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18:09 | May 04 | 2012

We rely on our own resources

“Pacific Meridians” Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Only few federal districts in Russia can boast of having their own full-fledged international film festivals. In our Far Eastern Federal District, however, we do have such a festival - the “Pacific Meridians”. We talk to the Festival’s main inspirator and organizer Larisa Belobrova, a Merited Artist of Russia and, by the way, the spouse of Sergei Darkin, who until recently was the Governor of Primorsky Krai.

- It is great to have a film festival in the Far Eastern Federal District. What has it achieved to-date?
- This year the festival celebrates its 10th anniversary. It was founded by the Administration of Primorsky Krai. Partners and sponsors also participate in the festival. Its motto is “Films not for all, but for everybody”. The festival meets all the criteria for an international one – the competition, out-of-competition programs, presence of representatives of certain media. We do not disclose the financial details, but we make the festival with only small contribution from the state budget. During the year our group visits leading film festivals – Berlin, Cannes, Moscow, Hong-Kong, Pusan, Rotterdam, Toronto.
- Do you monitor what happens to your nominees, winners? Are there authors for whom your festival became a starting point in a successful career?
- Young directors are just starting. There are young people who send their works to Cannes and get selected – at this point for shorts programs. The most important thing is that they understand they can work here in the Far East - they don’t necessarily have to go somewhere to make a career. I am in general an advocate of de-centralization, of the country featuring many beautiful cities. One should hear of Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Krasnoyarsk, Sochi, Yakutsk… In the USA, for example, there is not only Washington, but also San-Francisco, Los Angeles. And no one wants to move to other cities from there. We want it to be the same here: you want to shoot films – you can do it, so that people can employ their talents and feel they are needed.
And there is another important thing. We invite all Yakut talents to the “Pacific Meridians”. Including children – we have a “Screen Tests” program which gives best boys and girls the possibility to go to the Pusan Film Festival in South Korea. We are interested in the culture of this country, the way they preserve it. And in addition we are neighbors!
- What is the festival’s format?
- We select the jury in various ways – sometimes there are only women on it, sometimes it looks like a film production team consisting of a producer, a director, a camera man etc. And the jury is international. These people give their master classes, meet with journalists and local dwellers.
We have following programs – the ecological one, the historical one which is devoted to Vladivostok, “The Cinema of Russia”. In parallel, various exhibitions take place – those of video art, photos, paintings. We put emphasis on screening films of a certain kind: for example, there have been events devoted to the Turkish cinema, best USSR cartoon movies, last year – the one devoted to “Lenfilm” movies.
In addition, well-known Russian actors visit the region’s distant territories and meet with dwellers of small towns and villages. We discuss it with them, and the movie stars willingly do so.
It is important to note that having started from scratch we relied only on our own resources and practically never invited “outsiders”. There are many talented people living in our territory, and they can do it all themselves.
One of the achievements is that foreign film companies from Japan, Republic of Korea, China have started to shoot their films in our territory. At this point they do it not often – once a year – but it happens.

Maria Khristoforova

“Pacific Meridians” is an international film festival of the Asia-Pacific Region. The Asia-Pacific Region consists of all counties that are washed by the Pacific Ocean and the South-East Asia countries including India. “Pacific Meridians” is first of all a full-length and short films competition that features the participation of both debutants and known cinema producers. A large out-of-competition program includes a review of the last year’s modern APR cinema, new Russian cinema, as well as retrospectives of world known film directors. More than 30 South-East Asia and Pacific Region countries take part in the festival.