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Summary of press conferences held on August 25

On August 25, press conferences dedicated to the films “Land of Legends” (opening film), “The Same Person” (Russian Premieres competition), “Fellini and the Shadow” (documentary competition) were hosted within the 44th Moscow International Film Festival.

The opening film “Land of Legends” is an adaptation of the eponymic novel by Aleksey Ivanov. The Russian prince Mikhail and the young Tiche are the children of different peoples, worlds and gods, and it seems love between the young warrior and the lamia-witch cannot happen, but it goes beyond every taboo unleashing the wheel of fate. Now the future of his “parma”, the ancient harsh land rich with the magic power of blood-thirsty pagan gods, depends only on Mikhail. It is a place of clashes of heroes and spirits, princes and sorcerers, Voguls and Muscovites. Here, losing your life is less painful than making a choice among your cause, trust to your brethren, and the love to the only woman in your life.

The director Anton Megerdichev, the lead actress Elena Yerbakova, producers Igor Tolstunov and Daria Lavrova attended the press conference.

Anton Megerdichev: “This was the first time I was shooting something like this, and we studied the subject matter of the film together with the producers, we made mistakes, corrected them, and progressed to reach the result together. We wanted to make everything look true in the screen, without gloss, but giving the feeling that it was really like that back there, although no one has any idea exactly how it was indeed. We were not afraid to shoot a lot, we did not switch off the camera most of the time. Already in the editing process we felt this cinematic language we needed, and our key screening task was exactly about reaching this truth”.

Daria Lavrova: “Parma has a similar meaning with taiga, which they call a particular forest type in the Urals, so the “heart of parma” is the heart of this region. Our project had an incredible scale, so challenges happened almost every day. But the biggest of the challenges was the weather. We were shooting in the city of Perm covered with snow and then we moved to a pavilion that was built in the suburbs of Moscow where there was no snow at all. But we managed somehow. It was a huge responsibility for us. Alexey Ivanov's book is incredibly deep, so we feel the film should be the same. I hope we did it. Alexey Ivanov has already seen the film, and the biggest reward for me was his impressions, which exceeded all my expectations. He said that the movie turned out to be larger in scale and more encompassing in its perception than the novel. The novel had more radical semantic assessments, while we tried to make a product with many layers”.

Elena Yerbakova: “This is my first cinema experience, I am theater actress and I was really anxious. “The Land of Legends” became the new world for me. After the shooting I started a new life and became far more mature”.

Igor Tolstunov: “The Land of Legends” should become a lifesaver for cinemas and for us, as three production companies worked on the film, and each of them made a significant contribution. We have public money from the Cinema Foundation in our budget, but its share is just over a third of the budget. The rest is our own funds. So, we expect that cinemas will be satisfied and so will we too. We are optimistic because cinemas have already seen the film and they are optimistic too”.

“The Same Person” inspired by Dmitry Danilov’s play “Witness Evidence” is taking part in the new Russian Premieres competition program.

As the plot of the film goes, Sasha Ivanov is an ordinary man who took his own life: one gloomy day he fell out of the window of an apartment block. The unnamed protagonist is an ordinary detective who investigates the case. When he uncovers the circumstances surrounding Sasha's death, he has to interrogate his neighbors, colleagues, an ex-girlfriend, and other people who knew the guy. To his surprise, the detective discovers that each witness describes Sasha differently...

The lead actor Semyon Serzin and the producer Natalia Mokritskaya attended the press conference.

Semyon Serzin: “We had a long discussion with the cameraman about the visual component of the film, because in this rather brief story you need a clear concept. I was considering a man who doesn't exist and that's how the idea of not to use colors came up. Any black and white image, a photo or a video, is associated with something that no longer exists. We found the only camera that shoots in b&w only with such quality that we wouldn't wish to make a color film after all”.

Natalia Mokritskaya: “This film was born from a tandem of Semyon Serzin and the wonderful Dmitry Danilov, one of the best writers in our country today. They managed to make a brilliant film, "A Man from Podolsk", and, when last year’s reality began and we had neither money nor hope, we received a grant from the mayor of Moscow to shoot the film. That was the first money and the Cinema Foundation added its contribution for the distribution of “A Man from Podolsk”. This is how we started the shooting period of "The Same Person" without any initial state support. The shooting was very fast. The actors of the film were Semyon's friends. The shooting was rather cheap. Luckily, the Ministry of Culture has recently given us money for post-production, so we can pay off debts, and pay the artist, the operator, and the director”.

“Fellini and the Shadow” is part of the documentary competition. In this work, the director from another country is collecting the material for a film about Federico Fellini and his dreams. The stages of this process take the director to places that are meaningful for Fellini. Shots from his films, photographs and “off-stage” scenes present the filmmaker in an unusual way. The film also features animated images created by the master himself. This film is a story of an endless speculation about the symbols that characterize Fellini's enigmatic work.

The director Catherine McGilvray and the producer Gianfranco Angelucci attended the press conference on “Fellini and the Shadow” in an online mode.

Catherine McGilvray: “We wanted to present a side of Fellini’s life that has not yet been explored. It is the link between his creative work and the Jungian notion of introspection, which Fellini came to know thanks to the psychoanalyst Ernst Bernhard, with whom many Italian post-war creators worked. Their meeting was a milestone both for Fellini and Bernhardt because they believed it was critical to pay attention and give meaning to the images that grow within a person and should be interpreted. The dream book which Fellini kept for 30 years was of great help for our crew. I didn’t set a goal to make a film for narrow experts. I wanted it to be interesting for different audiences, so we introduced a narrative where a foreign director talks to different people in search of material. In addition, the film is enriched with animation so that spectators without deep understanding of Jungian psychoanalysts’ work could feel this way of psychoanalysis through visual images and imagine this confrontation, interaction, and, sometimes, struggle between dark and brightness, which unfolded in the mind of the great filmmaker”.

Gianfranco Angelucci: “The film is not academic, it is light, yet it is indeed the first cinematic representation of an unconscious mind of a director. For Fellini, the world of images and what he saw in his dreams was absolutely equal to the day world, to the world of the real. This is what we wanted to emphasize in our film”.