Bollywood smile: How is the film debut festival ‘Spirit of Fire’

Khanty-Mansiysk is hosting the 21st international festival of film debuts “Spirit of Fire”. The main show of young authors began work without its president, Emir Kusturica. The Serbian director was hospitalized with a broken leg. True, he still promised to fly to the capital of Yugra. In the meantime, colleagues are interested in his health with shamans and are preparing a ward in one of the sanatoriums. “Izvestia” went to the “Spirit of Fire” – to wait for Kusturica and, of course, to watch films.

bone leg

Emir Kusturica became president of the Spirit of Fire last year. He replaced the founder of the festival, director Sergei Solovyov, who managed it for 19 years, in this honorary post. Arriving last year from Belgrade to Khanty-Mansiysk, Kusturica brought his musicians from The No Smoking Orchestra and warned that this was his last performance – the director was ending his musical career. And it’s like he croaked. This year, Kusturica did not come with an orchestra, not one. Slipped, fell, woke up – plaster.

“He has a complicated operation, a very unfortunate leg fracture,” Maria Zvereva, vice-president of the film festival, told Izvestia. – And the governor of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug Natalya Komarova offered to provide him with medical assistance. Perhaps Emir Kusturica will come to Khanty-Mansiysk for treatment.

On the sidelines of the festival, it was said that the conditions in Belgrade were not very good. In Siberia, medicine is better, and Russian specialists are valued all over the world. But in this injury, someone saw a certain pattern, and someone considered the events as links in the same chain. 40 years ago, at the Venice Film Festival, the first president of Spirit of Fire, Sergei Solovyov, presented a young filmmaker from Serbia, Emir Kusturica, with a prize for the best debut film Do You Remember Dolly Bell. And five years ago, a Russian director staged an exhibition in St. Petersburg called “The Leg of Destiny.”

– And then Emir Kusturica calls me and says: “Sasha, I broke my leg.” “Great news,” said Alexander Dybal, Deputy General Director of Gazprom Neft PJSC and Honorary Consul of the Republic of Serbia in the Moscow Region. – It turned out that he got injured where he filmed Life as a Miracle, for which he received the Cannes Palm Branch, which was presented to him by the vice-president of the Spirit of Fire, Maria Zueva. This place is called Mokra Gora in Serbia. So only he, the director-philosopher, could choose a place associated with cinema.

Emir Kusturica recorded an address to the festival right from his hospital bed. And from the first take he did not succeed. In the frame, the director looked comical and resembled Semyon Semenovich Gorbunkov from Gaidai’s Diamond Arm. Gypsum was cinematically in the foreground. It felt like a big tragedy. I had to record a second video.

– Greetings friends! I’m really sorry that I can’t be at the Spirit of Fire Festival. My connection with Russia and Russian culture is huge. I know that I am in an absurd situation. But if everything goes well, I will come before the end of the festival,” Emir Kusturica promised.

After such a promise, the confidence that Kusturica would still get to Siberia increased a little.

And then Cheburashka

But the People’s Artist of Russia Sergei Garmash flew to Khanty-Mansiysk. When the actor appeared on the red carpet, the audience shouted in unison: “Cheburashka!” Everyone wanted to take a picture of the artist, who this time fell in love with for the role of Gena’s gardener. It seemed that if it were not for the parents, the children would have dismantled the actor for souvenirs. Sergei Garmash admits that he is pleased with such attention. He did not even suspect that he had become the idol of small spectators. But at the same time, he understands that the success of Cheburashka is a regularity.

– As Hitchcock said – there are three reasons for the success of the film: script, script and script, – the people’s artist believes. – The story of director Dmitry Dyachenko was initially very interesting. If they offer to act in a sequel, I will agree. Moreover, the authors have every reason to extend this story. Maybe it will happen

Sergei Garmash followed the box office records. True, artists do not receive interest from this money. Although sometimes royalties are prescribed not only in the contracts of Hollywood artists, but in Russian ones.

“We didn’t have this at Cheburashka, because cinema is a big risk,” the actor states. – I like that the film company, which made money on Cheburashka, has now released Natalya Meshchaninova’s series Alice Can’t Wait, and also two seasons of Vampires of the Middle Band. They invest in new production. And that is great.

At the festival, Sergei Garmash was in for a surprise. The chairman of the international jury of the “Spirit of Fire”, director Pavel Lungin, presented him with the award “For Contribution to the Development of Cinematography”.

“We give this prize to a person whom we consider “pure gold,” Lungin emphasized. – And I’m proud that he starred in my last film, even before the great Cheburashka. And I’ll tell you what makes an actor great. The screenwriter wrote some awkward words, the director tries to shoot them, but knows that this is not true. And a big actor comes into the frame, and suddenly he says these words that you look at him and believe. Not many actors have this gift.

Peresild – long stocking

Julia Peresild brought to the “Spirit of Fire” the premiere of her mono-performance “Pippi Longstocking”. She read the fairy tale to the children to the accompaniment of a symphony orchestra conducted by Ksenia Zharko. The music for Yulia was written by Tikhon Khrennikov Jr.

In two parts of the performance, the Honored Artist of Russia, the first actress-cosmonaut, told stories about Pippi written by Astrid Lindgren. The children listened attentively and looked at Peresild. And when she took the baton from the conductor and stood at the console in front of the orchestra, the hall burst into applause.

At the end of the performance, the actress invited children to the stage, who drew funny pictures with a red-haired girl from a fairy tale. So they designed the visual range of the presentation. Each young artist from Khanty-Mansiysk received a book by Astrid Lindgren from Yulia Peresild.

Hollywood and Bollywood

In addition to the cultural program, the festival invited speakers to the business part. “Spirit of Fire” can now confidently be called the largest review in Russia in terms of the number of foreign participants. Under the conditions of sanctions and the abolition of Russian culture in the world, filmmakers from 16 countries arrived in Khanty-Mansiysk. Among them: USA, China, France, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Iran. And for the first time representatives of India flew to Ugra. Director and producer Bauddhayan Mukherjee joined the festival’s international jury. During the break between film screenings, foreigners were invited to visit the Reindeer Breeder’s Day. Reindeer sledding, red fish soup, salted muksun and smiling girls in national dress captivated the Indian guest.

“This can happen only once in a lifetime, now I have something to tell my grandchildren,” Bauddhayan Mukherjee shared with Izvestia. Reindeer riding is the best thing that happened to me. I have never seen such animals. Now I can’t think of anything. Only – deer, sleds and snow.

A meeting of Russian and Indian colleagues took place at the festival. The Roscongress Foundation acted as a communication partner of the 21st Spirit of Fire International Film Debut Festival. Filmmakers discussed points of intersection of mutual interests. Prospects for co-production and exchange of experience in the creation of international projects were outlined.

“I am sure that the unique national traditions of Russia and India will contribute to the mutually beneficial development of ethnic cinema as an important sector of the creative industries,” said Nitin Teja Ahuja, Executive Director of the Producers Guild of India.

Foreign colleagues considered it necessary to support young people who promote the identity of the indigenous peoples of the North.

“We are studying and using the experience of other countries and regions, and thus we are developing our own festival offer,” said Natalia Komarova, Governor of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Yugra.

At the festival, we also talked about possible cooperation with the cinema of the United Arab Emirates.

“We are now witnessing a new round in the development of mankind,” says journalist and Emmy Award winner from the United States Sergey Gordeev. “If earlier we followed individual cultural centers and tried to meet a certain American standard, now we are returning to our roots. People begin to understand the value of their own culture. It’s time to turn on ourselves, but to go forward, enriched by international experience.

Judging by the international film forum “Spirit of Fire”, now the views of domestic filmmakers are not focused on Hollywood, but rather on Bollywood. We are waiting for new collaborations, learning Hindi and waiting for Kusturica.

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