The XVIII “Spirit of Fire” international first-time filmmakers cinematography festival has been held in Khanty-Mansiysk. Running from
Seventy films, from 17 countries, were entered in the 2020 festival. Guests of honour included famous Russian actors and actresses Leonid Yarmolnik, Irina Rozanova, Evgeniya Brik and Alisa Grebenshchikova.
The main prize — the “Golden Taiga” — was won by director Dmitry Mamuliya, for “The Criminal Man”, with the Silver Taiga going to “Bird Island”, directed by Maya Cosa and Sergio da Costa, Switzerland, and the bronze to Oskar Alegria, Spain, for “Zumiriki”. The Gazprom Neft special prize “For Supporting Cultural Traditions” was won by Yakut film “Expedition”, directed by Gavril Menkyarov.
One of the main events of the festival was the annual “Chitalkin” children’s literary concert, organised by the Gazprom Neft “Home Towns” programme in partnership with the “Little Cinema” foundation and involving young readers from various Russian cities. Natalia Komarova, Governor of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, supported participants by recording a video for the concert featuring an extract from a book by Ugra author Ludmilla Koshil.
“The Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug is of major importance to Gazprom Neft’s strategic development. Which is why it’s important to us that the best, most comfortable environment possible for local people is developed in the regional capital. The Spirit of Fire festival is one of the key components in such an environment — which is driven, among other things, by major cultural events. Alongside excellent infrastructure, festivals like the Spirit of Fire mean the region can be part of the country’s cultural life, and make a major contribution to it. We believe that experience in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug is a perfect example of many years’ painstaking work in establishing and developing a creative urban environment.”Alexander Dybal Deputy CEO for Corporate Communications and member of the Management Board, Gazprom Neft
The “Spirit of Fire” international first-time filmmakers cinematography festival has been held every year since 2003, in Khanty-Mansiysk. Sergei Solovyov, director of the cult films “Assa” and “One Hundred Days After Childhood” is the originator behind the Festival, and remains its President. Gazprom Neft has been the General Partner to the Festival (which is one of the key projects under the company’s “Home Towns” corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme) since 2007, instituting a special prize “For Supporting Cultural Traditions” in 2013.
The Gazprom Neft “Home Towns” CSR programme is one of the most successful and best-known local development programmes offered by Russian businesses. Small-scale voluntary initiatives, local celebrations, and major international festivals — whatever their size and scale, all initiatives under the Home Towns programme are targeted at addressing problems specific and unique to those areas in which the company operates.
The “Chitalkin” competition is targeted at young readers and reciters, the best of which subsequently go on to become heroes and stars on the YouTube channel of the same name. The first Chitalkin contest was held in 2016, in Khanty-Mansiysk. Hosts over the years have included screenwriter and director Alexander Strizhenov, actor and TV host Leonid Yakubovich, and others. The project is intended not only to popularise reading among children and young adults, and to develop their creative abilities, but also to help develop an “encyclopaedia” of fairy tales and stories traditional to those regions in which Gazprom Neft operates.
More detailed information on the international “Spirit of Fire” first-time filmmakers cinematography festival can be found at ugrafest.ru.