Films Ready to Hit the Road
Second Petersburg Film Forum heading for the wide expanses of Russia
M o s c o w – The second annual “Vremya zhits“ (Time to Live) film forum ended in St. Petersburg on 8 April. Christian congregations in 26 cities and regions are now waiting to show the prize-winning films. The 26 locations reach from Krasnodar in the south and Norilsk in the north to at least as far as Krasnoyarsk in the east. The start was made by public schools in the Leningrad Region, which are showing seven of the best films during the period from 1 to 15 May. This forum, Russia´s first major film forum on topics of social relevance, showed 85 films during a 10-day period in three large Petersburg cinemas. Approximately 24.000 persons paid the Forum a visit. 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 vagrancy and poverty. Concerts, seminars and discussion forums with filmmakers and public personalities complement the showings. Its makers intend to be more active than reactive.
This year´s first prize went to Nora Hoppe´s German-French-Italien film „La fin del mare“ (The End of the Sea). Special recognition was given to a very religious film stemming from the traumaticised city of Beslan: “Eleven Letters from God” by Akim Salbiev. The Georgian film “Tblissi” by Levon Sakareishvili brings alarming scenes of drug abuse among children.
Coordinator for showing the films throughout Russia is the Moscow Baptist and classical percussionist Alexander Belenkii. He notes that socially-relevant, not specifically religious projects can detour around the barricades usually placed in the way of evangelistic events. He assures: “Prisons are open for us, also schools, hospitals and the army. It all depends on those who make the decisions locally.” Although Baptist congregations are coordinating the showing of films in their regions, it was the Orthodox “Blagovest” TV channel which footed the bill for printing the festival programme. One leading partner is the government´s “Federal Service for Limiting the Distribution of Narcotics” (FSKN). Other partners include “Rossiya” Television, the leading newspaper „Rossiiskaya Gazeta“ and the German “Goethe-Institute”.
„We´ve taken the first step,“ concludes Belenkii. The films need to be shown in as many schools as possible prior to summer vacation; the prisons will be next-in-line during the summer. One major hurdle remains the costs of showing the films. A loan many need to be taken up if donations do not reach the hoped-for level. Belenkii assures: “We are no pirates. We will pay the required honouraries for the films.” But being the films are no glamourous Hollywood products, honouraries will remain reasonable.
Dr. William Yoder
Department for External Church Relations, RUECB
Moscow, 04 May 2007
A press release of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists. May be published freely. Release #07-11, 440 words.