Film festival of patriotic cinema to open in Crimea

Film festival of patriotic cinema to open in Crimea
Burnt By the Sun 2: Citadel (2010) dir. by Nikita Mikhalkov, a patriotic war epic

31 July 2014
Text Nadia Beard

A new film festival devoted exclusively to “patriotic” cinema will open in Simferopol and two other Crimean cities this autumn, as part of a new project launched by the Russian Ministry of Culture. The festival will only feature films that reflect “the great geography of our homeland and topical issues of the day, including society, the environment and culture”, according to the festival requirements, with around 60 previously unseen feature and documentary films expected to be screened during the four-day event.

Despite receiving financial support of 2m roubles ($56,000) from the culture ministry, the upcoming festival is expected to suffer from funding constraints, “with the lion’s share of the budget to be spent on accommodation for guests”, according to one of the event organisers, Alexander Gerasimov. The organisers have called on the Crimean authorities to provide discount accommodation for guests, while many of the Russian actors and directors participating in the event are said to be prepared to work for free.

Hopeful that the festival will go ahead as planned, Gerasimov told Izvestia: “Many of the filmmakers who I spoke with expressed a healthy patriotism. In their minds there is a memory of what used to be our Crimea, and it has finally returned to us,” Gerasimov said.

“Our aim is not to make a super-festival. Our aim is to bring Crimeans closer to Russian culture and Russian cinema,” he added.

This is not the first patriotic festival in Crimea considered by the Ministry of Culture. In May this year, culture minister Vladimir Medinsky announced that serious discussions were underway regarding the possibility of organising the Grushinsky Festival — an annual music event normally hosted in Samara — in Crimea, with other plans for developing cultural activity in the peninsula reportedly underway.