Alexey Uchitel’s Road Trip Movie ‘Tsoy’ to Open Russian Film Week USA

Tsoy Scene

Russian Film Week USA, which runs Jan. 23-29, is expanding its reach as it pivots to an online format, allowing audiences across the U.S. to sample Russia’s latest cinematic output. The event opens with Alexey Uchitel’s surreal road trip movie “Tsoy,” which imagines the aftermath of the fateful 1990 car accident that killed Soviet rock idol Victor Tsoy.

The first batch of 10 titles to be announced by the event, formerly called Russian Film Week New York, are all international or North American premieres, with the rest of the program, including documentaries and children’s films, to be announced later this month.

“The Whaler Boy,” which won Venice Days’ award for best director, is the closing night film. It follows an indigenous teenager as he discovers a world far beyond his whaling community. Other films in the lineup include Ivan Tverdovskiy’s “The Conference,” which also played at Venice Days, and Maria Ignatenko’s “In Deep Sleep,” which screened in Berlin Film Festival’s Forum section.

Russian Film Week USA is founded by New York-based arts non-profit the Cherry Orchard Festival, a producer of international theatrical, classical music and educational programming, and Russia’s Rock Studio Films, which also organizes the Message to Man International Documentary Film festival in St. Petersburg and the Russian Film Week in London.

In a statement, Cherry Orchard Festival founders Maria Shclover and Irina Shabshis commented: “There is nothing like premiering a brand new Russian film in a packed theater with the director present for a dialogue with the local audience. But the silver lining of our COVID pivot to an online format is that viewers from all over the U.S. are able to watch the film and exchange ideas with filmmakers in live online Q&As.”

Rock Studio Films founder Alexey Uchitel added: “This year Russian studio Rock Films presents American cinephiles with the astonishing visions of a diverse range of Russian filmmakers – some of which have already won awards in Venice and other A-list festivals, such as ‘The Whaler Boy’ and ‘Sententia’.”

He added: “Many of the features are inspired by real-life events or people that have shaped Russia these last decades, whether it’s sports, music, literature or terrorism. It’s been a year of great uncertainty, so we’re very proud of this initial collection of works that premiered as Russia navigated its lockdown. And it’s especially exciting to roll out the red carpet for them to the entire U.S.”

Subscription for Russian Film Week costs $100, which includes access to all festival screenings and Q&As. Individual tickets cost $16, which includes a single screening and Q&A, where available. Kids’ screenings cost $10, which includes a single kids-program screening.

First titles (final program to follow later this month):
“The Conference” by Ivan Tverdovskiy. Fictional account of survivor’s guilt about the 2002 terrorist attack in a Moscow theater. North American premiere. Played at Venice Days. Sales: Reason8 Films.

“Deeper!” by Mikhail Segal. A young director brings arthouse methods to an adult film production.

“Doctor Lisa” by Oksana Karas. Feature about a real-life doctor caring for Moscow’s most vulnerable. Winner of the People’s Choice Award at Sochi Open Russian Film Festival.

“Goodbye America” (a.k.a. “Motherland”) by Sarik Andreasyan. Comedy about how Russian immigrants in the U.S. view Mother Russia differently. Sales: Russian World Vision.

“In Deep Sleep” by Maria Ignatenko. Poetic feature debut about a fisherman, who finds his hometown shut down in a deep sleep. Screened in Berlin Film Festival’s Forum section. Sales: Reason8 Films.

“Mara” by Alexey Kazakov. Horror film about healer Mara erasing the trauma of a home invasion. Sales: Planeta Inform.

“Sententia” by Dmitriy Rudakov. A beautiful, meditative dramatization of the last days of Russian poet and Gulag survivor Varlam Shalamov. Winner of Fipresci award at Black Nights Film Festival. Sales: Rock Films.

“Streltsov” by Ilya Uchitel. A sports drama about Soviet-era soccer star fighting to save his reputation. Sales: Central Partnership.

“Tsoy” by Alexey Uchitel (opening night). Reimagining the aftermath of rock star Viktor Tsoy’s death in Soviet-era Latvia. Sales: Mint Films Intl.

“The Whaler Boy” by Philip Yuriev (closing night). Winner of this year’s Venice Days award for best director. Indigenous teenager discovers a world far beyond his whaling community. Sales: Rock Films.

Source: variety.com by Leo Barraclough

Russian Film Week in New York Ends with Box-Office Hit

Russian Film Week in New York ended with the premiere of Klim Shipenko’s psychological thriller Text, TASS reported.
According to the co-founder of the festival Irina Shabshis, the organizers wanted the forum to end with a popular feature. At the same time, she noted, the film touched on very serious and deep themes. Irina Shabshis added that there was not a single empty seat in the hall, all the tickets were sold out very quickly.

Continue reading “Russian Film Week in New York Ends with Box-Office Hit”

Youth Culture, Cheating Husbands, & Revolution at the Russian Film Week in New York

Featuring indie, popular, documentary and arthouse works, the Russian Film Week in New York presents a side of cinema not often seen today in the US. Running December 6 to the 13th at the SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street) the fest features a range of films, along with live Q&As with the directors.

“At a time when some want to highlight differences among us, we want the 2019 Russian Film Week in New York to be a bridge to unite people across the oceans,” said founders and presenters Maria Shclover and Irina Shabshis of The Cherry Orchard Festival Foundation. “We truly feel that artistry is a powerful force and can be the catalyst to show our commonalities.” Continue reading “Youth Culture, Cheating Husbands, & Revolution at the Russian Film Week in New York”

Review: Sobibor

Superficially the story of one of the worst Nazi death camps in the history of the holocaust, this is a story of extraordinary courage. Not only were Nazi death camp victims tortured and worked to death, they were brainwashed into thinking they had no alternative. The power structure was able to exert such terror as to deny prisoners their ability to use their own minds. First it denied them their will, then their lives. Continue reading “Review: Sobibor”

Heroes on the Edge: An Interview with Alexei Uchitel

Alexei Uchitel

Alexei Uchitel is the leading Russian director whose features regularly receive awards at international and domestic festivals. He was born to the family of the acclaimed documentary filmmaker Efim Uchitel, who is known for his chronicles about Leningrad’s blockade during World War II. By following the footsteps of his father, he started his career as a documentary filmmaker and, among others, produced his documentary Rock (1987), which is still considered the most representative portrayal of the underground rock-n-roll culture in the late Soviet Union. Being versatile in genre and style, he equally excels in drama, teen comedy, biopic, action thriller, and period features. In all his films he poignantly explores mysterious aspects of human psychology with utmost realistic precision and dramatism. Continue reading “Heroes on the Edge: An Interview with Alexei Uchitel”

Russian Film Week ‘18: Sobibor

It was hard being a hero of the Soviet Motherland. Alexander Pechersky’s service during WWII was indeed truly heroic. The Jewish Red Army officer-conscript was instrumental leading the mass escape from the Sobibor concentration camp. In later years, Pechersky wanted to continue to fight against his National Socialist captors, but the Soviet Union denied him exit permission to testify against any accused war criminals, including the celebrated Eichmann trial. He was also dismissed from his position during the anti-Semitic “Rootless Cosmopolitan” campaign. It is worth keeping the frustrations of his later life in mind when viewers revisit the triumph of the uprising he sparked in Konstantin Khabenskiy’s Sobibor, Russia’s official foreign language Oscar submission, which screens as part of Russian Film Week in New York. Continue reading “Russian Film Week ‘18: Sobibor”

Director About New Film (in Russian)

Алексей Учитель и Авдотья Смирнова на открытии RFW-2018

Авдотья Смирнова: как написать речь для Льва Толстого

Режиссер о своем новом фильме «История одного назначения»

В Нью-Йорке началась Неделя российского кино (Russian Film Week, или RFW). В залах Школы визуальных искусств (SVA Theater) в манхэттенском районе Челси демонстрируются 14 новых российских фильмов разных жанров, а также лирическая комедия «Прогулка», которой исполнилось 15 лет. Continue reading “Director About New Film (in Russian)”

2018 Russian Film Week in New York

Cherry Orchard Festival (USA) and Rock Studio Films (Russia) are proud to present the 2018 Russian Film Week in New York – the showcase of independent and commercial films that represents the dynamic landscape of Russian filmmaking today. The event, which will take place in New York City December 8-14, 2018 at the SVA Theatre (333 W 23rd St, Manhattan), will include film screenings, discussions and Q&As with renowned Russian film directors, actors, and producers, as well as panels with journalists, and VIP receptions. Continue reading “2018 Russian Film Week in New York”