A Window onto Russia for New York Filmgoers

CEC ArtsLink presents a program of New Russian Cinema

This September, CEC ArtsLink presents a unique program of award-winning independent film from Russia, offering New Yorkers a chance to experience not only the best in new cinema, but, also, a window into today’s Russia.  And, as international attention turns to Russian-Georgian relations, such a program—including one film by a Georgian filmmaker living in Moscow—grows increasingly relevant. 

Four filmmakers, Roman ArtemyevBakur BakuradzeValeria Ivanovskaya, and Natalia Uglitskikh, will travel to the US as part of the Open World Cultural Leaders Program, funded by the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress.  The filmmakers, all of whom won awards for new narrative film directing at film festivals across Russia last year, will spend a week at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, before travelling to New York, where they will present their work in three public events. 

Sunday, September 7th, 2:00pm, Film Screening: Shultes
Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Avenue at 2nd Street, 
Free; Seating is limited; email chartblay@cecartslink.org to reserve tickets
Shultes (2008, 100 minutes, Russian with English subtitles) by Bakur Bakuradze, followed by Q&A with the filmmaker

Sunday, September 7th, 8:00pm, New Russian Cinema: a Conversation
Featuring all four filmmakers
Pravda Bar, 281 Lafayette Street
Entrance open, one drink minimum, dinner available
Filmmakers will show clips from their work and discuss the contemporary environment for independent film in Russia.

Tuesday, September 9th, 7:30pm, Film Screening: Three New Shorts 
Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street at Laight Street
Free; Seating is limited; email chartblay@cecartslink.org to reserve tickets
Tasya (2007, 17 minutes) by Roman Artemyev, Tag (2008, 13 minutes) by Natalia Uglitskikh, What is the Year…(2007, 26 minutes) by Valeria Ivanovskaya, 
followed by Q &A with the filmmakers

The series will open with the screening Shultes, a film by Bakur Bakuradze.  

Shultes presents a slow and building portrait of Lyosha, an ineffectual and uncommunicative Russian twenty-something, living with his sick mother and getting by as a pickpocket, when a chain of events forces him to confront his own emotions. 

Bakuradze is a Moscow-based filmmaker who was born and raised in Georgia.  
At the age of 24, Bakuradze left Tbilisi for Moscow, leaving behind an engineering degree to study at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography.  Shultes is his first feature film, following his success directing for documentary and television.  The film was a surprise hit and grand prize winner at one of Russia’s most respected national film festivals, the 2008 Kinotavr Festival in Sochi, and was screened as part of the Director’s Fortnight program at the 2008 Cannes Festival.

As a filmmaker, Bakuradze is especially concerned with capturing a believable world, as close to reality as possible.  Even outside of his documentary films, Bakuradze prefers to cast amateurs along with professional actors in his narrative work. 

In 1999, he directed a 15 minute short titled The Circular Motion of Vladimir Olegovich and Olga Yegorova, for the first time using non-actors, of which he recalls, “In that film I used people that were totally removed from professional acting, and as difficult as it was for me to work with them, I understood one thing—that the non-professional is vulnerable before the camera, and that is very important to me.”   

Bakuradze goes to similar lengths to catch an unrefined reality in his settings.  He says,
“I was contemplating shooting variations [Shultes] in Berlin or New York.  In most cases, it seems to me, I would show a city differently than it is usually shown in film.  I basically walk through the city and note things that usually don’t end up on the screen.  I’ll look at things like shacks, flea markets, people around a train station… it seems as though often, in films, a city is exaggerated and not exactly right.   It’s not fully realistic.”

As the recent conflict in South Ossetia brings Russia and the Caucasus back into the international spotlight, and talk of the Cold War resurfaces, CEC ArtsLink is particularly proud to concurrently present the work of this talented Georgian-Russian filmmaker, and give New York audiences the opportunity to experience Moscow through the eyes of Bakur Bakuradze.  This sentiment is very much in line with the mission of CEC ArtsLink, which acknowledges that, “the arts are a society’s most deliberate and complex means of communication, and that artists and arts administrators can help nations overcome long histories of reciprocal distrust, insularity and conflict.”

 

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The Russian filmmakers are in the United States for a two-week residency hosted by CEC ArtsLink in partnership withthe Telluride Film Festival. Their visit is part of a professional exchange program sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress. Open World is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress. Open World’s Cultural Leaders Program aims to forge better understanding between the United States and Russia by enabling emerging Russian leaders in the arts to experience America’s cultural and community life, and to work with their American counterparts.  Over 13,000 Open World participants have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states since the program's inception in 1999. Support for the cultural program is provided through partnership and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Open World Leadership Center funds the administrative portion of the program.

 

CEC ArtsLink, through a multi-faceted program of cultural exchange, serves to create and sustain constructive, mutually beneficial relationships in the arts between the United States and Central Europe, Russia and Eurasia.  Working with artists, arts organizations and community-based groups, CEC ArtsLink provides an essential structure for ongoing dialogue, contributing to a culture of openness and trust between nations. 

For more information, please contact Cassandra Hartblay, Project Coordinator, CEC ArtsLink, at (212) 643-1985 x17 or chartblay@cecartslink.org.  To learn more about opportunities for artists and arts organizations administered by CEC ArtsLink, please visit www.cecartslink.org.