23:56 GMT +306 December 2019
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    Russian director Klim Shipenko and actress Maria Mironova

    Russian Film Week 2019 Takes Centre Stage in London, Aims to Break New Ground in Int'l Film Scene

    Olga Kotelevskaya/ Russian Film Week
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    Over 800 guests attended the Red Carpet premiere, which was followed by an opening party at the 5-star W Hotel in Leicester Square, complete with talks from some of Russia's top filmmakers and superstars.

    The fourth annual Russia Film Week launched at ODEON Luxe Leicester Square on Sunday, with over a dozen Russian film stars gracing the red carpet.

     Russian Film Week 2019
    © Sputnik / Demond Cureton
    Russian Film Week 2019

    The eight-day festival will showcase some of Russia's best new filmmakers, starting with director Klim Shipenko's comedy "Servant", the story of 'golden youth' troublemaker Grisha who is sent to a remote village for re-education and forced to live as a 19th century peasant.

    Audiences can screen roughly 37 movies and 18 short films, including "The Balkan Line", "Van Goghs", "Convoy 48", as well as "Beef: A Hip-Hop Story", among many others.

    The Golden Unicorn Awards is set to take place on 30 November, at the festival's end, to recognise international and local filmmakers for their work in Russia as well as Russian-themed movies.

    A Charity Gala Dinner supporting the Naked Heart Foundations, founded by Russian model and entrepreneur Natalia Vodianova after the Beslan tragedy in 2004, will follow the awards ceremony.

     Russian Film Week 2019
    © Sputnik / Demond Cureton
    Russian Film Week 2019

    Stars and filmmakers presenting their movies include actors Alexander Petrov, Alexander Kuznetsov, Ravshana Kurkova, Gosha Kutsenko, Evgeny Tsyganov, Rinal Mukhametov, Dmitry Dyuzhev, Alena Mikhailova, directors Alexey Uchitel, Yuri Bykov, Mikhail Idov, Alexander Lungin, Grigory Dobrygin, Maria Agranovich, Klim Shipenko, and producers Eduard Pichugin and Ruben Dishdishan.

    What Are Top Figures Saying About Russian Film Week 

    Filip Perkon, Russian Film Week and Golden Unicorn Awards founder and general producer, said that over 340 applications were received to join the festival.

    He said: “We believe in our mission – to exchange and enrich Russian and European cultures through cinema and engage more and more of the foreign audience. Increasing the number of visitors of the Russian Film Week year to year proves that our goal is successfully accomplishing.

    Speaking at the opening, Mr Perkon called Leicester Square's ODEON Luxe the "home of all movie premieres" and "mighty London Film Festival", as well as the "beating heart of culture and entertainment in London".

    Hosting the Russian Film Week's opening night at the iconic venue would help "put Russian cinema and films on the world stage and show [attendeess] what great talent Russia has to offer", he said.

    Director Klim Shipenko said that he was inspired to make a "straight comedy film" rather than a traditional romantic comedy, adding that there was a "very recognisable character" in the film's protagonist.

    "I have encountered many times in my life these kids that are lost and find their way after ruining their lives by thinking that they can do anything they want", he said.

    Commenting on the film's setting, Mr Shipenko found the remote village complete with a smaller set and a larger one was "built onto that" to film the movie in order to create a filming style suitable for comedy which was "not only jokes and laughs" but rather to attract viewers to the big screen.

    Russian Film Week will run from 24 November to 1 December, and take place at landmark venues across the UK, including the BFI Southbank, Ciné Lumière, Curzon Mayfair, ODEON Luxe Leicester Square, among others in London, Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge and Edinburgh. The event was co-organised by Synergy University and Rock Films, and supported by the Russian Federation Ministry of Culture. Sponsors such as Gazprom and Blavatnik Family Foundation, as well as a host of partners including Kaspersky, Pushkin House, and the University of Edinburgh.

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