Adjusting itself to a new reality, the Arctic countries’ film festival won’t leave its Arkhangelsk audience without a good film
Arkhangelsk-Based Arctic Open Film Festival will have to miss out on its competition programme and sequential number 4, but will be hosting playwright Ivan Vyrypaev
As festival director Tamara Statikova told Region 29, this year’s Arctic Open will span December 3 to 6 and will be held in a “light” version.
There’s one more reason for the choice of the light version, alongside with the root cause, the COVID-19 pandemic – underfunding. Arctic Open 2020, a project run by Pomor Culture Fund Bereginya, received no funding form the presidential grant programme and is therefore unable to arrange a competition program with three categories and invite the jury. But, this doesn’t mean the festival will skip this year: for the first time over its existence Arctic Open has received co-financing from Arkhangelsk Ministry of Culture, a sum of approximately three million rubles.
“Arctic Open is a film festival registered with the RF Ministry of Culture,” noted Tamara Statikova. “But since we can’t afford a competition programme and the jury, this year’s Arctic countries’ festival may not go under its sequential number four. We are looking forward to year 2021 when we’d be able to run full scale, while we’ll be screening only the films of our non-competition program. We want our festival to be in line with international standards and will do our best to live up to expectations of our beloved smart northern audiences.
Despite the fact that the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the film industry, festivals continue to show new films. As we were told by Tamara Statikova, the young Arctic film festival will have to be literally fighting for films because schedules had been moved for later and producers will be looking mostly at bigger festivals. Still, the Arctic Open’s organizers are planning to have 3 to 5 film premiers.
Also, the festival’s non-competition programme is expected to include several films about poet Joseph Brodsky as a tribute to his anniversary, one being The Children of Joseph, a documentary by journalist Ekaterina Gordeeva, who is invited to participate, which was filmed back in 2015 for Channel One but did premiere until May 24, 2020, the day of Brodsky 's 80th birthday, on youtube channel #ещёнепознер. A highlight of this year’s unnumbered festival is a special program "Cinema + Theater", which has become possible thanks to the support from the Union of Theatre Professionals’ Arkhangelsk Office and has been prompted by a massive transition of culture to the online format.
The program will be headlined by iconic film director and playwright Ivan Vyrypaev. Earlier in 2020, Vyrypaev teamed up with Okko online cinema for the Okko Theater project where he acted as its chief producer. Vyrypaev talked about moving the performative arts online even before the online format became mainstream as the pandemic spread. But, unlike conventional filming of a theatrical performance, project led by Vyrypaev aims at a full-fledged, autonomous product on the verge of cinema and theater, a so-called film-play. The first in a series of such products, The Entertainment, came out past spring.
Vyrypaev, who is known for such plays as The Intoxicated, The Valentine’s Day, Dehli Dance, The Iranian Conference and films Euphoria, Oxygen, and Salvation, has confirmed his participation. He’ll be hosting the festival’s workshop "Theater Online and Offline", intended for stage and film directors, and will also contribute by the premiere of his musical, The World of Beautiful Butterflies, and some of his films, including a recent one. Vyrypaev also promised to see The Intoxicated staged by Arkhangelsk Youth Theater.
This years’ festival features some outreach events. In cooperation with Northern (Arctic) Federal University and the regional office of the All-Russian Association of the Blind, Arctic Open will be hosting a roundtable dedicated to the challenging issue of the lack of training needed for providing films with audio descriptions.
What led the organizers to raise the topic of audio description is the fact that this region has only two specialists in this field. Being a socially-oriented film festival, Arctic Open works towards a wider access to films for people with impaired vision and hearing by maintaining a dedicated film screening venue. The roundtable will be contributed by experts based in Moscow, Murmansk and Nizhny Novgoro, and is scheduled for October.
In the event the epidemiological situation should aggravate and the restrictions should continue, the festival will inevitably move online completely.