Listapad film festival kicks off in Minsk
The 29th Minsk International Film Festival Listapad will be running in the Belarusian capital from 17 to 24 November under the slogan Creating the Future. The festival events will be held both in the Belarusian capital and other cities of the country.
The first Listapad film festival was held in 1994. The film forum was designed to unite the best films (both fiction and documentary), created in the post-Soviet space. It debuted under the name Listapad Post-Soviet Film Festival. Its first editions featured films from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan. Over time, the film festival expanded, gained prestige, and officially acquired the status of an international festival in 2003. Back then, in 2003, Minsk saw films from Poland, Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the USA, Iran, China and Japan.
The competition was initially judged by a jury of filmmakers, journalists and spectators. In 1996, it was decided to make the Audience Choice Award the main award of the festival. Before that, all three awards (from cinematographers, journalists and spectators) were equal. The winner has been determined by a professional jury since 2010.
In 2001, the grand opening of the Listapad film festival was held for the first time at the country's main concert venue - the Palace of the Republic.
In 2023, a record-high number of applications - 2087 from 107 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa – was submitted for the 2023 edition. First Deputy Culture Minister Valery Gromada said during a press conference dedicated to the film festival that that was evidence of the prestige of the Listapad film festival. The largest number of applications came from Iran, India, the Russian Federation, Brazil and China. Applications were accepted in five categories: the Cinema of the Young film competition, the Animated Film Competition, the Feature and Non-Feature Film Competitions, and the Children and Youth Film Competition Listapadzik.
The opening and closing ceremonies of this year's edition will be held at the Dom Kino cinema house. Special awards of the President of the Republic of Belarus “For preserving and developing the traditions of spirituality in cinematography” and “For humanism and spirituality in cinema” will be awarded at the ceremonies. The festival competition program will be screened in the Pioner, Tsentralny and Belarus cinema houses. Non-competition screenings will be held in the Tsentralny, Dom Kino, Pioner cinema houses, the Museum of the History of Belarusian Cinema, the Belarusfilm studio and Minsk Town Hall.
According to Valery Gromada, the festival will open with the Filmmakers film. It contains many references to the world and Belarusian cinematography, which is to mark its 100th anniversary in 2024. According to him, the program of this year's film festival is focused the works that mostly aim to promote traditional spiritual values, many of which are common in the post-Soviet space.
The forum will include master classes and meetings with famous producers, directors and actors.
The jury of the 29th Minsk International Film Festival will comprise well-known figures and leading experts in international cinematography. Igor Ugolnikov, a Soviet and Russian actor, film director, screenwriter, producer and TV presenter, will be the chairman of the jury this year.
Days of Kazakh, Russian, Pakistani and Syrian cinema will be held as part of the non-competitive program. An open-doors day in the Academy of Arts will offer screenings of short student films.
Fans of Soviet cinema will have an opportunity to see their favorite films at the country's cinema houses. The program will feature the following films: Walking the Streets of Moscow, Welcome, or No Trespassing, Mimino, Beware of the Car, Kin-dza-dza.