Milyausha Aytuganova: ''We have the visit of Steven Seagal provided in the budget''
Director of TatarKino tells about the main highlights the Kazan International Festival of Muslim Cinema
Less than a month is left before the opening of the Kazan International Festival of Muslim Cinema. Who will be its guests of honour and whether there will be a movie star of world level? Read the details in an interview with director of TatarKino Milyausha Aytuganova.
New award at 200,000 rubles
Ms Aytuganova, how did it happen that the Kazan International Festival of Muslim Cinema began to collaborate with the group of strategic vision ''Russia — Islamic world''?
Last year, after when the festival finished, it was decided at the level of the Republic government, since this group is headed by President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov. The festival is a platform where Islamic countries gather. It was decided that the filmmakers of our countries could integrate into our festival and this event could be part of the strategic vision group. The idea was well received in the group itself, and this year there has been introduced the award from the group of strategic vision ''Russia — Islamic world'', it is 200,000 rubles.
''We are planning the opening of the exhibition at the Museum of Islamic culture in the Kazan Kremlin, it is scheduled for 6 September. The exposition comes from St. Petersburg. After the opening of the exhibition it is planned ''a round table'' meeting of filmmakers of the Islamic countries.'' Photo: kazan-kremlin.ru
What else will be at the festival in cooperation with the group of strategic vision?
We are planning the opening of the exhibition at the Museum of Islamic culture in the Kazan Kremlin, it is scheduled for 6 September. The exposition comes from St. Petersburg. After the opening of the exhibition it is planned ''a round table'' meeting of filmmakers of the Islamic countries. The purpose of this event is to clarify how in Islamic countries cinema is developing, what is the cooperation with Russia. It's all logical, because in the center of Russia — in Tatarstan — there is a festival where the filmmakers are coming from Islamic countries. From 1 to 4 September in Kazan there will take place the conference ''Spiritual path'', it is also held by the group of strategic vision, those participants that will leave later will be guests of the festival. Although our festival is, of course, not a religious event, we bring the idea of secular Islam. We have the motto — ''Through the dialogue of cultures to the culture of dialogue''. But all our films profess eternal values written in Quran and in the Bible.
''We have a special content''
What is the range of festival films this year?
It is very wide. I am glad that the quality of films is very high. Recently, I have participated in several international film festivals; of course, the Kazan festival stands out in terms of programme and films. Those films that we have announced, it is impossible to watch them anywhere in Russia. It is the special content.
It is good, kind, moral cinema. They contain no violence, murders, although it would seem, in this world there are a lot of conflicts, but nothing of this kind is in the festival films. This year the festival involves, for example, the countries of South Asia, the Indian subcontinent is represented. And they are all surprisingly interesting works. The countries are not advanced, but the films are good, and it's a phenomenon.
Are there someone from the clergy among the selectors this year?
No, but the representatives of MSB RT (the Muslim Spiritual Board of Tatarstan) watched the opening film Our Preacher, it is an Egyptian film. We have planned an open air screening in the Kazan Kremlin. We needed to enlist the opinion of the clergy. They were impressed by Our Preacher. We realized that we made the right choice.
''We can submit more Tatarstan films''
This year the festival has a separate category Tatarstan Cinema, why?
The idea was born last year, but in general it is a ususal practice at all festivals — to make the national section. For example, in February I was in Egypt, at the first Aswan festival of women's cinema, there I saw that the Egyptian cinema in a separate category. We know that every year Tatarstan films participate, but given a variety of films and a large number of countries that participate in the festival, of course, we want to see our films as many as possible. But we can't submit many Tatarstan films because other countries also want to participate. And, of course, compared to films that come to the festival, especially full-length fiction films, we still do not reach a certain level. Tatarstan cinema is developing, we have a lot of films that are made in our republic.
Is there a chance that this year the festival will invite a world star?If our budget is approved, it may be. The arrival of Steven Seagal is provided in the budget. Preliminary talks have been conducted, but there is little time before the festival, so even if the budget is approved it is difficult to tell whether Seagal will be able to come to Kazan. Although we really want it.