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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Festival Program Remains Unclear

The Moscow Film Festival will be coming around again this year, running for the 22nd time July 19-29 - although for now, organizers are revealing few details of what will be included in the festival's program.

At a press conference Tuesday, organizers confirmed only that top Greek director Theo Angelopoulos ("The Bee Keepers") will head the main festival jury, which will include Japanese producer Jiro Shindo, son of veteran director Kaneto Shindo, a three-time prize winner in Moscow (his film "Will to Live" took the top award last year). Overseas guests may - with this festival, it's never clear until the last minute - include actors Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson.

Programming director Kirill Razlogov would go no further Tuesday than to say that seven films are so far confirmed for competition (which must include a minimum of 12). The festival's profile is likely to resemble that of last year - more emphasis on geographical range than on novelty, with particular emphasis on Asian and Latin American films.

Non-competition programs this year will be distinguished by their attempt to combine apparently contradictory direction, Razlogov said, in the form of pronounced art-house and world film angles. Thus, Pyotr Shepotinnik will continue his art-house program - titled "8 1/2" in honor of the Fellini film that won the 1963 festival's top prize. The show was a huge success last year.

"8 1/2" will play alongside a "National Hits" program that will showcase films that were runaway leaders in their home markets, but that have failed to arouse much interest outside their national borders.

The very fact that the festival is now confirmed as a regular annual event, as its president Nikita Mikhalkov promised last year, looks like its main achievement to date.

Organizers have also reached an agreement with the international festival regulatory body FIAPF to change the festival's timing next year, according to FIAPF director Renat Davletyarov.

Beginning in 2001, the Moscow event will take place a month earlier than usual, during the last 10 days of June, a change the festival has been lobbying for for years. The decision was reached despite considerable opposition from Eastern Europe's other main festival, the Czech Republic's Karlovy Vary festival, which runs during early July, and will now face direct competition from Moscow to fill competition slots.

- Tom Birchenough