The question has often been asked – about the position of the Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF) in the world of festivals. In the (excellent) filmneweurope site an interview with the programme director Kirill Razalogov clarifies the situation and the ambition. The programme director presides this year over a programme “that can only be described as vast in both the number of films and its diversity. Over 400 films are being screened at this year’s festival from every category of the audiovisual spectrum. Razlogov is one of Russia’s leading film critics and cultural figures”, and he puts it like this:
The world’s top festivals are Cannes, Venice and Berlin. In the next tier are Moscow, Karlovy Vary, Locarno, San Sebastian and Montreal. After that after that come all the other big A category festivals in a third tier. So Moscow competes for films with the festivals in the second tier. If a film has a chance to go to a tier one festival we lose if Moscow is competing for a film against a third tier festival we win. Russia had over one billion USD at the box office last year. It has made a difference for us in attracting Hollywood blockbusters but not for art house films. There is almost no market for art house films in Russia. There is a market for European films in Russia, it’s not very large but there is a market. There are two French films in the competition and a remake of a Russian film. We are on the right way now with Moscow Festival. What we have to look at very carefully now is how to continue to establish a better reputation. I think we can take on Berlin Festival in future and maybe move into the third slot. Maybe not in my lifetime – but we should shoot for this goal.
Photo from “Hell and Back Again” by Danfung Dennis, shown in documentary competition 2011.