Modern Russian film distribution is the sum of paradoxes. On the one hand, we should be happy that there are a growing number of home-made blockbusters among the leaders of distribution. On the other hand, it is clear that not only art-house, but also simply “humanistic cinema” least intended for teenagers, has almost no chance of finding an audience. The number of cinema screens is growing (even if not as rapidly as before), but is it therefore easier to distribute European films or Russian debuts, documentaries or animation films?
“Distribution for blockbusters: are there alternatives?” is the theme of a round table which will take place on 11 June 2008 at the festival “Kinotavr”, organised by the programme management together with the editorial board of the journal “Kino-Process”.
Moderator - Viacheslav Shmyrov

Round tables of the festival “Kinotavr” are traditionally devoted to strategic questions of the formation of Russian cinema and its content. This year’s round table will be devoted to a crucial and always essential topic: what are we going to make a film about? Why are so few films being made about problems of contemporary life that are significant, unpretentious, and experienced by millions of people? Why do directors with their whole creative power avoid analysis, and instead turn en masse to retro, genre, fantasy, all sorts of horror stories, to marginal themes and styles. Why are young spectators of commercial cinema basically presented with action movies, while in art cinema they are mainly shown different versions of stories about a deeply unfortunate and utterly depressive country?
Participants of the round table “Topical cinema: don’t film!” will, as always, include leading producers, directors, playwrights, selectors of international film festivals, heads of television channels and film studios.
Moderator: Daniil Dondurei


Undoubtedly, Russia has been one of the leading cinema nations of the world – as influential as the United States, Germany or France. Under Soviet rule, cinema was considered as art (and as a means of propaganda), and there was not rarely a space and chance to create masterpieces (often linked to political difficulties and personal pain, as we know, see the history of the «shelved films»). They toured through festivals, film clubs and cinemas and increased the glory of the country as a source of astonishing films (sometimes against the will of the authorities, see the turbulences around Tarkovsky's «Andrei Rublyov» and its Cannes screening of 1969). After the end of the system, it became irritatingly quiet. Russian films enter today only occasionally the competition of the major festivals (see this year's Cannes programme: no Russian film in competition). A few names only managed to cross the border: Nikita Mikhalkov of course and Alexander Sokurov, or Andrei Zviagintsev and Ilya Khrzhanovsky (acting for a few filmmakers of a younger generation who managed to make their way). But: Aren't they exceptions? Isn't nowadays Russian cinema fairly unknown abroad? Why? Is there a new understanding and conception of the role and function of cinema? Is «cinema as art» outmoded in today's Russia? What is preventing films (in particular of a younger generation of filmmakers) to make an international career, what are their chances to find a public also outside the own country? In general, is the notion of a «national cinema» still up to date? And, even more general: What is cinema, today and in Russia? Enough «dynamite» to be discussed between foreign critics and their Russian colleagues, on the background of the new Russian films included in the Sochi programme.

Moderators: Andrei Plakhov, Klaus Eder