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City news, 11.07.2011 02:29

St. Petersburg's Film Forum opens

St. Petersburg's Film Forum

Russia's newest international movie festival, St. Petersburg's Film Forum, opened Sunday, July 10 in the famous city known as the country's cultural capital.
Launched as a one-off non-competitive celebration last year of the 65th anniversary of the end of the second world war that was devoted to modern and classic war films, city and regional government authorities have thrown their weight - and funding - behind an annual showcase with two competition sections.
Designed to help promote St Petersburg as a film location and service center - the city boasts the recently opened Russian World Studios, the country's first modern movie-making complex to be built in more than 60 years - the forum opened with a gala screening of Pedro Almodovar's "The Skin I Live In."
Two competition programs - Best of the Best, which screens films feted at other fests; and New Territories' that seeks to show films with an innovative angle - focuses on Russian premieres.
The Best of the Best includes Swedish director Lisa Aschan's acclaimed "She Monkeys" and Russian director Bakur Bakuradze's Cannes Un Certain Regard screener "The Hunter."
New Territories includes Chinese director Miaoyan Zhang's "Black Blood" about a family that contract HIV after selling their blood and "The Show Must Go On" by Croatia's Nevio Narasovic about a TV reality show that conceals the outbreak of a Europe-wide war from its participants.
Andrei Plakhov, program director and one of Russia's top film critics, said the event was dubbed a forum as its brief was wider than other festivals.
"We aim to have free, open discussions about all the films in the competition and other programs," Plakhov said.
The program includes a retrospective of award-winning films from Russia's national Kinotavr film festival; Disney cartoons; documentaries and features about terrorism, such as the full-length version of Olivier Assayas' "Carlos"; and films about autism.
A cultural program of art and musical events and industry round-tables on co-productions with international producers in attendance are also featured.
Alla Manilova - St Petersburg deputy governor and head of the forum's organizing committee - said all screenings, apart from competition programs, were open free of charge to the public.
Star power is being provided by actresses Natasha Kinski, Ornella Muti, Dinara Drukarova among others.
The forum closes Friday (July 15) with Spanish director Carlos Saura's "Flamenco, Flamenco."

News source: Variety

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