Russian Film Week (RFW) returns this year for the second time and is twice as big, marking it as the biggest cross-cultural Russian event to have taken place outside of Russia. RFW aims to move beyond global politics and focus on bridging the widening gap between Russia and the West through culture. And while a handful of Russian filmmakers such as Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, or Andrey Zvyagintsev (‘Leviathan’, ‘Loveless’) have become well known in the West, the RFW mission is to bring the full scope of Russian cinema to an international market, and celebrate its artistic merit with global audiences.

Besides the highly anticipated sell-out films ‘Mathilde’ (Alexey Uchitel) and ‘Arrythmia’ (Boris Khlebnikov),RFW will deliver the best of Russian film in the last 18 months, demonstrating the depth, richness, variety, and impressive technological innovation that Russian cinema has to offer to the world. The line-up will include shorts, animation, documentary films and a diversity of genres. “We believe that by creating an international platform for showcasing a panorama of Russian themed film, we can foster cultural dialogue and mutual understanding between the United Kingdom and Russia – says Filip Perkon, RFW General Producer. – For the second year running, we have selected the best contemporary films with a Russian theme, whether from Russia or other countries — based on Russian literature, people or events — and brought these in a diverse programme to cities across Great Britain.”

The programme will go beyond multiple film screenings with Q&A sessions, to include: exhibitions, talks,parties, masterclasses, industry events, designed to pave the way for positive future collaborations between British and Russian film professionals. RFW will also be putting on fascinating documentary screenings as part its FemFest, Revolution Centenary, and Ecology Days. Waterstones Piccadilly will host throughout the week free VR demonstrations provided by Russian VR Seasons and PlanetPics (Natural Treasures of Russia programme).

RFW opens with a screening of ‘Attraction’ followed by an after-party against a backdrop of suspended planes and vintage cars at the Science Museum, climaxing with the BFI closing screening of ‘Mathilde’ & after-party on the 26th November, and Golden Unicorn Awards Charity Gala Dinner on the 25th. This is when the winners in 12 awards categories, including Best Foreign film About Russia, will be announced – as decided by a renowned international jury. In attendance of the festival, will be over 75 of Russia’s most talented directors, producers and actors including: Fedor Bondarchuk, Alexander Yatsenko, Valery Todorovsky, Alyona Babenko, Anna Mikhalkova and Aleksey Uchitel. Guests of honour such as: Ralph Fiennes, Olga Kurylenko, Mike Newell, Baroness Gail Rebuck, and Samy Naceri will also be joining us to celebrate the best of Russian cinema.

“Events such as the Russian Film Week, contribute to strengthening mutual understanding and friendship between peoples, to overcoming social barriers and prejudices, – says the RFW Co-producer Vadim Lobov, Synergy University Executive Director. – Our University does a lot to support Russian culture abroad. We are happy to give the people of Britain the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the best works of Russian cinematographers within the framework of the Week.” RFW shows incredible promise for the future having trebled in size within just a year, with this year’s partners including the BFI, Science Museum, Picture Houses, Curzon Cinemas, Ciné Lumière, Regent Street Cinema and more across the cities of London, Cambridge, and Edinburgh. As 2017 is the Year of Ecology in Russia, RFW have teamed up with WWF UK to raise funds for the WWF Amur Tiger Conservation Project in Russia over the duration of the festival. RFW and Synergy University have also launched a special Student Ecology Short Film competition with a special Golden Unicorn–Synergy Award.

For more information about the Russian Film Week and Russian Film Week please attend the RFW press conference on 19th November at 4pm just before the Opening Ceremony (with a special press screening of the film ‘Attraction’ afterwards). There will be amazing, out of this world, blue sparkling wine for all, kindly provided by Eden! “The world’s first French blue sparkling wine was inspired by the creative industry and we are thrilled to share this experience with leading actors, directors and producers from Russia, Great Britain and other countries who are showcasing incredible talent during Russian Film Week, – said Aymeric V Bruneau, creator of Eden. – There is undoubtedly a strong connection between the goals of Eden and Russian Film Week: shake preconceptions and stereotypes and bring novelty and effervescence to the world of film.”