< The 7th International Film Festival ARCTIC OPEN has announced its shortlist>

Its Official Selection has 58 films.

The films of the 7th ARCTIC OPEN IFF Official Selection will be screened in Arkhangelsk, Severodvinsk, Novodvinsk, Nyandoma, and Severoonezhsk between December 7 and 10. The fest has recently announced its 58 shortlisted films from 17 countries, of which 11 are feature-length films, 23 documentaries, and 24 are shorts.

The Official Selection features films made in Russia and co-produced with European countries (France, Latvia, Poland), as well as with Azerbaijan, Iran, USA, Singapore, Canada, Netherlands, among others.

Many of this year’s films are united by the theme of Port Town Stories, aptly reflected in the name of ARCTIC OPEN KinoPort, a socio-cultural project supported by the RF Ministry of Culture and the Presidential Fund for Cultural Initiatives.

The name of KinoPort is close and understandable to all residents of Arkhangelsk: it conjures up the image of a pier, associated with parting and homecoming, of sea as is a force of nature, and of islands as a different space. The word ‘port’ is consonant with ‘portal’, the latter connecting the past with the present and future. The theme of sea and port is portrayed in our documentary program and two feature films – Boris Khlebnikov’s Snegir (16+) by and Dinara Drukarova’s Grand Marin (18+).

The themes of this year’s documentaries are three – “The Arctic… Until Called For” (films about those who live or work in high latitudes); “Port Town Stories”; and “The Way I See the World” (biographical portraits of northerners. This category has most films).

“Another theme that can be traced in many of the films of this year’s selection is parents and children. The dialogue of generations about eternal values and how they come important, sometimes painful, touching, even funny to them. The dialogue that can change the lives of those we care about, the talk we all want to start but can’t find the words to start,” says Angelika Dolinina, ARCTIC OPEN IFF Programmer.

“Our selection of documentary films features a new category, “Other Worlds”, with stories of people with special needs. Unlike Arctic Open Barrierless, which has been our traditional venue screening films with sign interpretation and audio description, Other Worlds is meant to immerse the viewer in the world of people with special needs. It has some really strong films,” says Angelika Dolinina.

Thematic categories have been established also within documentaries – Reflection, Portal to Future, Threads of Fate, Immigrant’s Diary, Parents and Children. The documentary program has most films made abroad in 11 countries (Russia, France, Singapore, Iran, China, Portugal, Latvia, Switzerland, USA, Netherlands, UK).

This year’s feature-length films have a special program called Debut with Maria Loyter’s Movie Girls (18+) and Alex Nikto’s Anna & Vano. Bath & Wine (16+), the latter holding the Best Documentary Award from ARCTIC OPEN 2017, where it screened as eponymous short film. The Debut program features also Latvia’s Ronalds Mezmacs’s Breathing Underwater.

Three of the films on Arctic Open’s shortlist are by Arkhangelsk-based filmmakers – Nikolai Flotsky’s Ether (16+), Anastasia Lomakina’s Enchanted by the Arctic (12+) and Inga Sharshova’s The Hermitary (6+).

The opening film is Ilya Zheltyakov’s road movie The Last Motor Ship (16+/ Lenfilm Studio), a poetic, poignant tale of what life is like on the Kola Peninsula.

Arctic Open will delight its audience with newly released series Iz Pomorov Mi (We Are Of Pomor Descent) produced by Fyodor Bondarchuk and Dmitry Tabarchuk. With Pavel Derevyanko as lead actor, and shot in the village near Arkhangelsk, the film follows the story of great Russian scholar Mikhail Lomonosov.

The key nominations are three – Best Feature, Best Short, and Best Documentary.

The chair of the Feature Jury is yet to be selected. Other members include Arkhangelsk-born Honoured Artist of Russia Elena Panova, and movie scholar and film critic Mikhail Trofimenkov.

The Shorts Jury is chaired by Alexey Romanov, artistic director of the national film company Sakhafilm, and has as members film director and producer Alexander Burtsev; casting director Marina Fotieva; and film director and screenwriter Ekaterina Golovnya. The chair for the Documentary Jury is Alexey Fedorchenko, film director, producer, co-founder of the February 29 Film Company.

The ARCTIC OPEN jury has among its members international filmmakers – British actor Jonathan Salway, Turkish film director Ece Soydam, Georgia’s cultural figure and film critic Dali Okropiridze, and Mexico-based screenwriter, director, producer and photographer Helmut Dosantos.

As last year, our Media Jury consists of Arkhangelsk-based journalists, film critics and filmmakers and is chaired by Leonid Chertok, editor, screenwriter, founder of RusNord News Agency.

The 7th International Film Festival ARCTIC OPEN will have its opening ceremony on December 7 at the Arkhangelsk Drama Theater, with Saint-Petersburg’s SweetHotJazzBand as a special highlight. Their performance, called Port Town Music, features recognizable songs that are understandable to people of all ages, and the band’s own songs fit in the classic jazz program just seamlessly, giving it a modern flavor.

For winners of the Make Your Own Movie quest, the opening night will also be the award ceremony. With a duration of two months (October-November), this quest has tasked its participants with shooting smartphone mini-films about the North and uses chatbots in Telegram (https://t.me/arctic_open_bot) and VK (https://vk.com/write-150155072) to give assignments.

This year’s program features an extensive array of business events. Entitled Arctic 2062, they will be run in partnership with project “Russia 2062” and hosted in the tourist facility Malye Karely.

Acting as program moderators are the drivers and intellectual stand of Russia 2026 and Bolshaya Zemlya non-profit — Oleg Stepanov, the founder of Russia 2062, radio host, expert of the RF State Duma Committee on Economics, holder of the 2022 MEDIAMaker Award and the 2008 Man of Letters Award; and Boris Akimov, Russia 2062 concept designer, entrepreneur, author of the project Bolshaya Zemlya (The Mainland).

Arctic-2062 is designed to bring together the filmmaking industries, Arctic media, research community, arts, NGOs, tourism sector and businesses to create a model of the positive and attractive future of the Arctic in the context of the “care economy”, where man is seen as co-creator of development, not consumer. Arctic-2062 involves talks, discussions, and game lab “The Image of the Arctic” to encourage its participants to identify the services and projects needed to drive change in the real-life Arctic, as well as the role of film industry, journalism and culture in this process.

The themes to be addressed include “What Might Local Self-Government Look Like in Russia 2062?”, “Beauty as a Local Development Driver”, “Community as a Zemstvo System of Local Administration: Don’t leave things to other people”, “Socio-Cultural Exclusion: Ways to reduce and prevent.”

Arctic Open’s training program features a creative laboratory, where a group of student filmmakers of Tashkent-based campus of Gerasimov Russian National Institute for Cinematography (VGIK Uzbekistan) and videographers based in Arkhangelsk Province are making films about the North. The training part has already started for them and includes a dedicated course.

The course is led by film director and screenwriter Yusup Razykov and cinematographer Yury Mikhailishin. They will join the festival in December to co-create five mini-films together. Admission is free but please make sure to book tickets on ARCTIC Open website. Schedule: https://arctic-open.com/programs2023/

Arctic Open’s main program is preceded by ARCTIC OPEN – Children. Spanning 4 days (November 2-5), it features 19 films from seven countries (Russia, China, Peru, Denmark, Iran, Turkey and Italy) and will be screened in in Arkhangelsk, Novodvinsk, and Konosha. Its non-competition selection includes a VR session and retrospective of the animated musicals by Soyuzmultfilm Studio’s Inessa Kovalevskaya.

ARCTIC OPEN KinoPort is run by Pomor Culture Foundation “Bereginya” with the support from the Presidential Fund for Cultural Initiatives, the Pomorie Governor’s Center, and Arkhangelsk Ministry of Culture.

The 7th International Film Festival ARCTIC OPEN is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and lists among its officially registered international film festivals.

ARCTIC OPEN IFF is co-organized by Northern (Arctic) Federal University.



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