There can never be too many films to admire

The start of a new year is a time to look back at the achievements of the previous year. Belarusfilm National Film Studio is no exception, with Director General Oleg Silvanovich reflecting on 2013 at a press conference in Minsk
By Yuri Chernyakevich

The main message from Belarusfilm is that it’s a studio with a closed cycle of production, able to shoot, edit and distribute a great many films annually: fiction, documentary and animation. In 2013, 74 film projects have been completed, including Traces of the Apostles (directed by Sergey Talybov), The Kinderville Ghost (Yelena Turova), Babu, and Tsugtsvang (Oleg Bazilov).

Traces of the Apostles, Stealing Belmondo, The Adventures of Nestserka and In the Fog drew audiences of around 200,000 in Belarus. According to the Director General, these have been an unquestioned success: shot in Belarus and finding keen audiences abroad. Last year, Russian TV channels screened Belarusfilm films about 470 times, while Ukraine made 34 screenings, Germany — 17, and Latvia — 2. Denis Skvortsov’s military film Dnieper Line has even been screened in Japan.

Mr. Silvanovich notes that, last year, the National Film Studio expanded its format. “Our repertoire has included Belarusian and Russian literary classics, military-historical films, children’s works, thrillers and action adventures, educational films, comedies, art house films and directorial debuts: in Russian and Belarusian.”

Last year, Belarusfilm launched two full-length debut films at once. Alexander Anisimov, who studied under People’s Artist of the USSR Victor Turov, directed children’s adventure comedy Unbelievable Travel, while Alexandra Butor, who studied under People’s Artist of Belarus Alexander Yefremov, shot Belye Rosy. Returns. Both films are to premiere this year, alongside Stasik, the debut of Denis Nupreichik, a graduate of the Belarusian State Academy of Arts.

Mr. Silvanovich tells us that, since last year, Belarusfilm has shifted towards dual-format film production, with a TV series version (for television broadcast) and a full-length version for film release, helping to more actively promote Belarusian films.

Two comedies from the Belarusfilm studio are soon being screened in Russia: With 8th of March, Men! and Belye Rosy. Returns. Mr. Silvanovich hopes that the latter will prove a huge hit, saying, “It’s a lyrical drama. While the first film — Belye Rosy (White Dew) — saw the city pitted against the village, this film has reversed the situation. A private investor tries to buy land, allowing exploration of the theme of materialism and greed.”

Fans of Belarusian cinematography will be delighted by the release of a complete set of DVDs entitled ‘Golden Dozen of Belarusian Films’, which marks the 90th anniversary of domestic cinema. Among those included are Belye Rosy by Igor Dobrolyubov (1983), King Stakh’s Wild Hunt by Valery Rubinchik (1979), and The Adventures of Buratino by Leonid Nechaev (1975). The studio has spent a significant amount of money — several dozen thousand Dollars — to bring about its release.
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