Mintimer Shaimiev: ''If there is Cannes Festival, why dont' we have Kazan Festival?''

Mintimer Shaimiev: ''If there is Cannes Festival, why dont' we have Kazan Festival?'' Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

The Kazan International Muslim Film Festival, which has been held in the capital of Tatarstan for the fourteenth time, opened on 4 September in the cultural and entertainment complex Piramida. Read about how in Cannes Mintimer Shaimiev decided the fate of the future film forum, about whom Marat Basharov read poems and how many prizes are waiting for the winners in the report of Realnoe Vremya.

''And I came to Shaimiev''

Opening the film festival, its president, Chairman of the Council of the Muftis of Russia Sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin recalled that in 2005, when Kazan celebrated its 1000th anniversary, he wanted to do something unusual, and he came to then President of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev with a proposal to make a festival of Muslim cinema and was met with full understanding.

''Even now, our festival of Muslim cinema is the only one in the world,'' Ravil Gaynutdin reminded. He traditionally said a Muslim prayer, asking the Almighty for peace, mercy and blessing. ''To show the tolerance of Islam in the language of cinema, its spirit, openness — this is the task of the Kazan film festival,'' said its president.

His memories coincided with a similar excursion into the past of first President of Tatarstan, State Adviser, UNESCO special envoy for intercultural dialogue Mintimer Shaimiev, who was present in the hall of Piramida and came on stage to the thunder of applause. ''I was in Cannes with our delegation, watched the exhibition and thought: 'If there is Cannes Festival, why don't we have Kazan Festival?'' As a result, we decided and make it.

Starting modestly, the festival gradually gained prestige in the world, and not only Islamic. This year it has received a record number of applications — 967 from 57 countries. Sixty-five more films will be shown out of competition. The winners in the nominations will receive 15 prize statuettes — symbols of the festival. Its motto is as before and very humanistic – ''Through the dialogue of cultures to the culture of dialogue''.

Farid Mukhametshin read out greetings of the Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov

Speaking with a welcoming speech to the guests and participants of the Kazan festival, Chairman of the State Council Farid Mukhametshin noted that it is a great pleasure for him to participate in the opening of the film forum.

''Kazan once again has become the centre of intersection, mutual enrichment of world cultural and spiritual traditions, point of intersection for professionals and film lovers. Every year the festival is gaining more and more confidence in the hearts of moviegoers, strengthens its position, strengthens the authority not only in Russia but also in the world. It is symbolic that the UNESCO international forum has opened in Kazan today, which once again confirms that Tatarstan is the centre of attraction of cultures, the keeper of interfaith and interethnic peace and harmony. The holding of such events in our country makes a significant contribution to the strengthening of international cultural relations,'' the speaker of the parliament said.

He read out the greeting of President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, in which it was noted that for many years Tatarstan has been a platform for international forums, important economic, cultural and religious events. ''Kazan International Muslim Film Festival has rightfully become one of the distinctive trademarks of modern Tatarstan, having incorporated the best films of the Islamic world into its rich repertoire. Using the comprehensible language of cinema, it tells about the enduring spiritual values. It is very symbolic that the current film festival is held simultaneously with the Kazan intercultural dialogue forum under the auspices of UNESCO, in the year of celebrating the anniversaries of two outstanding philosophers and educators in Tatarstan — Tatar theologian Shigabutdin Mardzhani and Russian writer Leo Tolstoy,'' the head of Tatarstan said in the greeting.

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By Tatiana Mamaeva. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov