Russian Film Festival 2015 in Cebu

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Sunday, March 22, 2015


LAST March 12 marked the official launch of the Russian Film Festival in Cebu. The annual film fest is celebrated in the Russian Federation and many other world cities to commemorate the Allied Victory of WWII, now on its 70th anniversary, when the Russians fought alongside other nations against Nazi Germany. 

The Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Philippines, working closely with the Cebu Consular office, put together a showcase of classic films that depict personal stories of courage, love and friendship against the backdrop of the Second World War. Among them were Ballad of a Soldier, directed by Grigori Chukhrai, Sergei Bondarchuk’s They Fought for the Motherland (1975), Nikolai Lebedev’s The Star (2002), Normandie-Niemen (1960), directed by Jean Dréville and Damir Vyatich-Berezhnykh, and Destiny of a Man, based on the work of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Mikhail Shokolov. The highlight of the festival was The Cranes Are Flying (1957), a cinematic masterpiece that won the Palme d’Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival.

Honorary Consul Armi Lopez Garcia, who, year after year, passionately advocates cultural exchange between Russia and the Philippines, spearheaded the project, and encouraged the public to enjoy the entire day of free screening. “It’s not every day that classic films like these are shown. These are not your typical war or historical films but are also fascinating stories in their own right,” she said. She also noted that the event is only a kick-off and the Consulate plans to hold similar events in the future. It is customary to hold a series of mini-filmfests leading up to May 9, the official anniversary date.

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Held at the University of San Carlos-Talamban College of Architecture and Fine Arts Theater, the filmfest was well-attended by the diplomatic corps, academe and the general public. Students found the movies to be a rich learning experience—it was a rare glimpse at the depth and artistic mastery of the Russians’ particular filmmaking style.

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I would also like to congratulate the City of Dipolog and the Municipality of Parnas (St. Petersburg, Russia) for successfully signing their sisterhood agreement last January. This project began with the initiative of Deputy Evgeny E. Marchenko, Member of Upper Parliament of the Russian Federation, who came to the Philippines in the hopes of bridging stronger local government ties.

Consul Armi Garcia hosted the signing between Dipolog City Mayor Evelyn T. Uy and Mayor Alexei Chezerov of the Municipality of Parnas. Also present in the event were Andrey Sapozhnikov, Trade Counsellor of the Russian Embassy, and Governor of Zamboanga del Norte, Roberto Uy.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 23, 2015.

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