The press conference dedicated to the 1st
Kaliningrad International Film Festival "On the Edge: Go West" was held on March 5 at 11 am in the Western Press Media Group Conference Hall. Among the speakers were Alexey Agranovich
, Festival's General Producer; Alexey Medvedev
, Festival's Program Director, director Alexander Kudryashov
and playwright Lyuba Strizhak
, Curators, Documentary Theatre Lab (Levitan Street Project), and Olga Kaverzina
, Director, ANCO "Festival Management." Origin // Why "On the Edge?
" The inaugural Kaliningrad International Film Festival "On the Edge: Go West" will take place in Kaliningrad from April 26 till May 3.
The "On the Edge" festival project was launched 8 years ago on Sakhalin. Since then, it has transformed from a nondescript event dedicated to national cinema into a large-scale international forum with a vast and comprehensive program, impressive competition and distinguished Jury, as well as several creative workshops that open during the festival. Today, "On the Edge" is not just a film festival or a celebration of cinema but a regional social development driver that engages local residents, impacting their life and providing them with a broad spectrum of creative opportunities in different areas. Alexey Agranovich
, General Producer, The Kaliningrad International Film Festival "On the Edge: Go West": "For us, this festival is not about simply showing new films. As proven by our experience on Sakhalin, it can become a large-scale social project, a focal point for creative and committed forces of the region, a hub for different initiatives to get together. Cinema is something of a bait, it grants inspiration and provides new opportunities for personal fulfillment. The festival's workshops of creative and educational nature establish new connections between people and eventually may lead to creating a regional cultural production. The festival creates a unique situation where both the demand for this production and its supply are literally born before our eyes."
It's 11,000 kilometers (more than 6,800 miles)
from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to Kaliningrad as these two cities are the extreme points on the map of Russia, the country's eastern and western cultural gates
. Besides their opposite location, Sakhalin and Kaliningrad have a lot in common. First, both regions exist in a state of certain geographical isolation: Sakhalin is an island, Kaliningrad – an enclave. Second, in recent memory, the Russian-speaking majority settled both in Kaliningrad and the south of Sakhalin only after the WWII. Third, both Kaliningrad and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk are key points for the cultural dialogue with Russia's neighbors: in Sakhalin's case those are Japan, Korea and China; in Kaliningrad's – the Eastern and Central European countries.
In 2019, a new mark has appeared on the international festival map – "On the Edge: Go West." The new festival has similar goals and objectives to those of the "On the Edge: Go East" project: becoming a platform for local residents' personal fulfillment in different areas of cultural and social activity
But "On the Edge" is not a one-size-fits-all project. That is why The Kaliningrad International Film Festival "On the Edge: Go West" was designed and will be developed with due regard to the specific features of this very region
, Kaliningrad Oblast. Alexey Agranovich
, General Producer, The Kaliningrad International Film Festival "On the Edge: Go West": "On the Edge" has less to do with geographical remoteness and more to do with the invisible edge between the brightness of the spot lamp and the darkness of the screening room. On the edge of light, the audience and the author meet. Together, they search for answers to the questions asked by life itself. The edge of light is the rendezvous point for the audience to meet with the film and its creators." Competition and Programs
There are two competition programs
at The Kaliningrad International Film Festival "On the Edge: Go West" – Films to Grow
and Fiction.doc. Alexey Agranovich, General Producer, The Kaliningrad International Film Festival "On the Edge: Go West":
"While analyzing the regional specifics, we saw that "On the Edge: Go West" must become so much more than another high-quality international film festival. We were looking for the conceptual "glue" that would be relevant to this particular region and at the same time wouldn't mimic the existing festival projects. Eventually we have come up with a solution that seemed the only right one: to make the most interesting and mysterious, in our opinion, viewers – children and teenagers – the target audience of our festival. There's nothing like our festival in Russia. Over the course of the festival week we will try, together with our audience and participants (which are often one and the same), to articulate new questions to help us find our way in today's reality. In the world of the future that came true, which we all inhabit, where all experience previously accumulated by the humanity has turned to be, for some reasons, locked or inaccessible, we turn to people who have no knowledge of this experience, who have no boundaries and no agenda but themselves and their youth." The Films to Grow competition program
consists of 7 full-length films for children and teenagers
. It will include films from any countries (with emphasis on Russian and European cinema) and any genres (comedies, musicals, historical and social dramas, fantasy) showcasing the issues surrounding a child's life in our time or any other era. Maria Tereschenko, one of the most distinguished Russian specialists in animation and children's cinema, is responsible for the films in the Films to Grow
competition program and non-competition children's program.
The films of the children's competition will be evaluated by 2 Juries, the teenage one and the adult one (consisting of 10 schoolteachers). Applications for the latter will be open and the requirements will soon be published on the festival's website.
Any person aged 12 to 17 living in Kaliningrad or Kaliningrad Oblast can become a member of the teen jury. In order to apply the candidate should present in any format a review of a film that impressed them – it may be an essay, a video, or an audio clip. All teachers in all fields with more than a year of experience, as well as retired educators, are invited to apply for the adult jury. Application period will be open till April 5. You can find more information here.
Every jury will have a curator responsible both for the workflow management and discussion moderation. The adult jury of the inaugural Kaliningrad International Film Festival "On the Edge: Go West" will be curated by Russian journalist Philipp Bakhtin
, former Editor-in-Chief of Esquire Russia, founder and producer of "Kamchatka" creative camp for children. Kirill Ivanov
, the frontman of the Russian band "Samoe Bolshoe Prostoe Chislo" ("Largest Known Prime Number") and one of "Kamchatka's" youth leaders, will be in charge of the teen jury.
The Fiction.doc competition
will include 10 films – 5 documentaries and 5 feature films, selected by Festival's Program Director Alexey Medvedev
, curator of numerous international film festivals, and Natalia Pylaeva
, documentary cinema expert. Fiction.doc
will be evaluated by a professional jury composed of 4 filmmakers. Alexey Medvedev
, Program Director, The Kaliningrad International Film Festival "On the Edge: Go West": "Modern reality is overly complicated: there is our day-to-day life, news, TV, virtual reality, including social media and video games, a lot of hoaxes, but at the same time, many true tragedies and fortunate events. We don't classify films as staged or documentary because the line between fiction and reality is sometimes too elusive even for their very creators. The only question we ask, how successfully did the author manage to convey the exceptionally challenging, vibrant modern reality?"
Besides the competition, the festival will screen full-length and short animation films. The Kaliningrad Regional Drama Theatre will be the main venue of the Kaliningrad International Film Festival "On the Edge: Go West."