The 77th Venice film festival took place at Lido from 2 to 12 September 2020. It was the first major international event for the film industry since the coronavirus pandemic began. Andrey Konchalovsky’s “Dear Comrades” won the Special Jury Prize, and Fillip Yuryev’s “Whaler boy” took the Directors Award of the parallel competition “Venice Days”.

On Saturday an international jury led by Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett awarded the Special Jury Prize of the Venice Film Festival to Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky for his film ‘Dear Comrades’, starring Julya Vysotskaya. The feature film tells the story of the tragedy of Novocherkassk in 1962.

“I won my first prize in Venice over 50 years ago. Venice for me has been a great attraction since then, and I am very happy to be here again with something that I consider to be very important for me because it’s a film about our parents, about a generation that is mostly already gone”, – said director Andrei Konchalovsky.

Andrei Konchalovsky has a long history with the Venice Film Festival. Such works as “The First Teacher”, “Paradise”, “House of Fools” and “The Postman’s White Nights” have already won awards at the festival in previous years.

“Russia, traditionally has strong auteur cinema. We are incredibly happy that this year in Venice, Andrey Konchalovsky, – the recognized master, not only in Russia, but also in the world, was honored. Congratulations to the entire team who worked on the picture with the Special Jury Prize of the Venice Festival! It is also significant that the young director Philipp Yuryev won the parallel competition of the festival. In recent years, the number of our awards at major international film festivals has grown several times. I am sure this trend will continue”, said CEO of ROSKINO Evgenia Markova.

Mona Fastvold’s film “The World to Come” (co-produced by Ilya Stewart, Murad Osmann and Pavel Burya (Hype Film) was also presented during the official program of the festival.

“Festivals are returning to offline formats after such a long pause. It is a great responsibility to be involved in a new restart of our industry, and I’m really honored to represent Russian cinema on the international scene. There is no doubt that the Venice Film Festival was held successfully. The Hype Film team is pleased with the successes and victories of our compatriots, the Jury Prize for Andrei Konchalovsky and his outstanding film is a real victory for Russian cinema”, said Hype Film  founder and general producer Ilya Stewart.

Phillip Yuryev’s feature film “Whaler boy” took the Directors Award of the auteur cinema’s Parallel Section – “Venice days”. The picture “Conference” directed by Ivan Tverdovsky was also presented in the Parallel Section, and made it to the short list of the competition.

“For me as a debutant director, this is an incredibly important award. It is important precisely for the start, and I hope that it will allow this film to be seen by as many viewers as possible”, said director Philip Yuryev.

The “Whaler boy” is Phillip Yuryev’s directorial debut. The main character is a teenage whale hunter Leshka, whose life changes dramatically with the internet’s arrival in Leshka’s village. He falls  deeply in love for the first time with a silent webcam girl. After he learns that she lives in Detroit, Leshka decides to attempt the most desperate adventure of his life.

The film “Conference” directed by Ivan Tverdovsky tells a story about the consequences of “Nord-Ost” – the tragic hostage-taking in the Russia’s Dubrovka Theatre Centre in 2002. The film is not a direct reconstruction – the story takes place today. The main character managed to escape during the terrorist attack, but she left her husband and two children with the hostages in the theater hall. She returns from the monastery in which she has spent eighteen years to wash away her sin, and apologize for the biggest mistake of her life.

Two Russian projects were presented at the Venice Gap-Financing Market – the social drama “Convenience Store” by Mikhail Borodin and “Captain Volkonogov escaped” by Natasha Merkulova and Alexei Chupov, whose previous film “The Man Who Surprised Everyone” took the Best Actress award for Natalia Kudryashova as part of the Horizons program of the Venice Film Festival in 2018. Last week the film “Captain Volkonogov escaped” received support from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation after the pitching of fiction, author and experimental cinema in 2020.

“This year, as part of the Venice Gap-Financing Market, Metrafilms presented its “Convenience Store” project – the debut film by director Mikhail Borodin, a drama about modern slavery. We are very pleased that the project has been selected to participate in such a prestigious film market. Among other things, this event continues to confirm the great international interest in the project. It was really effective despite the online format of our participation – we held a large number of meetings on the project with major players in the international market and with interesting young companies. It was a very productive and useful event for us and for the project”, – noted Asya Pavlovskaya, producer of Metrafilms



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