MOSCOW, October 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
The Neva Foundation, the Swiss charitable organisation of the Timchenko family, is the principal organiser of the Forum, which was co-founded by the Russian Consulate-General in Lausanne. The programme includes more than 40 films from Russia, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Ukraine, Lithuania and Estonia. The jury for the feature films competition is headed by Swiss actress Marthe Keller. For the first time, the festival includes a documentaries programme. There will be four sessions for children, three special screenings and an evening of comedies, as well as a retrospective of Mosfilm pictures.
The opening ceremony was attended by Geneva Mayor Pierre Maudet and Swiss parliamentarian Filippo Lombardi, who addressed the audience - including Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the State Duma's International Affairs Committee - in Russian. The Swiss politicians spoke of the long-standing ties between the two countries, which are generally considered to be above temporary tensions.
Swiss actor and director Vincent Perez spoke at the ceremony of his love for Russia. "The Russians have a great heart, and Russian cinema is a genuine treasure-trove."
The festival opened with the Andrei Konchalovsky film "The Postman's White Nights", which recently won the Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival.
Honoured guests at the festival were Karen Shakhnazarov and Alexander Adabashyan, who presented their own films, as well as the directors of almost all the films in the competition programme. Mosfilm Direcotr Karen Shakhnazaov said: "Bringing our films to Russian audiences is a great idea. Many countries have a stable audience that is always interested in Russian cinema." According to Alexander Adabashyan, film-directors and culture in general demonstrate "the opportunity for dialogue even in politically challenging times."
Elena Timchenko, Neva Foundation's founder and president, said: "Art is a universal language that makes it possible for people of different backgrounds, traditions and personalities to come together. In today's world it seems particularly important to me to create the right conditions for mutual understanding. Cinema brings together the play of images, speech, emotion and visually accessible communication, which makes it the perfect means to achieve this goal."
Festival director Elena Khazanova noted that work on organising the festival and picking the films for the competition programme had been going on throughout 2014. "The festival is a forum for cultural dialogue. For us it is vital that directors are able to meet, discuss and participate in cultural dialogue where it is currently absent or where we would like to see more of it. The principal reward for us is to see spectators in the theatre, and their emotions and warm feelings."
Maria Morozova, Director of the Timchenko Foundation, said that the festival had been designed to showcase not only Russian cinema but films by directors from across the post-Soviet space who do not have many opportunities to reach European audiences. This year's programme also includes a number of round tables to foster active engagement between the festival's guests and Swiss cinema-goers. Maria Moroza believes that cultural projects are "one of few remaining bridges with the ability to improve mutual understanding."
According to Neva Foundation Director Delphine Duchosal, the festival shows European audiences that "despite differing opinions about individual events, Russians and Swiss are brought together by common cultural values."
The event comes to a close on 19 October with a showing of the documentary "Red Army" by American director Gabe Polsky, about the legendary Soviet hockey team and the life of its captain Vyacheslav Fetisov.
The festival awards five prizes in total - best feature and documentary films, best actor, best acress and an audience prize.
Elena and Gennady Timtchenko have been engaged in philanthropic activities for more than 20 years. To achieve long-term results, in 2010 in Moscow they created a charitable foundation known until August 2013 as the Ladoga Foundation. Today the foundation is active as the Timchenko Foundation, which brings together all of the family's charitable activities. The Timchenko Foundation focuses on support for the elder generation, the development of sport and culture, and providing support for families and children - strategic areas aimed at finding systemic solutions to social problems in Russia. http://www.timchenkofoundation.org
SOURCE Volga Group