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All about Russian Film Week in London - get your tickets now!


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Russian Film Week launched this Sunday at Empire IMAX Leicester Square, with a screening of the film The Story of an Appointment (2018), directed by Avdotya Smirnova. All 750 seats of the biggest screening room in the UK were booked.

Many renowned Russian actors and film directors made their way to Leicester Square this Sunday to attend the opening ceremony and will stay in London during the week to promote their films, which are being screened in eight different venues around London, including Regent Street Cinema, Curzon Mayfair and BFI Southbank.

It is the third time that Russian Film Week takes place in London and it is already considered the biggest Russian cinema event outside Russia, as well as one of the UK’s top 5 biggest national film festivals. The number of attendees duplicated from 4,500 to 10,000 in the past two years and Filip Perkon, the founder and general producer of the Russian Film Week, expects a record number this year.

Avdotya Smirnova reinforced the hindrances of bringing Russian culture to Europe. The director of this drama based on Leo Tolstoy’s life talked about how the controversial political relationships of Russia with the world help pushing aside what this country has to offer in terms of art and entertainment, which is why such events are held. The main purpose of Russian Film Week is not only to promote Russian cinema internationally, but to “build cross-cultural bridges” between Russia and the UK as there shouldn’t be boundaries for art and entertainment.

Vera Podguzova, managing director of external relations and communication of Russian Export Center, spoke about the export of Russian films abroad and the role of Russian film week in this process. “Export of creative industries is experiencing a serious rise at the moment. We see great interest in Russian cartoons in China, Europe, and South America.” With this festival, Vera Podguzova also aims at making companies participating in the Made in Russia project open to the general public and foreign investors.

The Story of an Appointment, the drama screened in the opening ceremony, tells a tragic true story involving the worldly famous writer Leo Tolstoy. A soldier based near Tolstoy’s family is accused of committing a crime after slapping another solder and is sentenced to death. Tolstoy is asked to help proving he’s innocent, which he does, but his opinion just isn’t enough. The settings show an old Russia, run by the rigid and unfair rules of the government. “I hope that Leo Tolstoy's personality, which reflects in the film, will attract an international audience,” Avdotya Smirnova said.

This film is only one of the many released in UK’s cinemas this week, ranging from documentaries to feature and short films. 68 events will also be held across four UK cities: London, Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge. The list of events includes Q&A sessions, workshops, industry talks, masterclasses and film art exhibitions. Vladimir Mashkov, Konstantin Khabensky, Danila Kozlovsky, Fedor Bondarchuk, Avdotya Smirnova, Marina Zudina, Ivan Okhlobystin are some of the experts of the Russian film industry that will be conducting and taking part of some of these events.

Along with the festival, the Golden Unicorn Awards ceremony will also be taking place in London. This very special awards night was designed to honor excellence in 9 nominations, including the Best Foreign Film about Russia. The international jury will be led by the renowned British and Hollywood actor Brian Cox.

“In past centuries the world admired the Russian ballet, which became our national pride. Today's opening ceremony, which was attended by so many guests, gives the belief that our cinema will soon conquer the same bar and take its rightful place in the world culture,” Vadim Lobov, the Russian Film Week Co-producer, stated.

The third Russian Film Week will run until December 2. All the information about film screenings and other events can be found on the RFW website.

Photos by Sergey Petrazhitsky 

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