13rd Vladivostok International Film Festival of Asian-Pacific Countries
Russia, September 12 - September 18 2015
The Pacific Meridian Film Festival, located at Vladivostok, literally showcases a cross-section of the world’s films, accepting entries from countries around the Pacific Ocean and of South-East Asia, including India.
The diverse program of the thirteenth edition, which took place from 12–18 September, was shown at the recently restored Cinema “Ocean” – literally at the ocean front – an open-air theatre and the Ussuri Cinema, with side events taking place at the Arka Art Gallery and the Azimut Hotel. The program pulled impressive crowds, and even the 10 a.m. screenings were attended well, and not just by juries and film professionals.
Among the international guests were Korean film director Kim Ki-Duk who, during his workshop, broke out in a traditional Korean song, as he has done before at festivals. Also present was Hollywood actress Julia Ormond, who was met by the audience. The festival showed retrospectives of Sergei Eisenstein, of the famous Russian animator Konstantin Bronzit and of Russian film director Karen Shakhnazarov. Workshops were led by Russian filmmaker and international jury chairman Vadim Abdrashitov, French filmmaker Régis Wargnier (also member of the international jury) and producer/director Sergei Selianov. There were lectures by the Russian film critic Inna Kushnareva on Jia Zhangke as neo-realist and film critic, and by documentary filmmaker Natalia Lukinykh on the national and traditional art trends in the South-east Asian animation industry.
Other highlights in the program included the presentation of the Asian Film Academy network, showing films by young Asian talents during an 18-day filmmaking workshop that took place in Busan. And, of course, round table discussions, where film critics from Russia, France, the Netherlands, Thailand and Germany talked about the role and the future of the film critic in world ruled by social media.
The film program showed great diversity, from the opening film Mountains May Depart (Shan he gu ren ) by Jia Zhangke (China), and the competition program of ten films consisting of works from Venezuela, Mexico, Serbia/Russia, Japan/USA, Korea, Vietnam, India, Philippines and Sri Lanka, to the closing films (the winner Brother Dejan [Brat Deian] by Bakur Bakuradze and the French/Georgian co-production Winter Song [Chant d’Hiver] by Otar Ioseliani). The short film competition comprising nine films covered six countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Canada.
The Audience Award went to The Norseman (Norveg, dir. Alyona Zvantsova). The Best Asian Film, chosen by the NETPAC jury, was Shadow Behind the Moon (Anino sa likod ng buwan) by the Filipino director June Robles Lana, and the annual Yul Brynner Award, presented by the always impeccable Vladivostok-born Rock Brynner to the most promising young actor, went to the eight-year-old Varvara Shablakova from Pioneer Heroes (Pionery-geroi) by Natalia Kudryashova.
The international jury awarded the Sea Shell for Best Feature to Brother Dejan, the Serbian-Russian film by Bakur Bakruadze, and the award for Best Short Film to The Return of Erkin (Vozvrashchenie Erkina) by the young Maria Guskova. The Special Jury Award was awarded to Embrace of the Serpent (El abrazo de la serpiente) from Colombian director Ciro Guerro, and Best Actor and Best Actress (both receiving a starfish-shaped prize) were given to the impressive Kristyan Ferrer, playing alongside Tim Roth in the Mexican film 600 Miles (600 Millas) by Gabriel Ripstein, and Lj Reyes from Shadow Behind the Moon. This film also took the FIPRESCI Award. The FIPRESCI Jury also awarded The Tide Keeper by New Zealand director Alyx Duncan as Best Short Film. (Nicole Santé, edited by Birgit Beumers)
Vladivostok International Film Festival of Asian-Pacific Countries: