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Summary of press conferences held on August 30

On August 30, press conferences dedicated to the films "Babel Carpenters" (main competition), "Zhanna" (Russian Premieres competition), "Maariya. The Ocean Angel" (main competition), "Eighteen Thousand Feet" (documentary competition) were hosted within the 44th Moscow International Film Festival.

In the "Babel Carpenters", a young Parisian priest, Gaston Froissard, decides to change his pastor cause for the life of a monk in the Chartreuse monastery. The diocese, for some secret reason, called him back and he immediately returned to serving his parish in Paris. But the few years he had spent in the monastery completely changed him as a person. The world around him seems to bounce across the reality and mystical visions, challenging the strength of his faith. These challenges will help him pass the main milestone of his life: his reunion with the supreme being.

The director Paul-Anthony Mille and the actor Milan Marsauche attended the press conference.

Paul-Anthony Mille: "This film is rather autobiographical. Although I'm not a priest, it's quite a personal story about a man who doesn't find a seat on the train we call life. I want to be honest: there was some pressure on us not to come to Russia now. But the fact that we are here shows the connection between France and Russia, which is very important for me. My work has been influenced not only by Tarkovsky, but also by the Russian cinema of the XXI century. Spirituality is important to Tarkovsky, maybe, it was he who discovered it on the screen. It's also important for us to keep talking about spirituality. I think he would have been sad and melancholic to see the world as spiritless as it is today".

Milan Marsauche: "Tarkovsky had a great influence on me as an actor. We discovered him at a young age, we watched all his films, and he greatly inspired us. The scenes in his films are very strong, sometimes even violent. But I was influenced not only by Tarkovsky, but the whole Russian culture and literature: Pushkin, Gogol, Bulgakov. All this has been reflected in our work".

The film "Zhanna" is based on a play by Yaroslava Pulinovich. Zhanna is a fifty-year-old self-made woman who faced a lot in her life in the 1990s: poverty, betrayal, death of the people she loved. Now she has a retail company, a hi-end apartment, and a handsome young lover Andrei. It seems that, except for youth, Zhanna has everything. But this paradise is ruined within a day: Andrei tells Zhanna he is leaving her for another girl, Katya, who is expecting a child from him.

The director Konstantin Statsky, the art director Evgeny Mironov, the general producer, actor Aleksander Novin, the producer Vadim Sokolovsky, the lead producer of the studio "Third Rome" Denis Baranov, the actors Yasmina Omerovich, Vladimir Komarov, Dmitry Garbuzov attended the press conference.

Konstantin Statsky: "As they say in theater, if there is a final, there is a show. It's the same in cinema. I watched "Zhanna" show for the first time about five years ago, and my impression of its final didn't let go for a couple of days. I kept thinking why the main character did what she did. And it seemed to me that it was worth making a film. We really spent a long time trying to put this drama puzzle together. It's no secret that a play language doesn't always fit for a film. But I hope we could do it".

Evgeny Mironov: "The play "Zhanna" by one of the top modern playwrights, Yaroslava Pulinovich, was shown at the Theater of Nations. Looking at its success, I thought it was a very cinematic story. It was not an easy job: we spent five years to make a screen adaptation of this story. The biggest challenge was the script. Yaroslava gave us a small draft, but we felt we needed to move away from the play. We finally found a screenwriter and invited Konstantin Statsky, who got interested in the project and, I believe, presented this story in quite an unexpected way".

Vadim Sokolovsky: "I feel that it turned out to be a fully spectator film. I watched the show and it's amazing. And when the script appeared, we at our IVI streaming service found it very exciting and interesting. The film has a terrific cast, the outstanding director, who established himself as a professional and someone who knows how to make films for the audience. And we supported this film and will show it on IVI".

Yasmina Omerovich: "I really wanted to work with Kostya. I had the best casting session in my life with him. Working with him was really cool, it was awesome".

Aleksander Novin: "Although I'm a producer, I couldn't wait to play this part because I had played it in the theater for nine years, and this is a role I wouldn't give to anyone else".

Vladimir Komarov: "I often got offers to play gangster parts because of my looks, but then we used to discuss with directors and understood it wouldn't work. When I came to Konstantin's casting session, I told him about this right away adding that I am actually a kind guy. He said: "Volodya, you just try and play it". And I tried it, and he approved me for the role".

Dmitry Garbuzov: "Sonya Krugova, who plays the smallest version of Zhanna, tried to break my skull in another film a year and a half before shooting this one. So, I decided to get back at her and leave the girl in trouble. Of course, I am kidding. And I say a big thank you to Kostya for this work".

In the film "Maariya. The Ocean Angel" a bunch of fishermen goes to work far out to the sea. They unexpectedly find a young man Malan on their boat, who has sneaked there to get to Australia illegally. One morning the fishermen see something mysterious in the sea water and pick it up, believing that it may be a God-sent fortune. But they are surprised to find a blow-up sex doll instead. They are disappointed, but with such a toy onboard they lose self-control. Their relationships, quite peaceful previously, start getting worse".

The director Aruna Jayawardana and the producer Indrajith Silva attended the press conference.

Aruna Jayawardana: "Three years ago I read the news that a bunch of fishermen found a sex doll in the ocean by chance. And then my imagination gave me a hint this was a very interesting plot for a film. Sri Lankan fishermen usually spend 1.5-2 months at sea, and the crews are made up of men only. And I started thinking how fishermen's behavior might change because of a sex doll, which occasionally turns up onboard, and how our lives in general might change because of such foreign things. You know that Sri Lanka is going through a severe economic crisis right now. I believe it has been caused by the fact that we have been long trying to bring things that are foreign to us into our economy. In this story, this sex doll is this external object that can ruin everything that came before".

Indrajith Silva: "I have been looking for a good script to finance for quite a long time and I found this one, which I liked a lot, and which may create a certain precedent in the local industry. This film is the first film in Sri Lanka filmed in the ocean. We don't have big film shooting pavilions and shoot in natural settings. So, we had the big challenge to solve: not only to find actors, but also the staff to help us make the film".

The main character of the film "Eighteen Thousand Feet" Ahmad, 25, from Syria, tries to send food and aid from the sky to his family and other people of the town Fuah, which is besieged by the Islamists. The director Mehdi Shahmohammadi, the cinematographer Mohammad Ebrahim Shahbazi and the editor Mohammad Agha Babaipour attended the press conference.

Mehdi Shahmohammadi: "When we decided to make the film, we first wanted to describe what was happening in the besieged cities. I went there, met the pilots, those who were directly involved in the delivery of humanitarian aid, and at some point, with one guy living in these cities. That was Ahmad. Half of his family stayed there, in the besieged city, and half of his family left with him. He was very sorry about the part of the family that remained there. Having heard his story in detail, we knew it would be the main plot of our film. We understand that such documentaries are very important for Syria's people, because they have to rebuild the country and ruined cities, literally, brick by brick".

Mohammad Agha Babaipour: "For eighteen months we were putting our souls in this film, and we almost became one family with the people who had to face the four-year siege. We had to travel and film a lot, but besides filming we also used many archived documents. It was an important, yet challenging experience".

Mohammad Ebrahim Shahbazi: "Living and filming at an altitude of eighteen thousand feet is an unusual experience. It's one thing when you shoot in normal conditions, but it's quite a different experience to shoot at high altitude. It's not easy for your body, it can be hard to breathe sometimes".