Golden Angel fest draws criticism

Security, timing among concerns

MOSCOW — Though St. Petersburg’s debut Golden Angel film fest, set to bow in mid-July, would seem to have a lot going for it, the launch is proving distinctly complicated.

Located in Russia’s main tourist destination, the fest has the backing of St. Petersburg authorities and an experienced director in former Kinotavr director Mark Rudinshtein.

But a recent press conference announcing plans for the fest drew plenty of criticism from the city’s intellectuals.

The proposed location is a on the city’s main historical landmark, Palace Square, which is dominated on one side by the Hermitage Museum.

Organizers plan to erect temporary facilities, including six screening spaces.

The museum’s director says the fest could create security problems, citing a rock concert that made the paintings fall down inside the building.

Helmer and fest prexy Andrei Konchalovsky says the event would give filmmakers a chance to see the full range of European talent, as fest is planned as the continent’s only competitive meet devoted exclusively to Euro fare.

Other criticism of the planned fest has come from closer to home, namely Konchalovsky’s younger brother Nikita Mikhalkov, president of Moscow’s Film Fest, which traditionally runs over the last 10 days of June.

Mikhalkov’s opposition, he said in recent interviews, was based on the impossibility of hosting two fests of similar profile and status in the same country over the course of less than a month.

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