Festival Founder Filip Perkon and Film Director Johnny O’Reilly

Russian Film Week comes back to London for the second time, bringing a large number of latest releases from this year, as well as a series of exhibitions that will run along with the festival.

Just like the previous year, the feast of Russian cinematography kicks off with a red carpet premiere ceremony on 19th November, accompanied by daily screenings at several venues in Central London including: BFI Southbank, Curzon Soho, Regent Street Cinema et al. The programme of the festival comprises some major crowd pullers like Loveless and About Love-2 as well as less known films such as Pagans or Thawed Carp, thus giving all the cinephiles a perfect freedom of choice. Many screenings will be followed by QA with actors and directors, some of which are also going to give masterclasses and public talks on filmmaking. Towards the closure of the festival, the Golden Unicorn Awards International Jury will select films for special awards in 14 different categories to acknowledge the accomplishments of Russian film-makers and promote their work worldwide.

In order to make the experience of exploring Russian cinema even more enjoyable, the curators of the festival are putting together a display of various Russian and British film posters provided by Filip Perkon, the founder of RFW, from his extensive collection. The exhibition is called To See Each Other and is meant to provide some multicultural context for those who decided to plunge into the world of Russian cinematograph. 19-24 November at Russian Culture House.

As part of the festival, the famous Russian singer-songwriter, Boris Grebenshchikov, will be coming to London to perform at the awards ceremony and to open an exhibition of his paintings at the Exhibitionist Hotel from 24th of November to 7th of December. Although Boris is widely recognised for his musical contribution, he has been engaged in visual arts for many years, and this show is just another proof of that. Grebenshchikov started painting in 1976, focussing on depicting his state of mind and conveying it to the viewer, rather than mastering specific technical skills. What’s more, painting is not the only visual art Boris has been experimenting with – the founding father of Russian rock, as people often refer to him, has starred in many films including Two Captains 2 and others. His music is used in a lot of Russian films made in the last 40 years.

Another event that will be held along with the festival is a photo exhibition dedicated to Amur tigers. Every year the Russian Film Week team supports a charity, and this year, in commemoration of the Year of Ecology in Russia, the choice fell on the WWF UK project to save Amur tigers in Russia. Poaching is one of the reasons the population of tigers is declining; Pavel Fomenko and his team work in a natural reserve, curing and operating wounded animals. Through showing photos of tigers endangered, Russian Film Week and WWF are hoping to raise people’s environmental awareness, as well as funds in order to contribute to the project. The exhibition will include works by the award winning photographer, Vladimir Medvedev, showing the breathtaking beauty of Russia’s nature. All the proceeds will be sent to wildlife sanctuaries and spent on enhancing the population of Amur tigers. The exhibition opens on 24th November at Russian Culture House.

Last but not least, on the day of the closing ceremony, November 26th, a fine selection of chic and lavish costumes designed for the film Mathilde, the drawing card of the festival, will be shown in the main lobby of the BFI Southbank. The collection of fabulous hand-made dresses, including the ones sewn for the coronation scene in the movie, has been exhibited in many European galleries and is finally arriving to London. So even if you have missed a chance to watch Mathilde, it is worth coming around to the closing party to check out the costumes!

All the exhibitions are curated by Sima Vassilieva.