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Getting The Arctic Closer: Arctic Open Award Ceremony


The 2nd Arctic Countries Film Festival ARCTIC OPEN has held its award ceremony at Arkhangelsk Drama Theatre. Its 14 venues in Arkhangelsk, Severodvinsk, and Novodvinsk showed a total of 50 films on the official and non-competition selections.

The audiences and guests had a chance to talk to actors, screen writers, films directors, and journalists.

On Sunday, December 9, at Drama Theatre, Arctic Open bottom-lined. While last year’s closing ceremony was set in the airport lounge, this year’s one disguised the stage as a café designed to get busier as filmmakers joined in.

The announcements of winners alternated with the posts by blogger Max Boroda and the film medley by Anna Akimova.

The three main awards – Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, and Best Documentary – went to Gustav Möller’s The Guilty (Denmark), Maria Polyakova’s Trip to Paris, and Leonid Kruglov’s Great Northern Route.

In addition to the festival awards and certificates, each of the three winning films received a RUR 70,000 money prize from the National Copyright Holders Support Foundation. The winners received their awards from the hands of jury presidents Gunilla Bresky, Dagur Kari Petursson and Alexey Agranovich; film and theatre actress Victoria Tolstoganova; Arctic Open director Tamara Statikova; The Rossiyskaya Gazeta reporter Sergey Avramenko; Radio Russia host Marina Makeeva; and Arctic Open’s sponsors and partners.

The special award for “The Contribution to Russian Filmmaking” went to documentary film director Valentin Rasskazov, a path breaking filmmaker who was the first to make films in Arkhangelsk. Among Rasskazov’s films are Bestuzhevka (the story of Ksenia Gemp), My Quiet Homeland, Bound for the Novaya Zemlya, and Vaigach. Valentin Rasskazov received his awards from the hands of Arkhangelsk Governor Igor Orlov.

“This festival speaks a special language – the one that unveils the true meaning of the Arctic, a very trendy word these days. As films convincingly show, the Arctic is not only about nature. It is also about people – the people with special attitudes and perception. We are being referred to as ‘the frozen’. We aren’t frozen, we just have nowhere to rush,” said the governor.

Among the awardees were also film pitches. All the pitched film ideas were split into three categories:

“Made In…” category gave its award to Maria Murashova for her intriguingly named film idea Reindeer Won’t Burn. Elena Demidova’s film idea The Pole of Happiness received ‘information support’ award from the Russian Arctic National Park. For The Beauty To Stay, the film idea by Arkhangelsk-born Maria Nikitina, was recognized the best in category “Fedor Abramov’s Jubilee Year”.

The ‘technical support from Canon’ award and the ‘film idea support from the Russian Filmmakers Association’s Youth Center’ certificate went to Ilya Zheltyakov’s Lighthouse.

The best documentary film idea is Nikolay Viktorov’s socially-oriented comedy drama The Rails, awarded with RUR 50,000 by Arctic Development Projects Office PORA.

Since the number of films praised by the jury in each of the categories turned out bigger than originally planned, special nominations and awards were established.

The ‘Arctic As It Is’ special award, established by the Russian Arctic National Park, went to Canada’s Oliver Goetzl for his documentary White Wolves – The Ghosts of the Arctic.

The Best Feature Film Script award went to film director and writer Yusup Razykov (Sella Turcica);

The Best Feature Film Camerawork award went to Maria von Hausswolff (The Winter Brothers);

The Best Feature Film Direction award went to Mikhail Segal (Elephants Can Play Football).

Jury’s special award “The Gift To Discern Big in Small” went to Eduard Novikov’s King of Birds, whose lead actors Zoya Popova and Stepan Petrov were recognized the Best Actor Duo.

The “Longing for Truth” diploma went to actress Maria Skuratova (Two Tickets Home).

The Best Documentary Script award went to Vladimir Marin for his Neseika: The Younger Daughter.

The Best Documentary Camerawork award went to Daniil Salkhov for his Tales of Mom.

The Best Documentary Film Director award went to Oliver Goetzl for his White Wolves – The Ghosts of the Arctic.

The special award Pure Within (for the best film about social problems) went to Shared Cause (Non-Profit Organization “Foundation for Reviving Spiritual and Cultural Heritage”). Its crew – director Nikolay Gilyarov, script writer and producer Alexander Kaverin, and cameraman Artur Krasheninnikov – were awarded with free accommodation in Solovki Hotel. Shared Cause also received the award from the Diocese of Arkhangelsk and Kholmogory as a film contributing to preservation of the northern Russian heritage, and a RUR 50,000 money prize from Arctic Development Projects Office PORA.

Another RUR 50,000 money prize from PORA went to Yulia Kushnarenko’s The Earth.

The Best Short Film Script award went to Roman Glavatskikh and Sergey Znamenskikh (The Real Screenplay).

The Best Short Film Camerawork award went to Gleb Klimov (Trip to Paris).

The Best Short Film Direction award went to Inar Narmania (My Name Is Makhaz).

Specially mentioned by the jury as Best Debut is Two Halves (directed by Baibulat Batullin, written by Baibulat and Anna Filatova, produced by Baibulat Batullin and Elena Panfilova, camerawork by Dmitry Smirnov). Its crew received a trip for two to Crimea’s Novy Svet holiday resort.

The jury’s honorable mention went also to the environmental issue raising Grassroots. The next Russian film festival to screen Grassroots is Sevastopol.

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