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    EEF 2019: A Cultural Dialogue is Necessary to Bridge the Gap Between Russia and the US

    © REUTERS / Yuri Maltsev
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    On 4 September, the Eastern Economic Forum 2019 kicked off in the Russian Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok. The summit has brought together foreign political and business leaders from all over the world to discuss the most pressing economic and geopolitical issues. Filmmaker Martha De Laurentiis has shared her impressions about the event.

    The fifth Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) is dealing with a wide range of issues, including the economy, geopolitics, and cultural exchanges.

    "I’m quite impressed", says Martha De Laurentiis, a film producer and director as well as the president of The De Laurentiis Company. "To have economic forums around Russia, you’ve mentioned St. Petersburg, Moscow and Vladivostok; in America all I can do is just compare what we don’t have but what you have in Russia".

    According to the filmmaker, it’s quite impressive that Russia focuses on the promotion of cultural and the intellectual learning, which has recently been "cut" in the US, along with other social programmes: "The first thing to go from budgets is culture, is art, is education; and here you’re talking about goals of 2024, that’s in five years", she says.

    "I mean, you are so much more advanced than what we think we are in America", the producer remarks.

    Commenting to the ongoing crisis in Russo-American relations, De Laurentiis notes that "it’s always a crisis when politics take over the human relationship".

    Having emphasised the need for a cultural dialogue between the countries, she highlights that she would be glad to jump at the opportunity to make a film in Russia. Currently, the Russian government is mulling over the idea of compensating Western filmmakers for at least part of their expenses for shooting their movies in the country.

    "You know, we are always looking to tell stories; we are always looking to tell stories of a different background, of a different value to go on the screen", the filmmaker says. "And if we can go to Russia and get that expense and the epic value of what you have here, and economically it also benefits being able to tell a bigger story, of course; because, you know, it’s where we’re always being squeezed, lesser and lesser amount of money to make a movie. So, if there’re those incentives that help tell a bigger story, why would you say no to that?"

    ​In addition to the EEF's traditional business conferences and media forums, the event organisers have arranged a number of cultural events and activities for the participants of the forum, including exhibitions of paintings by artists of the Far Eastern Federal District, as well as sketches of legendary costumes of the world-famous "Russian Seasons" (1907) held by impresario Sergei Diaghilev. Guests and participants will be also able to watch Russian movies and animated films released between 2017 and 2019 at the Open-Air Cinema EEF 2019.

    The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) is an international forum aimed at the infrastructural and economic development of Russia's Far East region. The event has taken place each year since 2015, being held at the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) on Russky Island, in Ajax Bay of Vladivostok.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    exhibitions, movies, cultural exchanges, culture, Russian Far East, Russia, United States
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