Spirit of Fire Festival Participants to Discuss Film Industry Prospects in the North
Participants in the business programme of the Spirit of Fire International Film Festival, which will take place on 3–6 March in Khanty-Mansiysk, will discuss ways to promote the cultural and historical heritage of the Indigenous peoples of the North and develop ethnic cinema. The business programme events are part for Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. The Roscongress Foundation manages the events of the chairmanship.
“This year, the organizers of the Spirit of Fire festival invited specialists on the film industry and ethnic cinema to intensify cooperation and expand international partnerships. India was invited to the film festival as a guest country for the first time in its 20-year history. The maestros of Indian cinema that our spectators love so much will be part of the panel of judges to find new talents who are ready to create films with a national flavour. A film dialogue format, which is new for the festival, will discuss fresh ideas and establish productive contacts,” said Anton Kobyakov, adviser to the Russian President and executive secretary of the Organizing Committee for Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
The film festival will include a business programme for the first time. The plenary session, which is titled ‘The Cinema of Tomorrow: Industry Partnership and Ethnocultural Diversity’, will feature a discussion of the prospects for the development of regional film support programmes. The participants will consider how cinematography influences the tourism appeal of Russia’s regions, the development of creative industries, and the creation of ‘calling cards’ for the regions. Speakers at the session will include Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District – Yugra Governor Natalya Komarova, Spirit of Fire Festival President and film director Emir Kusturitsa, producer and General Director of Gorky Central Children and Youth Film Studio Yuliana Slashcheva, and Director of the Department of Cinematography and Digital Development of the Russian Ministry of Culture Dmitry Davidenko.
At the sessions ‘Ethnic Cinema with an Arctic Flavour. A Modern Miracle’ and ‘The Arctic: New Opportunities for the Distribution of Ethnic Cinema in Russia’, experts will discuss new approaches to the selection of content, how to work with viewers, and the growing demand for such films in the Russian film distribution. The session ‘Cinema Beyond the Arctic Circle: An Urban Hotspot’ will focus on the implementation of the national culture project as regards the modernization of movie theatres in the north and the prospects for such theatres to become centres of public and cultural life in Northern cities. These sessions are part of the plan of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
“The festival’s extensive business programme offers a glimpse of the main priorities of contemporary Russian cinema and the work that is being done today to develop the cultural identity of peoples. As part of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, Russia has initiated a number of projects in the Arctic Council that provide for the preservation of the historical heritage of the Indigenous peoples of the North. During the festival, the participants will have a wonderful opportunity to exchange opinions regarding the development paths of traditional spiritual culture,” said Nikolay Korchunov, chair of the Arctic Senior Officials and ambassador-at-large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Spirit of Fire Film Festival will feature two events with representative delegations from India and the UAE that will focus on sharing experience and expanding partnerships. The events will be attended by Producers Guild of India CEO Nitin Tej Ahuja, General Manager of the Film Distribution Department of the National Film Development Corporation of India and producer Vikramdit Roy, India Taka One Film Company CEO Pravesh Sahni, and Head of Business Development at the Abu Dhabi Film Commission Omar Al Dhaheri.
“The Spirit of Fire is a highly anticipated event on the international cultural calendar and a unique platform for people who aspire to be part of the film industry. This year, the theme of the festival focuses our attention on the fact that the creative industries have become an integral part of not only the economic sphere, but also a means to effectively realize creative potential and talent, as well as the language of humanitarian dialogue. Over the years it has existed, the Spirit of Fire has become a springboard into prominent cinema for hundreds of people in the film industry. Yugra hospitably provides an opportunity to take part in the creation of the cinema of tomorrow,” Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District – Yugra Governor Natalya Komarova said.
Another event of the film festival will be a three-day master class on the development of films about Indigenous peoples by director Yevgeny Grigoryev, who is also the artistic director of the Sverdlovsk Film Studio. The programme ‘Space and Its Heroes through Documentary Cinema’ will include practical techniques for developing such projects, watching films, and discussing the production of films about northern ethnic groups.
The cultural programme of the Spirit of Fire Festival was prepared with the support of Gazprom Neft, the general partner of the festival. The Roscongress Foundation is the festival’s communication partner.
Russia is the chair of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. One of Russia’s main priorities is to develop human capital in the region, including the Indigenous peoples of the North. Russia devotes special attention to maintaining the sustainability and viability of the peoples of the North, promoting measures to adapt them to climate change, improving people’s well-being, health, education, and quality of life, and ensuring sustainable socioeconomic development throughout the region. The Russian side has initiated projects to digitalize the cultural and linguistic heritage of the Indigenous peoples of the North, develop renewable energy sources, create an international Arctic research station that runs on carbon-free energy, and ensure biosecurity in the Arctic. In addition, Russia is preparing draft proposals on the traditional medicine of Indigenous peoples and the development of creative industries in the Arctic, and is working on an initiative to create Digital Museums of the Arctic.