Projection at Cote d’-Azur film event from centre of Europe

Belarusian national pavilion to be first represented at International Cannes Film Festival

By Viktar Korbut

It’s already known that the Culture Ministry, the Belarusian TV and Radio Company and the National Belarusfilm Studio are to organise our pavilion at the 64th International Cannes Festival; private companies (including French Peugeot) are sponsoring the event.

The Cannes Festival is among the oldest in the world, held annually since 1946 and taking place in May. Its best film is awarded the ‘Golden Palm’ while other awards include the Grand Prix and those for best male and female actors, directors and playwrights. The jury has its own award, while the ‘Golden Palm’ is also given for short length films and the ‘Golden Camera’ is awarded to the best new director.

The Director of the Culture Ministry’s Department for Cinematography, Oleg Silvanovich, stresses that this will be Belarus’ first pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival. He explains, “Some states wait years for an invitation to present at Cannes but we took just six months to gain the honour.”

Speaking about our national pavilion, Oleg Lukashevich — a journalist for Belarusian TV’s 1st Channel who has been travelling to Cannes for many years to report on the festival — tell us, “Belarus is presenting an ‘embassy’ to global cinematography. Like a traditional embassy, our goal is to promote our reputation. We would like people to perceive us as part of the European cinematographic family.”

This year, Belarus’ films aren’t being entered within the contest programme. “There’s no hurry,” says Mr. Lukashevich, who knows the workings of the film forum well. He suggests that we penetrate Cannes gradually. “In the first year, it’s hard to find partners. Ukraine debuted in 2008 but only screened a film in the contest programme in 2010. Our initial target, in the first year, is to demonstrate Belarusian film making.”

This year, an official Belarusian delegation, for the first time, participated in the 61st Berlin International Film Festival — Berlinale. Representatives of Minsk’s International Listapad Film Festival requested that they might screen films selected in the German capital back in that of Belarus and negotiated the participation of globally known European cinematographers at Listapad. Meanwhile, foreign production companies received proposals of co-operation in the field of joint film making with Belarus.

The 18th International Listapad Film Festival is to take place from November 5th-12th. Programme Director Igor Sukmanov tells us that the Minsk film forum aroused interest at Berlinale. “Representatives of the international film industry noted that our forum has good prospects,” he says.

The first Belarusian-Russian film project, Brest Fortress, has received three Russian cinema Nika awards, winning ‘Best Costumes’, ‘Best Sets’ and ‘Best Sound’.

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