LONDON — C.L.A.S.S., a creative lab led by one of Russia’s leading film directors, Alexander Sokurov (“Russian Ark”), has launched at the inaugural St. Petersburg Intl. Media Forum, organized by Roskino.
Ninety works have been shortlisted from 500 short films submitted to the lab’s selection board by young filmmakers from 48 cities in five countries. The authors of the projects received training at C.L.A.S.S., which took place at the Repino Village in St. Petersburg, before a six-strong jury of industry professionals decided nominees for awards in the categories of Grand Prix, director and script.
Sokurov said: “The thing is that today in Russia thousands of young people make so-called ‘films of their own,’ which are films about things that truly affect them, that make them reflect, that make them passionate. This type of cinema is virtually unknown to wide audiences since it exists solely online and is not shown on the big screen.
“The C.L.A.S.S. film lab is a working platform where amateur filmmakers will have the chance to get feedback on their work from professionals. This approach, I’m sure, will help us discover new names and ideas.”
Sokurov won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2011 for “Faust,” the screenplay prize at Cannes for “Moloch,” and the FIPRESCI award for “Father and Son” at Cannes.
The jury comprised of Sokurov, Seance magazine’s editor-in-chief Lyubov Arkus, cinematographer Sergey Astakhov, journalist Nikolay Solodnikov, architect Sergei Tschoban and Thibault Furrier, of the Council of France in St. Petersburg.
Catherine Mtsitouridze, general producer of the St. Petersburg Intl. Media Forum, commented: “Since the moment the Media Forum was founded it’s been clear to me that engaging new blood in the process of establishing a cross-platform market in St. Petersburg will not only create a special niche, but will be an investment in the future.
“Young, free-spirited, creative people will eventually become the main protagonists in the transformation of the media field as a whole, which embraces film, TV and new media.
“The fact that the lab is headed by Alexander Sokurov guarantees that the training process will be unorthodox and the result will be most productive.”
The film lab’s schedule included daily lectures and meetings with renowned filmmakers, producers, directors, film experts and art directors of international film festivals.
The list of the lab’s guests includes director Andrey Smirnov, documentary filmmaker Viktor Kossakovsky and producer Igor Tolstunov. Directors Nikolay Khomeriki and Bakur Bakuradze, and screenwriters Alexander Rodionov and Lyubov Mulmenko will lead workshops on screenwriting and directing for the C.L.A.S.S. students.
All the participants of the C.L.A.S.S. lab will be able to attend specially organized daily showrooms featuring presentations from manufacturers of film, photo and video equipment, where companies will present the latest models from the low-end market segment for filming and editing.