The first Siberian French Film Festival kicked off Tuesday, December 6, in Vladivostok.
The festival's opening film was "Les Parrains" ("The Do-Gooders"), presented to an audience of 800 spectators. This event is jointly organized by Unifrance and the French Embassy in Russia, and is held this year from December 6 through 11 in two major Siberian cities, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg.
The patron of this first edition of the festival is the Lithuanian actress Ingeborga Dapkounaite ("Katia Ismaïlova," "Burnt by the Sun, "Mission: Impossible," "Seven Years in Tibet," and "25 Degrees in Winter"), a shining star in her own country.
The festival selection was put together by Russian distributors themselves, in order that the event serve as a launch platform for films in the lead-up to their commercial release, both on a regional and national level.
Three films are to be released in theaters in Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg prior to Moscow: "The Do-Gooders" by Frédéric Forestier, distributed by Central Partnership and exported by Roissy Films; "Merry Christmas" by Christian Carion, distributed by Central Partnership and exported by Films Distribution; and "One Stays, The Other Leaves" by Claude Berri, distributed by GP Group/Film Plus and exported by Pathé Distribution. Two other titles will have their festival launch in regional cities, having already been released in Moscow: "Time To Leave" by François Ozon, distributed by Intercinema XXI Century and exported by Celluloid Dreams, and "Hidden" by Michael Haneke, distributed by Central Partnership and exported by Les Films du Losange.
The delegation present at this event is composed of the director Frédéric Forestier, the actress Laure Duthilleul, actors Daniel Duval and Pascal Rénéric, and producers Pierre Grunstein and Christophe Rossignon, along with representatives from Unifrance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the French Embassy in Moscow.
After operating for five years in Moscow, the event's organizers have taken a gamble on relocating the festival, in order to reach out to new potential audiences for French films. Indeed, the Russian movie landscape is currently undergoing major transformations. For the first time in 2004, the majority of national film admissions was registered in provincial theaters. With the aim of accompanying this new development and offering optimum support to local distributors in their efforts to promote French films, the festival is now hosted in the cities of Vladivostok (with a population of 700,000) and Yekaterinburg (the country's third largest city after Moscow and St Petersburg, with a population of 1.8 million).
For general information, there are at this time close to 1,000 movie screens operating in Russia. 51 French films were released in this territory in 2004, attracting 5.5 million moviegoers. At a time when Russian movie production is undergoing a period of major growth and multiplex construction is expanding at breakneck pace, French cinema must maintain its efforts in order to ensure a French presence on Russian screens. This is a market that numbers 144 million potential spectators (and registered 76.5 million theatrical admissions in 2004). Since French films attract audiences in the capitals Moscow and St Petersburg, Unifrance is wagering on a rise in the popularity of French fare in the rest of the country.
Contact on location: Joël Chapron
Marketing Department, Central and Eastern Europe (+33) 6 07 31 75 50