Taking a Shortcut Through Amateur Cinema

For MTThe ARTKino film festival aims to spur a revival of Russian amateur cinema and to create a "new wave" of filmmakers.
A kitchen operetta, a visual contemplation of entropy and proof that music will save the world -- all these themes and more await film-goers attending the first annual ARTkino All-Russia Festival of Amateur Short Films, which is set to open Tuesday night at Khudozhestvenny Theatre.

"It has been said that cinema goes in cycles of 33 years over the course of a century, in which lots of ideas appear in the first 33 years, the next cycle is spent developing them and in the last third no one does anything, everyone just relaxes," joked Sergei Tyutin, the festival's president, in explaining the event's origins at a press conference announcing its lineup. "We happen to be starting in on a highly felicitous period, when lots of new ideas are beginning to arise, and we decided to seize the moment."


For MT


Inspirational beginnings aside, the ARTkino festival became a reality because of its organizational underpinnings, formed by two of the capital's most active confederations of cinema-crazy youth: the screening and filmmaking club ARTkino and the World of Art Creative Collective, which runs an art-house movie theater near the Novoslobodskaya metro station. The groups claim that their goals for the event are simply continuations of their ongoing aspirations -- to spur a revival of Russian amateur cinema and to create a "new wave" of directors and filmmakers.


For MT
"Our members began making films last year," recalled Tyutin, who also leads the ARTkino organization. "Last November, we had a smaller festival that showed off their work, and it was such a success and drew so many people that we decided it was time to have their work compete with more serious people. This festival serves that purpose as well."

The featured shorts run the gamut from the playful to the profound. One called "Cock-a-doodle-do" by director Zakharia Hoffman, for instance, follows a young American man who is led into the Russian countryside by mysterious visions; despite the potential for drama, it ends up being humorous. In another, a documentary simply titled "Russian Woman Svetlana Sidorova," the film's heroine Svetlana toils away as a railroad worker, enduring both heavy physical labor and personal hardship. She retains a shining optimism through it all, however, an attitude highlighted the framing of filmmaker Tatyana Soboleva.


For MT
The festival's schedule will bring screenings and other events to four different venues across the city: ARTkino's home in the Sokolniki House of Youth building, the World of Art movie theater, the Master Class cinema club and the Movie House theater near the Belorusskaya metro station. There will also be a wealth of extra screenings and events, from a retrospective of classic short films to the minifestival Live Cinema, where silent films will be accompanied by music from stage musicians.

"We tried to select films in which there was expressive imagery and topics that clearly disturbed the directors, about which they know a lot, and that are interesting," said the festival's general producer, Dmitry Kupovykh. "We looked for directors who seemed to take their time pondering solutions -- we hope we were successful in finding them."

The ARTkino festival runs until Sep. 28. See the festival's web site for times of screenings and events, as well as addresses for many of the venues. Tel. +7 (499) 978-6889, www.artkinofest.ru