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    "SPIRIT OF FIRE" INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OPENS IN KHANTY-MANSIISK

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    KHANTY-MANSIISK, March 12 (RIA Novosti) - The second "Spirit of Fire" international film festival opened in Khanty-Mansiisk, the center of an autonomous area in the Western Siberia, on Friday. Nine of the best directors in the world's debut films were selected to be shown at the festival.

    "A Breach in the Wall" (Sweden), "Laugher and Punishment" (France), "21Grams" (Mexico), "Small People" (Kazakhstan) are among the films being shown at the festival. Russia is represented by Andrei Zvyagintsev's "The Return," Pyotr Buslov's "Bumer" and Aleksei German's "The Last Train."

    "Many significant changes in Russian cinema occurred in 2003," the president of the festival and a famous Russian director, Sergei Solovyov, told journalists. "Andrei Zvyagintsev's debut work 'The Return' won two awards at the Venetian film festival and was nominated for and Oscar. Koktebel was silver prize winner at the Moscow film festival and 'Bumer' is the highest grossing film at the Russian box office," he added.

    According to Mr. Solovyov, this suggests that "the Khanty-Mansiisk film festival is not only a good way to spend free time but an important state cultural business aimed at the revival and development of Russian films."

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