Adjustments to give 10-day fest new character
LONDON — Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill Vol. 2” will open the Moscow Intl. Film Festival on June 18, amid speculation the helmer will be on hand in the Russian capital.Adjustments in traditional programs will give the 10-day fest something of a new character. A second competition and jury, titled Perspectives, will include at least eight pics by first- or second-time directors. How that will align with the main competition, which tends to be dominated by such films, remains to be seen when fest prexy Nikita Mikhalkov announces the final slates. The other main change is in the structure of panorama programs. Three popular sections — AI Foria (name after a Russian newspaper), 8½ (after the Fellini film that won top prize at Moscow in 1963) and Great Expectations — have been axed, to the dismay of many local observers and industry insiders. They will be replaced by a Films Around the World section. Other sections, like National Hits (devoted to pics that scored in their home territories, but didn’t draw auds internationally), and the retrospective Cinema Museum Presents, remain unchanged. Some of these changes are being attributed to the appearance of international figures among festival organizers. In particular, Nadia Turintsev, long involved in the European Producers‘ Club and instrumental in trying to raise the profile of the Russian industry at recent Cannes gatherings, has come on board as art director. Another veteran of the East European scene, Hans-Joachim Schlegel, for many years selector for the Berlin festival as well as the last two Venice fests, is a selection consultant. The changes look like an attempt to give the fest a more distinctive character than it has had in the past. After the difficult 1990s, both financially and administratively, recent editions have run smoothly — even if rather more on a politically significant level than as a regular stop on the European circuit.