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Summary of press conferences held on August 27

On August 27, 2022 press conferences dedicated to the films "The Voice Crying in the Wilderness" (main competition), "The Camel Way" (main competition), "The Holy Archipelago" (documentary competition) and the press conferences of the main competition jury, the jury of the Russian Premieres, and the documentary competition were hosted within the 44th Moscow International Film Festival.

In the "Voice Crying in the Wilderness" in the communist Romania, an Orthodox priest, a former political prisoner, becomes the only voice that can be heard in the oppressive silence. His sermons represent a spiritual revolution and an urge for the nation's awakening. The church leadership betrays him, and the atheist state sends him to prison. Father Gheorghe Calciu-Dumitreasa becomes a symbol of resistance to this ideology demon.

The director, the orthodox priest Ciprian Mega, the producer Laura Irina, and the post-production producer Siliviu Ciobanu attended the press conference.

Ciprian Mega: "I know that priests in Russia also make films on religious themes, but for Romania this an unusual experience. I have a theological background, and cinema is my passion. Both colleagues and filmmakers ask me how I manage to do both. I believe I am promoting truth and freedom, so for me these two activities are intertwined. I think what they have in common is the commitment to truth, to Jesus Christ. This film was made very quickly. I wrote the script in July 2021, and then we shot it right away. The film was conceived and made during the pandemic, when people, their souls were being experimented on, our freedoms were undermined. So, the message of the film is that we must fight for our freedom".

Laura Irina: "Ciprian is my spouse, so we worked as a strong team. We shot our previous film in the same way. The important thing is that we managed to make the film exactly as we conceived it, even though we didn't have much time. It is an independent film, we didn't have any government support, and I'm sure it made our film better".

The plot of "The Camel Way" tells us about a shoemaker living in a small provincial town, he repairs boots and writes memoirs about his distant childhood, wishing to leave them for his son. Just before the New Year he learns of a magic sea. The shoemaker wants to see this wonderful place, but the cost is very high, and he does not have that many shoes to repair to make enough money. He finds a solution promising to make his dream come true...

The director, scriptwriter Vitaly Suslin, the producer Larisa Oleynik, the actor playing the main part Aleksey Karnaushkin attended the press conference.

Vitaly Suslin:"I am very fond of all the authors and their works concerning the little man, especially "The Overcoat". But I can't say that I have a goal to talk about the little man. I don't know if there are important people at all. I believe every person is very small on the space scale, but at the same time this soul is a cosmic particle. I never set out to make a film on a particular subject. I just tell stories that I am mostly concerned about. I've been offered scripts with good financing, but I can't shoot them because I don't have this feeling to do it. Each film is an attempt to understand something about myself".

Aleksey Karnaushkin: "If Vitaly Suslin hadn't appeared in my life, my cinema career probably wouldn't have worked out, he saw something in me that others didn't. I liked the film script very much from the start and I also liked the main character. I played a man who is "on his own wave". He's perfectly normal, perfectly adequate in life. But here he is like this, a bit like a child. He is more naive than his son, such a poet inside".

Larisa Oleynik: "Each Vitaly Suslin's film, in an incomprehensible way, evolves into cinema stories that are very touching and attract so much it is impossible to stop watching them".

"The Holy Archipelago" presents a large-scale account of the life of the Solovetsky Monastery.
What is the spiritual life of man? What is a religious tradition and how is it reflected in the modern world? How does faith affect people's lives? The Solovetsky Islands are a key spot in Russia's holy geography. These places are marked by spiritual, historical and cultural events that had taken place there and left a deep trace in our history and national memory. Located on the far outskirts of Russia, the archipelago by the will of fate has become one of the most powerful symbols of the Russian spirit. The film touches deeper meanings of existence, faith, hope, and love.

The director Sergey Debizhev, the producers Natalia Debizheva and Vitaly Baranov, the score author Vyacheslav Butusov attended the press conference.

Sergey Debizhev: "There are certain spiritual centers like in a clock mechanism, where there are gems around which everything else revolves. There are a few such key spots in our country, and Solovki is the most remote, the most closed and the strongest spiritual center, and this made it a center of attraction. Some films have been made about it, but there hasn't been such a large-scale immersive project yet. We filmed for two years. With the blessing of Lord Porfiry, the abbot of Solovetsky Monastery. It was not easy to become part of this slow-paced, quiet, focused, devotional life, but gradually, step by step, the monks began to understand how delicate our approach was, how profoundly we began to shoot".

Vitaly Baranov: "Having traveled around the world a lot, I realized that you don't feel energy and grace very often, like you do on the Solovki Islands. It's a place where you truly feel and experience this feeling. And you just can't ignore this place".

Natalia Debizheva: "First we are going to show the film at various festivals, and then release it in broad distribution. But it's hard to promote documentary films, and cinemas are not willing to take them. Now we will have an experience with two films, and we will show them to the audience. So, we expect that "The Holy Archipelago" will be shown all over Russia for sure".

Vyachesla Butusov: "I don't have that big experience of writing film scores. In Aleksei Balabanov's works they used finished music, and he included it as part of the script. In this case, the music was created specifically for the script, for the shots that had already been filmed. Sergey had a clear idea of what the mood should be. We first discussed each scene and then I showed him a version, and he chose. As music goes with the picture almost all the time, we decided to make three musical dimensions with small differences in the mood. I focused on academic music, religious music, hymns of the past, which are well-known and canonic. Some of the pieces sound like revisions, but also there are original parts. It is a very valuable experience for me. First, because this topic is of utmost importance for me: I just adore monks and these monasteries".

The producer, marketing expert and media industry specialist Tandy Davids from South Africa, the Turkish and Russian cameraman and director Hayk Kirakosyan, the Iranian filmmaker Rasoul Sadrameli, the Russian director Aleksandr Kravchuk, and the chair of the jury, the People's Artist of Russia, the art director of the State Theater of Nations Yevgeny Mironov attended the press conference of the main competition jury.

Rasoul Sadrameli:"I was at this film festival in 2020 and won a prize, and now I am very happy to be invited to come here a second time. I am sure that all filmmakers and creative people throughout history have been one big family, which, stepping away from politics, has always tried to raise the world's cultural level and develop culture. The Moscow Film Festival is one of the senior members of this film family. This is my eighth experience as a jury member at various film festivals, and I hope we will choose really good films".

Hayk Kirakosyan: "I used to work in different countries, but no matter where I was, no matter what crew I was working with, I felt like I was home. Filmmakers in all countries are very close. You come to a shooting like you come home, and it's very unifying. My ancestors came from Western Armenia, today's Turkey. When I visited this place, I partly returned to my roots. Turkey stands at the crossing of great powers from all sides, it is a country between Europe and Asia. There is a concern about the future, what will happen to Russia, what will happen to other countries. But I believe that filmmakers, like all artists, can anticipate and show the light that will pass through these clouds. I believe that thanks to artists in general we can talk about the most important values that unite everyone. And we should strive to show these values, to share them".

Andrey Kravchuk: "The Moscow Film Festival has always been important to me. I and my other colleagues continue making films for cinema distribution, even though people do not visit cinemas often in summer. I want to believe that it will change in autumn. Probably, Russian films for mass audience have not always been successful in international distribution, but we have always been successful in festivals. Also, it may happen that not all international festivals will be screening Russian films for a while, which is a true shame. But there are festivals in Asia, in the East, and I think there are some prospects there. The main thing for us is to keep working, there are good authors and films that hopefully will get good feedback from the audience".

Tandy Davids: "This is my first time in Moscow, in Russia, and the festival gives me the opportunity to see films that you wouldn't normally see because of limited distribution. For the recent three years, I have been closely keeping track of the Russian cinema, because I was one of the jury members of the BRICS. Before that, I had never seen a Russian film about World War II. For me it was mostly Western perspectives. And it was interesting for me to see Russian films on this topic, because it helped me see who we are in a new way".

Yevgeny Mironov: "With such great predecessors, we have a big responsibility. We have already met the jury members, and I understand that everyone is a professional in their field, on one hand. On the other hand, when I'm watching a good film, I forget for how many years I have been working in cinema, I don't look at costumes, editing and music, because these films reach straight to my heart. We'll see a lot of films, and to do that you have to be a true spectator, to get a feel for cinema".
The director Ivan Tverdovsky, the producer Petr Anurov, the jury chair, director Sergey Ursuliak attended the press conference of the jury of the new Russian Premieres competition.

Ivan I. Tverdovsky: "When I was younger, I always agreed to be in the jury, and then I found out it was very hard to spend the whole day watching films in a room. But it pays off when you see a film that winds you up, gives you a fresh breath that gets under your skin. And I expect there will be a film in the competition that will do it to us. Besides, there's a big loss in our industry – a major national festival is gone, and nothing replaced it yet. And the introduction of such a competition at the MIFF seems to me a timely endeavor. Many major world festivals have a national competition. We have been waiting to have such a program at the Moscow Film Festival for a long time".

Petr Anurov: "I think that the prospects for Russian cinema are challenging. There are some countries, even continents, that are ready, or so they are saying, to work with Russian films, Russian producers, Russian directors. And we should use it if a project needs to be co-produced. But for now, I can only hope that sooner or later we will fully come back to the international market. More so because the recent years have been successful. Of course, it is a bit sad that a lot of things have now been suspended. First, it is sad for film creators, who have gained certain reputation or have just started to do it".

Sergey Ursuliak: "If there are decent films in the competition, at least one or two, that would already be enough of a message to me. I have been to many festivals as a jury member, and I understood that there is no need to expect anything. So, if I like something decent, vivid, touching and human, it will be great. That's why I agreed to be a member of the jury, because there is no better spectator than myself".

The Kazakh director Vladimir Tyulkin, the Russian documentary filmmaker Natalia Guguyeva and the jury chair, the Malaysian director U-Wei Bin Haji Saari attended the press conference of the documentary competition jury.

Natalia Guguyeva: "Two days ago some of my colleagues asked for a memo from Channel One about what must be in a film to have it shown in prime time, and I realized that there was no such memo anymore because of the blurred boundaries. We don't even have a clear timeline. I think it just started with auteur documentaries that started to be shown on the channel. In the beginning it was a rare thing for the channel, but now there are more and more of them. It seems to me that for a film to get to a multimillion audience platform it is necessary that along with professional things related to imagery, drama composition, camerawork, directing, there must be a relevant topic, a universal or a social one, which impacts many people".

U-Wei Bin Haji Saari: "This is my first time in Moscow, and I am very happy to be in a cinematic setting among film personalities. As chairman, I am very happy to work with Natalia and Vladimir. I am indeed very interested in watching films, but I am not much of a decision-maker. So, I hope to work with Natalia and Vladimir to help determine the best film. I hope that we can get something new out of the films we will see".