MOSCOW — Despite the bleak economy, Russian auds will get a welcome dose of indie cinema with the 2nd 2morrow2 fest that runs for four days beginning Friday in Moscow.
Fest, dedicated to what programmer Alexei Medvedev calls “new wave” cinema, grew out of an acquaintance between local director Ivan Dykhovichny, a self-confessed motor fan, and Till Brauner, topper of carmaker Audi Russia, which sponsored the fest.
“I think last year was a miracle, and despite the economic situation we’re repeating it now,” Dykhovichny said. “We thought there was no audience for such kinds of film — the problematic, and the auteur style — but we found that what affects the human emotions attracted packed houses. Perhaps the time of economic uncertainty makes people even more willing to learn about themselves through such works.”
Fest is modest, showing in a Moscow two-screen venue.
Still its competition includes 11 pics, 11 are out of competition and six gala screenings, with the selection divided roughly between North America, Europe and Asia.
Competition pics include Bill Plympton’s “Idiots and Angels,” Guy Maddin’s “My Winnipeg” and Ramin Bahrani’s “Chop Shop.”
The Midnight Music section includes Madonna’s “Filth & Wisdom” alongside a retrospective to early Lithuanian master animator Ladislas Starewitch. A final section, On a Shoe String, comprises micro-budget films.
Jury is headed by U.S. director Abel Ferrara (whose “Chelsea on the Rocks” screens), supported by Holland’s Anton Corbijn, Czech actress Anna Geislerova, Russian novelist Vladimir Sorokin and Russian director Boris Khlebnikov (“Roads to Koktebel”).
The program has a literary bias, with adaptations of Russian classics featuring prominently.
Opening pic is Czech helmer Petr Zelenka’s “The Karamazovs” based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky novel, coupled with a French adaptation of Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot” by Pierre Leon. An Armenian version of Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” completes the local literary bill.
Fest is organized by Interfest, which ran the annual Moscow Intl. Film Festival until two years ago. Programmer Medvedev was also once involved with MIFF.
Local critics’ reaction to 2morrow2 is positive, with some comparing it favorably to MIFF.
That may sound overblown, but 2Morrow2 has the fresh energy of a start-up and a defined direction, against 36-year-old MIFF’s venerable but somewhat weary profile.
Audi is again sponsoring the event. Last year’s top prize of $100,000 went to Irish director John Carney for “Once.” This year the prize is down to $50,000 — but that’s still an impressive pool.