St. Petersburg film forum scheduled for late March
M o s c o w – A Russian film forum is searching until 1 March for high-quality films no older than 2003 on social topics. From 30 March until 8 April 2007, “Vremya zhits“ (Time to Live), Russia’s first major film forum on topics of social relevance, will be holding events in St. Petersburg. The programme is geared to viewers below 30 years of age and deals with issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, Aids, prostitution, smoking, child abandonment and poverty. The very first forum between 31 March and 9 April 2006 featured 120 films from 20 countries ranging from China to the USA; 38 showings where held. The first forum attracted a mostly-young audience of 24.000 persons; an additional 10.000 had seen some of the films by 20 April.
The 10-day event involves much more than non-stop movie showings. Concerts, seminars and discussion forums with filmmakers and public personalities complement the showings. Its makers intend to be more active than reactive: The initial forum included an art exhibit and a day for athletes on the topic of healthy living.
St. Petersburg seems ideally suited to films of this nature. Very high rates of addiction are coupled with local politicians, universities and non-governmental organisations committed to helping solve the country’s social ills. Coordinator Alexander Belenkii (Moscow) states: “Raising funds is always a highly problematic endeavor. But a year ago the Petersburg municipality donated much advertising and offered us one of the city’s largest movie theatres.” Until now, the forum has had to survive without paid employees. No honoraries are paid to those who offer films, yet the top prize includes a cash payment of 5.000 Euros. The best short film in 2006 was “Leroy Cleans Up”, produced by the German Armin Velkers. Stefan Spielberg also entered films into the contest a year ago.
Following the forum, much effort is placed into showing the best films throughout the country. Usually in conjunction with seminars and discussion forums, the prize-winning films of last year were shown in cities such as Moscow, Rostov-na-Donu, Yaroslavl, Krasnoyarsk, and even in Habarovsk and Sakhalin in the Far East.
Belenkii reports that films clearly evangelistic in character – the film „Jesus“, for ex. - usually stand before locked doors in today’s Russia. Access to schools is becoming increasingly difficult, yet prisons and jails remain open for the showing of films on self-betterment. The forum for this reason appeals to general spiritual and moral values. That makes it possible not only for Orthodox priests, but also for Rabbis and Imams to contribute. The forum’s leadership has strong Charismatic and Baptist ties. Yet Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg gives the forum his blessings and sees to it that Orthodox clergy are involved.
The forum’s President is V. I. Holodov of St. Petersburg. Coordinator is the Moscow Baptist and classical percussionist Alexander Belenkii. Film offers and queries should be addressed to: Forum Time to Live, ul. Karavannay 12, 190011 St. Petersburg, Russia, tel/fax 007-812-572-1063, 007-950 027 1058 or 007-917 539 2925 in Moscow, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, webpage: http://Time-to-live.ru.
Dr. William Yoder
Moscow/Berlin, 13 February 2007
A press release of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists. May be published freely. Release # 07-3, 500 words.