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Since the start of the project in November 2020, Russian films have been watched on four continents
The Russian Film Festival (RFF) — is a project organized by ROSKINO, the Russian film promotion organization, with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. They summed up the results of the more than two-year journey around the world. Starting with online screenings on VOD platforms in four countries at the end of 2020, RFF has significantly expanded its geography and increased the number of events: up to 25 festivals in 2022 (offline and online).
Since the beginning of the project, the total audience of Russian Film Festival abroad has exceeded 6.5 million in 30 countries.
The Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, Olga Lyubimova: “Millions of viewers around the world are the best proof of the demand for Russian cinema abroad. The Russian Film Festival continues to win the hearts of foreign viewers, not only introducing them to domestic films and animation This year, our country has expanded partnership with Asia and the Middle East in many areas, and cinema is an important factor in interstate cultural interaction.”
ROSKINO CEO, Inna Shalyto: “Every year the Russian Film Festival develops: we are expanding the geography and the program, introducing different film formats, attracting new opinion leaders, and initiating dialogue between Russian and international filmmakers. RFF also contributes to the growth of interest from foreign TV channels and VOD platforms in buying Russian content. Taking into account plans for the development of inbound tourism from the Middle East, the CIS, India, and China, cinema can become a leader in the growth of tourist activity in Russian cities.”
Focus on the East
The Russian Film Festival, throughout the project’s development, has taken place in Asia, Latin America, Africa, the CIS, Europe, and Australia. In 2022, RFF was held for the first time in the UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Thailand, Serbia, Armenia, and Turkmenistan. Most of the events were held offline—stand alone RFF festivals and those integrated into the international film festivals. RFF screenings were organized as part of the CineFem Women’s Film Festival in Uruguay, the Tashkent Film Festival “The Pearl of the Silk Road” in Uzbekistan, the Bahrain Film Festival, and the Minsk International Film Festival “Listapad” in Belarus.
The Russian Film Festival program has been expanded and in 2022, series were added to feature films, animation, and documentary content. In total there were 71 projects in 2022.
In the UAE and India, along with the Russian Film Festival, ROSKINO organized the participation of the Russian film industry in international content markets (Dubai International Content Market and Film Bazaar), which made it possible to attract not only a wide general audience to Russian cinema, but also the professional community. In Uzbekistan and Belarus, as part of Russian film days, business events were held with leading experts from the film industry in Russia and CIS countries resulting in dialogue on co-production.
Three countries on the calendar of the Russian Film Festival have hosted Russian cinema for three years in a row. RFF has already received permanent residence in Brazil, Mexico, and Spain.
Comedies, animation, and family films are in great demand
In many countries (including India, Serbia, and Spain), Russian comedy films have become a favorite among viewers. Among the comedies presented at RFF in 2022 are the films Son of a Rich, Desperate for Marriage, Young Man, I Am Losing Weight. Films and animation projects were popular: young moviegoers saw Finnick, Detective Chirp and the Golden Beehive, Fixies vs Crabots, Horse Julius and Big Horse Racing and others. Family movies (A Dog Named Palma, Upon the Magic Roads, The Last Warrior: A Messenger of Darkness) also resonated with viewers.
In Brazil, the documentary Andrei Tarkovsky. A Cinema prayer, and in Bahrain and Thailand the ballet drama Bolshoy received the best reviews.
China stands out, as two of the top three films by number of viewers were sci-fi: Attraction and the drama about the most difficult flight in the history of astronautics, Salyut-7.
In 2023, the Russian Film Festival plans to further expand its geography, retaining a variety of event formats and delighting foreign audiences with the diversity of contemporary Russian cinema.