Russian fest focuses on local titles

Kinotavr has 17 pix in competition

MOSCOW — Russian film festival Kinotavr has announced its program, revealing a new emphasis on local pics for its 16th edition, which unspools June 2-12.

Hosted again in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Kinotavr has 17 pics in competition, including seven from debut helmers, according to programmer Sitora Alieva. Supporting programs highlight shorts and docus.

Kinotavr also will bring in around 40 professionals, mainly from Europe — festival reps, industry buyers, journos and the like — June 7-12 to raise the international profile for Russian production, according to fest topper and filmmaker Igor Tolstunov.

Alieva plays down the rivalry between Kinotavr and the Moscow Film Festival, also held in June. However, some filmmakers have chosen to bow their works in Kinotavr rather than Moscow, which does not accept pics for competition if they have been shown elsewhere.

Helmer Alexei Uchitel, much respected by Moscow fest prexy Nikita Mikhalkov, will preem his pic “The Cosmos as Premonition” at Kinotavr while Larisa Sadilova unveils her film “Needing a Nanny.”

Franco-Russian director Pavel Lungin (“Taxi Blues”) will reel out “Poor Relations.”

Mikhalkov appears as a thesp in “Blind Man’s Buff,” from “Brother” director Alexei Balabanov, and in Filipp Yankovsky’s costumer “State Counselor.”

Tolstunov, with heavy-hitting supporters headed by film and TV magnate Alexander Rodnyansky, has put together a strong supervisory board to establish Kinotavr as a force reflecting the growing local industry; a celebrity beach party style had dominated recent editions.

“Kinotavr should become a powerful mechanism in the development of a film industry,” Rodnyansky says.

Fest will air on Rodnyansky’s youth-oriented STS network.

A clause in the new management’s acquisition contract means Kinotavr founder Mark Rudinshtein will not be at the 2005 or 2006 events.