8th Perm Flahertiana - International Documentary Film Festival
Russia, September 5 - September 11 2008
Perm, one of the largest cities in Russia, situated on the banks of the Kama river near the Ural mountains, is also one of the Russian centers of culture. In recent years, due to the Flahertiana International festival of documentary film, the city has become one of the most famous centers of Russian documentary. The 8th edition of the festival took place in two locations in the city center; the old cinema, Triumf, and the newer Premier cinema complex. The regional producers and organizers, Noviy Kurs Film Studio, with the help of the Perm Krai Government, founded the bi-annual festival in 1995, but it has been an annual event since 2006.
The fact that it was named after Robert Flaherty, the great story teller and traveler, also called “The Father of Documentary Cinematography”, and not after some of the other giants of the Russian documentary tradition (for example Dziga Vertov), is quite significant. On the one hand, it has always been open to the world and, on the second hand, it exposes the sub-genre of documentaries, where the authors almost literarily live with the subject or theme and are focused on prolonged observations of the characters. The main task of the directors should therefore be achieving the verism and naturalness of a documentary character’s behavior in front of cinema, with as little interference and author’s interventions as possible — although the dramatic organization of the material is not forbidden, of course. Despite the seemingly purist basis, which could lead mainly to the anthropological film studies, the thematic and creative span of the presented works were unusually broad and the awards, the Golden and Silver Nanooks that were handed to the best films, exposed quite heterogeneous aesthetical approaches to the subjects.
The seminars and workshops, as well as the film projections, attracted mostly a younger public, which, judging also from the Q&A with the authors after the regular projections, seemed to be deeply knowledgeable about documentaries and genuinely interested in the presented works and their authors. This also ensures that the festival surely has a great future, since it is already one of the main events in this field. (Gorazd Trusnovec)