The 2013 Russian Film Week concluded in New York last Sunday, October 13th. Organized by Kartina TV, the largest IPTV provider of Russian-language entertainment, and supported by Moscow’s Studio We and the Russian Ministry of Culture, the five-day, 10-film event attracted more than 5,000 viewers, a record number for the festival.
The festival showcased 10 new films – eight full-length features and two documentaries – introducing the audience to the best of Russian cinema from 2013. After a yearlong hiatus, the film week opened on October 9th with the premiere of Alexander Veledinsky’s “The Geographer Drank Away His Globe” at the Ziegfeld Theatre. Based on the novel by Alexei Ivanov, the film, its director, and producer Leonid Lebedev received a standing ovation from the completely sold-out 1,200-seat venue.
“I am touched to see such a warm reaction to the film,” said Veledinsky. “Albeit a little nervous that the US audience would not identify with the deeply Russian characters, I am happy to be proven wrong.”
Day two of the festival premiered Timur Bekmambetov-produced comedy “Kiss Them All” (Gorko!), also to a sold-out crowd that enjoyed the hilarity of the new film. The Russian Film Week became the first festival to screen “Kiss Them All” worldwide.
Boris Khlebnikov-directed “A Long and Happy Life” was introduced to the audience by actor Alexander Yatsenko. The film had already garnered critical acclaim at several festivals around the world, but had not been screened in New York yet. Actress Elena Panova presented her film, “Metro,” a natural disaster blockbuster that set box office records in Russia earlier this year. Alexey Fedorchenko’s latest “Celestial Wives of Meadow Mari,” was introduced by the film’s two stars, Yuliya Aug and Darya Ekamasova, connecting the audience with the film’s original story of the Mari women. “Me Too,” the last film of the late director Alexey Balabanov, was screened to a sold out theater and a standing ovation for the gone-too-soon master.
The winner of the Best New Film award at the 2013 Kinotavr Film Festival, “Intimate Parts,” was presented by its directorial duo, Natalia Merkulova and Alexey Chupov, as well as one of its leading ladies, Yuliya Aug. The post-screening Q&A session, led by the film week’s program director Anton Dolin, confirmed that Russia, indeed, had experienced a sexual revolution in the past decade.
The film week closed with Nicolai Lebedev’s hockey epic “Legend No. 17,” dedicated to Russia’s beloved hockey hero, Valery Kharlamov. The film was released in Russia earlier in 2013, but still screened to a full house at the SVA Theater in Chelsea. Introduced by the program director Anton Dolin, Russian TV personality Andrey Malakhov, and one of the leading actresses in the film, Darya Ekamasova, “Legend No. 17” added a charitable touch to the film festival. All of the proceeds from the closing ceremony will be donated to the Kind Heart foundation that provides financial relief to families of children with disabilities in Russia.
Closing out its first decade, the Russian Film Week in New York has proven to be a cultural highlight among cinema supporters of the Big Apple. Until next year, connect with us at RussianFilmWeekNYC.com and Facebook.com/RussianFilmWeek.
About RFW NYC:
Launched in 2000, Russian Film Week introduces New Yorkers to the best of modern Russian filmmaking. Since its inception, the festival has become a landmark cultural entertainment event of the city, regarded by the Russian-speaking community as well as devotees of foreign and indie cinema. Russian Film Week in New York is made possible with the support of Kartina TV, the leading IPTV provider of Russian-language programming, as well as Studio WE and the Russian Ministry of Culture.