From 1 to 14 February 2016, the region hosted the International Film Festival "Foreign Cinema Days", which became part of the cultural programme of the XXXVI Bandy World Championship. During these days citizens of Ulyanovsk and guests of the city could watch the films created in the countries participating in the Championship.
More than 20 films were showed at 5 city venues during the first week of February. The geography of the festival was quite wide: it covered 12 countries whose teams competed for the title of the Bandy World Champion. Among them were Belarus, Hungary, Germany, Kazakhstan, China, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, USA, Finland, Sweden and Estonia.
The festival "Foreign Cinema Days" was attended by honorable guests. So, on February 1 the Counsellor of Cultural Affairs of the Estonian Embassy in Russia, Dimitri Mironov, who presented the first film of the festival – "An Estonian in Paris", was to host the festival opening.
"I would like to express my gratitude to the organizers of the festival, because without the Foundation "Ulyanovsk – Capital of Culture" or without the Foundation's partners such as cinema theatre "Hudozhestvenniy" and other venues that will show the movies, it would have been impossible. And for our Embassy, it is very important that we can represent our culture not only in Moscow but in the regions due to the fact that there are such reliable partners, as here," said Dimitri Mironov.
On February 2 and 3 the screenings of the films created in Sweden were attended by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sweden in Russia Peter Erickson and the Counsellor of Cultural Affairs of the Embassy of Sweden in Russia Stefan Ingvarsson.
Before the screening of the documentary film "Bikes vs Cars" Peter Erickson addressed the audience with the welcoming speech in which he stressed that environmental problems is a global challenge for all: "Last year in Paris, the Governments of many countries of the world agreed to work out a new climate agreement until 2020. But solutions to existing problems cannot be found only by governments: enterprises, more than 200 researchers and organizations all around the world develop the tools that will become the communications and energy solutions of the future. And the "Bikes vs Cars" is a film, which collected these voices".
The choice of the second movie – a feature film "Ego" about a suddenly blinded young man – was not accidental as well. "The film "Ego" tells about how we can lose our functionality and suddenly find ourselves in another reality. And we want to talk to other countries and cities about these issues that we need to solve. Indeed, as shown by the Swedish experience, when we create an accessible environment for people with disabilities, we create it for all, because, for example, families with strollers can then move around the city", commented the Counsellor of Cultural Affairs of the Embassy of Sweden in Russia Stefan Ingvarsson.
Presenting the documentary "Let the Scream Be Heard”, which the audience could watch on February 7, Minister-Counsellor of the Kingdom of Norway in Moscow Olav-Nils Thue thanked the organizers of the Film festival "Days of International Cinema" for the invitation to participate and noted: "In Russia they like to say: "Pushkin is our everything", "Tchaikovsky is our everything" or “Serov is our everything”. In Norway, if we are talking about literature, we say: "Ibsen is our everything", about music -"Grieg is our everything”, but if we are talking about art, no doubt, it’s Edvard Munch – he really is "our everything" in Norway".
On February 14 a creative meeting with an Estonian director Hardy Volmer and a screening of his film "Live pictures", which closed the Festival "Days of International Cinema", were held: "I am very glad that I was invited to the Festival "Days of International Cinema", thanks for that to its organizers. However, there is a special reason why I am especially happy to visit this city and this also concerns cinema. The reason is that one of my fiction films is about Lenin, although there are many of them. By the will of fate I got here, Ulyanovsk, and shortly before the show I visited the Lenin memorial, so for me it's very interesting and important."
Among the films presented in the programme of the festival, there were ones targeted at an adult audience, as well as for school students. The vast majority of the movies were accompanied by Russian subtitles, so that the audience could hear the real sound of voices of foreign actors. The entrance to all the film screenings within the Days of Foreign Cinema was free.
"Such kind of art as cinema connects people all around the world and at the same time reflects the cultures of the countries the films were created in. Therefore, the holding of this festival we believe to be a good opportunity to get acquainted with the countries that participate in the Bandy World Championship, and to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of this festival of sport", – says the Director of the Foundation "Ulyanovsk – Capital of Culture" Galina Muromtseva.
The film shows were attended by 880 people in total.
"Despite the drama genre, the film "An Estonian in Paris" is very easy to watch – it has a subtle sense of humor, and its narrative is painted in light colors. The theme of the film is also nontrivial, and I think few people would be able to convey it so that the film could be watched on one breath, but in this case the director has fully managed it", – one of the spectators told about her feelings after watching.
"The film "Ego" has made a serious impression on me, because we really don’t think about the fact that life at any moment can bring us such terrible situations as happened to the main character . And after watching you start to rethink how you live, who's there with you now..." – the spectator Natalia shared her impressions.
"I have lived quite a long life, an eventful life, but at the festival of international cinema I am for the first time. It's something! Documentary and feature films touch the soul. In all countries people are just like us – happy and not very happy. The staff of "Lumiere" prepossess to communicate, very friendly, make you want to come here again and again," one of spectators has left her opinion in a special book of the cinema theatre "Lumiere".
The International film festival "Days of International Cinema" was held within the Year of Russian cinema in Russia. The organizers of the festival were the Ministry of Art and Cultural Policy of the Ulyanovsk region, the Directorate of the XXXVI Bandy World Championship-2016 and the Foundation "Ulyanovsk – Capital of Culture". The partners of the festival are "UlyanovskKinoFond", Russian-Chinese center of strategic partnership of UlSU, "The Lenin memorial", cinema theatre "Hudozhestvenniy", sports bar "Kedy", cafe-restaurant "Tyotya Motya".