers: Pavel Kostomarov, Sarkis Orbelyan, Alexey Pivovarov, Alexander Rastorguev
Studio: “Srok-Production”, “Aviator Production”, and Max Film
Country: Russia, Estonia
2014, 83 min
Language: Russian, English subtitles

This screening is dedicated to the memory of Alexander Rastorguev (1971-2018)

The documentary project The Term was conceived in May 2012. When the directing trio commenced mapping the Russian sociopolitical landscape, the current Russian president had just settled into the Kremlin for his third term. The original experimental format of “documentary bulletins,” which were published daily online, allowed for a wide range of content; in the feature film version, however, the filmmakers focused solely on the members of various opposition groups. This film shows a kaleidoscope of new Russian political opposition leaders and public persons such as A. Navalny, B. Nemtsov, K. Sobchak, Pussy Riot, and others; provides a chilling discourse on democratic rights and freedoms. The questions posed in 2014 received clear answers in 2018.

“Dream Factory” for Comrade Stalin

Director: Boris Karadzhev
Producer: Mikhail Degtyar
Studio: TV-Reporter
Country: Russia
2017, 65 min
Language: Russian, English subtitles
American premiere

A documentary investigation of the history of the project to create a “Soviet Hollywood” in the USSR: a film industry center, based on the American “dream factory” of the 1930s. The film is comprised of archival materials, and journal entries of the leader of Soviet cinematography, B. Shumiatsky, about Stalin’s famous “Kremlin screenings”. The film also features fragments from Soviet films of the 1930s.

Awards: Golden Laurel Award for Best Science-Education Film

I Must Tell

Director: Sergei Kudryashov
Script: Sergei Kudryashov, Dilyara Tasbulatova
Country: Russia
2017, 52 min
Language: Russian, Lithuanian, English subtitles
American premiere

This is a film-monologue of Masha Rolnikayte (1927-2016), a Holocaust survivor, and author of the famous diary, “I Have to Tell You”. As a young girl during World War II, she survived the horrors of the Vilnius ghetto, and Nazi death camps. She survived hell, and her soul was saved for the world.

Awards: Special Prize at the IFF ARTDOCFEST


Director: Levan Gabriadze
Script: Rezo Gabriadze
Producer: Timur Bekmambetov
Country: Russia
2017. 63 min
Language: Russian, Greorgian, English subtitles
New York premiere

Rezo Gabriadze, Georgian famous artist, writer and creator of Marionette theatre in Tbilisi, is an author and narrator of the film. The film is an autobiographical animated documentary questioning ideas of deep humanity, kindness and heartiness during uneasy times after the World War II. Vivid memories of lonely and shy little boy Rezo confront his dreams where Stalin and Lenin meet him at school, frogs teach him to smoke and Leo Tolstoi guards him at the library… Rezo’s story is full of ups and downs but he preserves his unique innocent sensitivity and ability to release beauty from any downside of life.

Awards: Animation festival in Suzdal – “The Best Full-length Feature;” Tonino Guerra Award; “Icarus” Award, the Russian National Award for Animated Film.

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