MOSCOW/LONDON, November 19. /TASS/. The Russian Film Week opens on Sunday at 16 venues in six UK cities - London, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester and Oxford.
"This event is becoming more and more diverse, because, along with premiere screenings, it also includes exhibitions, various charity events and the Golden Unicorn Awards ceremony. We hope that guests of the festival will have a chance to see more than 50 best films from Russia," said the festival’s curator, Special Representative of Russian President on International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy.
He added that the best of the best recently produced Russian films, including Attraction by Fyodor Bondarchuk, Spacewalker by Dmitry Kiselev, Mathilde by Alexey Uchitel and others, will be shown as part of the festival.
Shvydkoy said that more than 100 leading directors, actors and producers from Russia, United Kingdom and other countries will take part. The patrons of the festival include Russian filmmakers Valery Todorovsky and Alexei Uchitel, as well as UK actor, producer and film director Ralph Fiennes, Scottish actor Brian Cox and Canadian-born film producer Elliot Grove.
Celebrities, dignitaries, famous people such as Leonardo DiCaprio, John Malkovich, Olga Kurylenko, Prince Michael of Kent and filmmaker Fyodor Bondarchuk were invited to the festival as guests of honor.
Last year, the festival collected 85,000 British pounds for children with cancer, which are under the care of sister funds Gift of Life UK/Podari Zhizn (Russia).
"This significant charity campaign will continue this year," Shvydkoy said.
In addition, as 2017 is declared the Year of Ecology in Russia, therefore the Russian Film Week has teamed up with WWF UK to collect funds for the Amur tiger in Russia conservation project.
The Russian Film Week will culminate with the Golden Unicorn Awards Ceremony, held in celebration of the best in Russian film-making and foreign films about Russia in the last 18 months. The nominations presented to the international jury include: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Emerging Talent, Best Foreign Film about Russia, and others.
The Charity Gala will be held at the Langham Ballroom on November 25, featuring a performance by Russian rock-star and ballad singer Boris Grebenshchikov. In addition, a charity auction to collect funds for WWF will also take place.
Russian Film Week General Producer Filip Perkon explained in an interview with TASS why a unicorn was chosen to be the event’s symbol.
"Unicorn is a symbol of the United Kingdom and is depicted at its coat of arms. However, under Ivan the Terrible, a unicorn was also a symbol of Russia. It was present on the state seal and was considered to be a state symbol, along with St. George. That’s why it was chosen for our cross-cultural award, linking Russia and the United Kingdom," Perkon said.
Perkon sees the improvement of bilateral ties through culture as the Russian Film Week’s main goal.
"We believe in our mission, which is to use cultural events and cinema for building bridges between Russia and the United Kingdom, for showing Russia in a beautiful and positive light abroad, considering all negative factors existing in relations between the two states," he said.