The competition program of the 8th International Film Festival On the Edge in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk will include new films by Avdotya Smirnova and Alexei Fedorchenko. Kinotavr's winner will be screened out of competition.
Natalia Meshchaninova's film Core of the World, winner of the Grand Prix at Kinotavr film festival, will be screened out of competition at the 8th Sakhalin International Film Festival "On the Edge". The film will be presented by the leading actor, winner of the Best Actor prize at Kinotavr Stepan Devonin.
Russia will be represented in the main competition program at On the Edge by Avdotya Smirnova's The Story of an Appointment and Alexei Fedorchenko's Anna's War. Both films have also participated in the competition at Kinotavr, The Story of an Appointment receiving the prize for Best Screenplay.
Alexei Fedorchenko is a regular participant in the competition programs of prestigious film festival around the world, and Anna's War premiered this year at Rotterdam. For many years, writer and author of screenplays Denis Osokin was Fedorchenko's co-creator, and together they made Ovsyanki, Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari, and Angels of Revolution. Fedorchenko wrote his new film with Natalia Meshchaninova, co-author of the screenplay for Boris Khlebnikov's Arrhythmia, winner of the Grand Prix at Kinotavr last year. Anna, the film's protagonist played by Marta Kozlova, is a young Jewish girl, who miraculously survives a Nazi shooting – her mother covers her with her body. Anna comes to her neighbors for help and instead they take her to the commandant's office, where she escapes the commandant and hides in a disused chimney. The little girl lives in the chimney throughout the unfolding of the film – from autumn to Christmas – and the chimney becomes her prison and at the same time her safe haven. The film uses next to no words, it consists of microevents and microplots, like looking for water and food – the girl only climbs out of the chimney at night, ghost-like – and the almost deliberate symbolic construction enters into a conflictual dialog with the hyperrealistic screenplay and manner of photography (outstanding work by Alisher Khamidkhodzhaev), turning this Holocaust parable into a true horror story. Director Alexei Fedorchenko will present the film at On the Edge.
The Story of an Appointment is Avdotya Smirnova's fourth full-length feature film, and her filmography as a director also includes Fathers and Sons, a mini-series based on Ivan Turgenev's novel of the same name. At the heart of The Story of an Appointment is the appointment of lieutenant Grigory Kolokoltsev (played by Alexei Smirnov) to an infantry regiment in the remote Tula region. Kolokoltsev, obsessed with liberal ideas, escapes there from Moscow after a row with his father, an army general (played by Andrey Smirnov). On his way to the regiment, the lieutenant meets the young but already well-known writer count Leo Tolstoy (played by Evgeny Kharitonov). Kolokoltsev rushes to tell Tolstoy the story of blatant injustice he witnessed in the regiment: a modest clerk, private Vasily Shabunin is to be sentenced to death by firing squad for a hideously insignificant blunder. Tolstoy decides to act as the soldier's defendant in court. The film is based on a true story – private Shabunin's court case is known to have had a major impact on Tolstoy's worldview.
A Sakhalin native hailing from the town of Poronaysk, graduate of the Sakhalin Theater School (class of A. Polyankin) and actor at Chekhov Center in the years 1998–2000, Evgeny Kharitonov who plays Leo Tolstoy will present Avdotya Smirnova's film at the Sakhalin film festival. Evgeny Kharitonov has performed a number of remarkable theater roles at Moscow's famed Gogol Center as well as in the films by Aleksandr Kott (The Brest Fortress), Andrey Proshkin (The Horde) and Andrey Smirnov (Once Upon a Time There Lived a Simple Woman).