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Open letter to open festival documentary film "Russia"

Open letter to open festival documentary film "Russia"


In modern war there is such a term - « friendly fire».

This is when the artillery because of undershooting or flight firing at the positions of its own.

For us, the more familiar term - "friendly fire". And even though this fire is considered "friendly", it is still on fire. And it burns, not knowing where their own, and where strangers.


With the festival documentary film "Russia" I am bound for many years and many pleasant memories. It originated in Yekaterinburg a spent 80-x, in the midst of restructuring and immediately became the main viewing platform of Russian documentary. Remains so to this day - a more representative and authoritative Film Festival in our country there. My movies are not just involved in its programs - and in competition, and information shows. I participated in its work and as a member of the jury the main contest. I know and am friends with the organizers and the organizers. I appreciate their efforts, which result in overcrowded audience halls all the festival screenings, which is absolutely unique and makes Yekaterinburg original capital of our documentaries.

That is what is written on the front page of the festival site-


  - Festival "Russia" is held annually since 1988 and is the most representative forum of documentary films on the territory of the former Soviet Union .. The festival has no theme. The main criterion for selection of films - an artistic level.-


In general, when the spring of this year was completed installation of my film "Love me, please", the first discs I brought in our Union of Cinematographers - Moscow selector of the festival. While there was summer, the movie lived their destiny - has been shown at festivals in Kiev (special event) and in St. Petersburg, in the international competition of the "Message to man". The film received a lot of feedback in the press and the Internet, which can easily be verified by typing its name into any search engine.

He invited a number of international festivals - in Poland, Czech Republic, USA, Germany.

The closest show will be held in October in the official program of the festival in Leipzig - one of the most representative international film festivals.

Why am I all that? Besides that, unfortunately, the artistic level of my film does not have lasted, alas, to the high bars, given this year's Moscow selector festival "Russia". Not in the main competition, nor in competition program, neither in general nor for any show - this film did not take.

I must honestly admit, having learned of that decision, the selection committee, I felt quite sizeable "deja vu". Exactly the same thing it was exactly 4 years ago, when exactly the same people who rejected and rejected my low-art film "Alexander Askoldov. The fate of Commissioner. I then turned over their heads to the president and festival director George Negashevu that his power has put the film in the competition program. As a result, the jury chaired by Frontier to award my film Grand Prix of the festival. Thus, this film was named best non-fiction film of 2006. Like it to someone or not, but it happened.

What happened this year, you ask?

I can share only their guesses.

The film deals with the fate of Anastasia Baburova, journalist of Novaya Gazeta, who was shot Jan. 19, 2009 together with a lawyer Stanislav Markelov.

They were killed by Russian Nazis, and their trial will begin this fall.

The film features videos and photographs of the neo-Nazi sites.

In addition, the film sounds unpleasant sayings parents Nasty Baburova to the current leaders of Russia. The film shows without embellishment brutal crackdown on government anti-fascist rallies in the winter of this year. Finally, the film makes it clear that the growth of neo-Nazism in Russia coincides exactly with the arrival of the forces that govern us the last decade.

Nothing particularly new, perhaps not say. The film is not "art-House", rather it is quite traditional political journalism. I admit that I was not surprised by the refusal of Russian channels to show this film, I was expecting this. I was stunned by the decision of my colleagues and friends not to show it in an open festival "Russia".

This decision means to me primarily against the possibility of communication with very expensive for me Ekaterinburg audience. Audience that knows me and my films - a long time, ever since the late 80's.

And that's not the prizes, they have got enough.

And that my, albeit far from perfect, the work had not even had a tiny Piglet on the site - let non-competition, information - in the capital of our documentary films. What our community believes it is Ekaterinburg.

You know, over 25 years of experience in documentary filmmaking, and I was a screenwriter, and editor,

and the director, producer and even different kinds of films. I am faced with a blunt and often logically inexplicable Soviet censors. I ran to the dictates of the customers who invest their money in the movies to advance their own interests.

I have encountered with the requirements of tv-bosses who have at bedside latest reports rating instead of the Bible. But I never blamed them. I understand their motivation, though not shared.

And did it differently - sometimes compromised, sometimes left the project. The last time I slammed the door in the program "Islands", when its leader, former fierce “perestroikists” Vitaly Troyanovsky person behind me cut from the film about Lev Kopelev great and important episode, replacing it with a neutral material, voiced his own comments. It was a new experience for me. That was unacceptable, even in the draconian Soviet times, it turns out, has become the norm in Putin. Later I found out that  tv-bosses did not even think to demand from him any bills. The bosses on our TV is always "the main European". Slavish initiative always sublimated from the Asian servility bottom - if it had nothing to please the immortal "Princess Mary Alexeevna". It worked a flair for "the spirit of modern times". I must now capture him constantly. And keep your nose to the wind. And - to train, train, train scent.


I think that the same vane instinct dictated by the current solution and the selection committee. I know these people, as they told me. Can you firmly assure you that no authorities did not order them. Superiors do not care a whit what else hits - except for those which they personally drive on the main channels. Consequently, no official reason for the refusal of our friends-selectors, in addition to "low-art" selected works, just do not and can not be. Accounts for this reconciliation. And be comforted by the fact that NTV and too closed not for censorship reasons, but because of the dispute businesses.

Actually, in my opinion, the festival "Russia" in recent years, losing its historically established a reputation of uncompromising and politically acute forum as he can remember in years past. And it's not just in my film, there are other examples. Many rejected selector movies then gather full houses and awards in the rapidly growing festival "Artdokfest.

Give the assumption that a certain time of Yekaterinburg has become hostage to Moscow's part of its selection committee with their capital honed instinct.

Confirmation of this find in his letters from Yekaterinburg, where the festival organizers have expressed to me his regret over this "politically correct" solutions selectors.


By reading this message, someone will decide for sure that I have driven "type of resentment, or wounded pride. You know, to be honest - no. Want to know why?

      Leonid Radzikhovsky after the recent acquittal of Colonel Kvachkov predicted Russia, two of the most probable scenario: first - free elections with a guaranteed victory for the radical nationalists, the second - the same victory of nationalists in the revolution, after a long stagnant putrefaction, the beginning of which we have seen since Putin came to power with the company.

Commenting Radzihovsky Dmitry Bykov largely agreed with him -


"Russia has all the temptations, except brown, and it is quite relevant. Other ideas that could carry a lot of today simply do not have, and the critical potential build  today or tomorrow detonate, causing purchased - many times! - At the simplest wiring: Bless power because it protects their bayonets us from the worst (read: the people). We can not see that one's hand, it protects, but the other inciting, that popular revolt, from which it supposedly protects us, it is inspired. The persistence of this configuration of power (supposedly "guards with bayonets") guaranteed to lead to the explosion of atrocities that we saw each other once. »Http://


That's what I thought, working on a film about two bright people, bullets which were cast in the current Nazi underground. And on the other, the number nearly a hundred, which neo-Nazis killed last year alone. And the following, which the bullets are still only cast.

However, these topics were of little interest to Open Festival "Russia".

For a film about the extent of Russian neo-Nazis, he was closed. This means that the chance of meeting this film with the audience Yekaterinburg finally lost.

And this is the only thing I really sorry.


And the last. These days the 80 anniversary of the great thinker and philosopher Merab Mamardashvili. I remember he told us, the students -


"The effort - is not the intention to make it. The act - is not the intention to commit it.

 The intention of honor - not an honor. "


In recent years I began to notice many of my friends, friends become increasingly difficult to distinguish this wavering border. Some stop to simulate even the intention. And by "high ethical reasons", but in fact a banal personal cowardice, offer friendly fire of friendly censorship.


Valery Balayan

film director and screenwriter




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