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Igor Lysenko and Maxim Gorbov interview

Awaiting VOICES

There are only two and a half months left before Young European Film Festival VOICES and preparation works get underway. The founders of this international project are RF Ministry of Culture, Vologda Oblast government, Vologda city authorities and Globale, a French company.

Igor Lysenko, the director of VOICES, and Maxim Gorbov, the festival marketing director, are telling about this film forum which so many people have already liked.

Igor, Maxim, what can Vologda citizens and guests of our city expect to see at the festival this year?

Igor Lysenko: First of all the viewers can expect everything they have got used to at the VOICES. The main thing is they will see good films. We have one of the best festival programs of European films in Russia which you can’t see anywhere but in Vologda. Since 2013 is Russian- Dutch Bilateral year, our festival is dedicated to Dutch cinematography. We have prepared a special program “Country of the tulips” where we are going to present a retrospective show of Dutch directors Ios Stelling and Paul Verhoeven. One of the features of the non-competition program – the growth of the number of Russian films, for we produce quite many good pictures, what is more, Vologda people like our national films.

The program of the festival is basically shaped, although there are some possible changes. Now the VOICES is included into the key Russian festivals, we are starting to make friends with our partners, and we are going to have two programs dedicated to other film forums - “Spirit of Fire” from Khanty-Mansiysk and “Kinotavr” from Sochi. The representatives of the organizing committees of these festivals will tell about their projects, share their experience. We hope that in future people in Sochi and Khanty-Mansiysk will know about our festival too.

Every year gives us more and more experience in terms of organization. This year we have made a very important step forward: we formed a strong team to prepare for the festival – the management of the festival with Maxim Gorbov in charge.

During the festival there always take place some workshops. Which maestro of movie-making will run them this year?

Maxim Gorbov: One of the workshops will be run by a famous Dutch director Ios Stelling. We are also anticipating the workshop of Marina Razbezhkina, a script writer and a documentalist. We are planning to change the format of the event slightly - it is not going to be just a meeting with a creative person but also a real workshop, which will take a whole day and where Marina Razbezhkina will share her experience with Vologda people who are interested in film-making. They will have a chance to get specific recommendations.

Are you planning to install any new formats or arrange new sites for the events?

Igor Lysenko: We are working on an interesting large project “Picnic”, which is going to appear in tandem with the film program. It is our Open Air or relatively speaking “creative campus” of the festival. It will be interesting for those who don’t go to the cinema but who like exclusive events. They will include communication in the open air, different lectures and meetings, you will be able just to lie on the grass, have a bite, read a book, listen to music – a kind of friendly project of collective pastime in the open air. In Moscow they often have such events but for Vologda it’s a new direction. It should highlight the main feature of our festival – European air – and to make more Vologda citizens aware of the VOICES.

Maxim Gorbov: One of the places where we intend to have such “Picnic” is a park on the bank of Vologda river with a monument to letter “O”. The most important thing is to have good weather, although judging by previous experiences we are usually lucky with the weather.

Every year we show films in Konstitorsky courtyard and this festival is not going to be an exception. There we are planning to show a picture of Alexander Dovzhenko Earth. It is the film of the 30th, film critics rank it as high as Bronenosets Potyomkin. Earth is a silent movie and the music will be provided by a Ukrainian ethno-folk group “Dakha-Brakha”. This picture “travels” around world famous film forums all the time, and Vologda will be one of them.

Who is going to have an honor to be the Muse of the VOICES this year?

Igor Lysenko: We are dreaming to have an actress Carice van Hauten as a Muse of the festival this year, she is well-known by her roles in Games of Thrones series, films Operation Valkyrie, Black Butterflies and many others.

Who will be included in the jury of the VOICES?

Igor Lysenko: At the present time we already have three members of the jury, who confirmed their consent. One of them is Yana Troyanova, a Russian actress who visited the previous VOICES festival. Vologda accepted her very well and she was pleased to come to the festival once again. One more person who we wanted to see in the jury even last year and who also gave his consent is Tchéky Karyo, a Turkish-born French actor, famous for his role in Luk Besson’s film Nikita. He was nominated for the César Award for his starring role in La Balance (1982), Karyo received the Jean Gabin Prize in recognition of his talent.

We have a tradition to invite into the jury somebody who manages one of the ally festivals. This way, so far we have had in the jury Andrei Halpahchi, the director of Kiev International Film Festival Youth and Stephan Kitanov, the president of the International Film festival in Sophia. In 2013 it will be Stephan Laudin, the director of Warsaw International film Festival and manager of Warsaw film fund.

Now we are negotiating with other members of the team, as it was during last years we would like to have representatives of different film cultures, different ages, people with different experiences. Nowadays we are well known in Europe, the VOICES is considered to be one of the most attractive Russian festivals. That is why we have people who want to get into our jury and we have an opportunity not only to invite but also to choose.

What events can be expected on the threshold of the VOICES? Are we going to have any previews?

Maxim Gorbov: Yes, of course. At the end of May and the beginning of June we are planning to set up a preview in Lenkom cinema. The viewers will be able to see the picture the Hunt of a Dutch director Thomas Vinterberg, who will head the jury in one of the programs of the Cannes . And by the middle of June a promo product will be ready and tickets for the festival will be able to be bought.

Besides, 29 April we are arranging a new video contest. If previously it had a name “I love you, Vologda” and its task was to show the unique character of the Oblast, then this year it has got a new name –“Vologda represented by people”. The emphasis is made on the personalities of people, on what they think about, what they do and create. Having analyzed the contests of the previous years we took into account all the wishes and comments of the participants, so we decided to make it more specific, focus our attention on Vologda citizens themselves. It may be the portrayals of famous and not famous citizens. This will help people to look closer at each other and will give an extra reason to create and communicate.

What is the reason for the changing of the logotype which the fans of the festival have already got used to?

Igor Lysenko: The old logotype although being very nice reminded by its stylistics of the colors of the satirical “Okna ROSTA” – a series of agitation posters of the 20th. Since our festival is a festival of young European films, we wanted some kind of “rejuvenation” also of the logotype. A new one is good for being associated both with the megaphone, the main symbol of the festival, and a bow tie. To my mind the most important thing is that it can change colors, adjusting to any circumstances and demonstrating this way the array of voices, which we present at the VOICES. It is one more step toward the development of the festival, thus we are saying that everything only begins and we hope will continue for many years on.

Interview by Irina SOROKINA