Moscow, Russia: Film Fest Shows Outdoor Movies Around City

The organizers of an international film festival in Russia's second city of St. Petersburg aim to create an alternative to the "pit bull fight" that surrounds the prestigious Cannes film festival, a popular Russian daily said on Wednesday.

"The Cannes festival reminds me of a pit bull fight. It's a dog-eat-dog tussle for influence in the movie industry, and for the vast sums of money that circulate there. Russian movies are almost barred from such events," filmmaker Alexei German, who chairs the St. Petersburg International Film Forum, told the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily.

This year's Cannes Film Festival opens on May 12, a week after the new St. Petersburg festival closes, and the city's deputy governor said neither could be moved.

"That is why we will fight to gather the best of global cinema in the city. I'm sure we will succeed in the near future," Alla Manilova said.

The first St. Petersburg international film festival is scheduled for May 2-5, and will be devoted to the 65th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

It will feature over 100 movies about war, including films by Russian directors Alexei Uchitel, Alexander Sokurov, Sergei Loznitsa, Mikhail Romm and German himself, as well as Germany's Florian Gallenberger and Poland's Andrzei Waida.

The movies will be shown at numerous locations around the city, including free open-air screens to be erected at St. Petersburg landmarks.

The city's culture committee hopes the festival will make St. Petersburg one of the global cinema capitals, such as Venice, Berlin, Edinburgh and Cannes.

"I fully support this idea, St. Petersburg will become a center of international filmmaking," committee chairman Anton Gubankov said.

During St. Petersburg's "White Nights" season later in the summer, the city will host its 18th annual Festival of Festivals International Film Festival, which it bills as "Russia's largest non-competitive festival of recent outstanding works of International and Russian cinema."


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