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Summary of press conferences held on August 29

On August 29, press conferences dedicated to the films "Kath" (Russian Premieres competition), "A Hope" (main competition), "The Instinct" (main competition), "Rashomon Hong Kong" (documentary competition), "Quartet" (documentary competition) were hosted within the 44th Moscow International Film Festival.

The plot of the film "Kath" is focused on a young woman providing escort services. She has recently become a mother, the child has no father, and Kath is ready to do anything for her first child. She will face a serious inner conflict and make an important moral choice between her maternal instinct and the business that brought her a good money.

The director Boris Akopov, the actress Anastasiya Kuvshinova, the cinematographer Petr Buslov attended the press conference.

Boris Akopov: "I used to work with the topic of ballet and one of my first works at VGIK was dedicated to it, so it eventually evolved into a full-length film. It's not that through an escort woman I intended to show a snapshot of society, elites from the beginning – this came later. But I've always said that characters like this, who have to service various powerful people, "cut the fabric" of the modern social world. For me this film is largely about this good and evil ambiguity. A pimp is supposed to be a negative figure, but I wanted to show him from a different side. Powerful people, who are supposed to protect us, are on the contrary considered good people. I wanted to play with good and evil and mix these stereotypes".

Anastasiya Kuvshinova: "The character I play takes advantage of her charm and weakness, and when it turns out she is kicked for this, hatred is born. It is unpleasant to pay back debts, and a person creates such situations to feel negative emotions".

The main character of "A Hope" is 35-year-old Umut, an actor dreaming of a cinema career. Asiye, 43, is the director in their private theater company. After his father died, Umut was sent to live with his uncle in a bursa because his mother married a man with three children. For twenty years Umut had had no contact with her until he was told that she was seriously ill and came to the bursa. Now he will have to take care of her. At the same time, Umut learns of Asiye's pregnancy. This situation turns his whole life upside down. The press conference was attended by the director Ümit Köreken.

Ümit Köreken: "I was deeply influenced by Chekhov's plays when I was 13, and Russian literature has been an essential part of my life ever since. "A Hope" is my second full-length film. While I was writing the script, I seeked inspiration from the play "The Seagull". The film, like this Chekhov's play, is built on the narrative of a lack of love between mother and son. I have been studying psychology and psychotherapy methods for four years, and there the issue of child/parent relationships is considered very important. My takeaway from this is that no matter what problems there are between a mother and a child, there is always hope for the best. Of course, I also included some fragments of my personal story because the question of relationships with parents is quite relevant for everyone".

In "The Instinct", a crippled beggar Lyangra, who lives in a train station, regularly visits the house of Kaala, a drug dealer, to buy weed from him. Kaala's wife Sohagi starts an affair with him. When her husband learns about it, he beats the unfaithful woman, and she runs away from him to Lyangra. They go together to his hometown. But there Sohagi learns that her lover has been convicted of murder and is hiding. Sohagi is frightened and decides to come back to her husband.

The director Juboraj Shamim and the producer Mohammad Nuruzzaman attended the press conference.

Juboraj Shamim: "This is my first full-length film. I met the people living in the train station, I talked to them a lot, and I liked them more and more. At some point, I realized I could make a film about them, because their story was interesting to tell. A director, a film creator is a much like a writer, but the latter has a pen and paper, and I had a camera. I took it and decided I was going to make a film. I believed that with my experience in video shooting I could make it, and it was a very interesting experience for me. I really enjoyed doing it because I selected locations and people for my story myself".

Mohammad Nuruzzaman: "Juboraj and I have been working together for 12 years, and when I heard his idea, I decided to support him with money and equipment, because such a story did not seem a commercially promising film. It was unlikely we could find a producer for the film, so we came up with an unusual way of financing: we decided to offer people a share in the profits of the film. Juboraj published a social media post, described the story, and quite a few people responded to his message – that's how we ended up making the film".

"Rashomon Hong Kong" is a love story during the turmoil in Hong Kong in 2019. A city at war with itself. Social and political conflicts find a way to the lives of all citizens. Families break up, trust is challenged, long-standing relationships cannot succumb to the gradual destruction of the city, which used to be iconic, but is tearing itself apart.

The director Malcolm Clarke and the producer Yi Han attended the press conference in an online mode.

Malcolm Clarke: "We specifically wanted to make a documentary, and as soon as we heard about the protests in the streets of Hong Kong, we left our house in Shanghai and wanted to be one of the first groups to shoot material about these unprecedented events. We started interviewing people and realized that people on the streets were afraid to talk on record. They were willing to tell the story, but not with the camera on. But we weren't doing a radio show and needed a picture. We were witnessing global news unfold in front of us, but at the same time we saw fear, paranoia and misinformation, and we couldn't take sides in this situation. So, the producers and I decided to give a true account of the stories we were told on streets, but with actors. Of course, I was anxious, because I try to avoid a mixture of fiction and documentary, as it might confuse the audience. But there was no other way. It was a big challenge for us because we had to find actors, but they were just as scared as the people on the streets, and in terms of funding there was a risky that few people would want to finance such a film. We had to transform real events into a script, while we kept shooting on streets to incorporate actual events. Finally, we selected actors who were willing to risk their careers despite the fear of being blacklisted. Regardless of whether you like the way they played or not, they are brave people. Some of the names in the credits are fake as many felt there was no point in risking their real names".

Yi Han: "I hope that we will be able to show this film in China and people will want to watch it, but we have to choose the right moment to do it".

The film "Quartet" tells the story of how in Donetsk, in a terrible and destructive atmosphere of war, the violin teacher Larisa raises a children's quartet. Music lessons help the kids escape the persisting horror. Larisa inspires them with her own example of strength and courage, thoroughly hiding her personal family tragedy. Soon the quartet will fall, and the children will go their separate ways. Before that, one last performance together in Moscow is left for them, and there they will have one of the many battles with darkness, horror, and death".

The director Nikita Stashkevich and the cinematographer Daniil Kononov attended the press conference.

Nikita Stashkevich: "I saw my characters the last time they came to Moscow. At that time, we could get acquainted with Larisa Yurievna and find her phone number. We contacted her, I described the idea, which came up quite quickly, and we planned the shooting. We had two trips, to Donetsk and Yeysk. Also, we, certainly, filmed in Moscow. We had 40 shifts in total. For documentaries it is always important to work with characters, especially children, so that they would stop being distracted by the camera. But here all the characters, Larisa, the children, and their parents, were very open and eager to make contact".

Daniil Kononov: "At the first meeting with the characters, I came with a camera so they would get used to it. I tried to minimize personal interaction so that they would treat me as a film set and forget about the camera. Moreover, we didn't have any time to prepare, we just came to a location and started shooting".