Welcome speech


Dear friends!

I am happy to welcome you on the pages of this site. This prominent forum, eagerly awaited by the citizens and guests of the island region, has become known not only in Russia, but abroad. It has become a respected venue for showcasing achievements in world filmmaking.

Filmmakers of today look for and find new ways of influencing the audience, using the experience of film masters of the past, the latest technical solutions and their own know-how. They work towards the development of this art form, towards making it more and more universal and accessible to the popular masses. This helps to raise the standards of the international cultural dialogue and to take it to a new level.

I am sure that the Festival “On the Edge” will make a notable contribution to the strengthening of international cooperation. The viewers will see about a hundred movies from Russia and 20 countries of Europe, Asia, the Near East, North America and Australia.

It is symbolic that in the Year of Culture a Sakhalin filmmaker Oksana Bychkova presents her work in competition. It is the evidence of the high creative potential of our fellow countrymen which we must support in every possible way. For this reason some screenings will be held outside the regional centre.

To all the participants of the Festival “On the Edge” I wish encounters with interesting and talented people and to the guests I wish memorable impressions from the wonderful and alluring world of film art!

Alexandr Khoroshavin,
Governor of the Sakhalin Region


Dear Friends!

For the Sakhalin region the IV International Sakhalin Film Festival is an epic event of the Year of Culture. The citizens of the island will get a chance to immerse themselves in the thrilling atmosphere of cinema, to meet their favourite actors and directors, to participate in master classes, to benefit from the invaluable experience of professional filmmakers.

During the Festival Week the Sakhalin region will become the crossroads of European and Asian cultural traditions, mutually enriching them, influencing the shaping of new trends in film art and giving a new impetus to the development of cinema on the island. This year’s Festival will bring to Sakhalin news from the well-established international venues like Cannes, Berlin and Venice as well as news from our closest neighbours – Japan, China and Korea.

I am sure that the Festival will occupy a prominent place in the cultural landscape of the Sakhalin region and will become another centre for the spiritual and creative growth of the islanders.

I wish all the participants high spirits, interesting discoveries and unforgettable encounters.

Irina Gonyukova,
Minister of Culture of the Sakhalin region

Dear citizens of Sakhalin!

Instead of the usual welcome message I want to present a song (which no one has as yet sung) to you. I wrote it last year.

I wish you long bright encounters with the best and really “the most important art”, the art of Cinema.

The end of the world, the land of exquisite bliss!
Making my life-long journey
I hold my breath like I did in childhood
Eager to look beyond the screen...

The land of Chekhov, of sunrise, of inspiration,
I bow to you, the romantic people
I wish you love and miracles and enthusiasm
Let the entire country live by your clock.

Movies, movies, a magic poison
Movies, movies, a miraculous land
The viewer will cry out Bravo!
Or whisper «What the hell?!»

We ate crabs struggling with their nippers;
A helicopter took us to Moneron;
We washed our boots in the Okhotsk sea;
We climbed the light-house as one climbs a throne.

Bloom and flower, the wonderful island
The sun and the rain become you.
It is not easy to get here
But we will come back, just wait for us!

Movies, movies, a magic poison
Movies, movies, a miraculous land
The viewer will cry out Bravo!
Or whisper «What the hell?!»

With the assistance of Olga Tsipenyuk

Alla Surikova,
Honorary President of the Festival,
People’s Artist of Russia,
Winner of the State Award of the Government of the Russian Federation

We do not know how much space in history text-books will be devoted to our lives. Future generations might see a whole chapter or merely a few lines in the description of this unimportant century. So far no living being can answer this question. At the same time each of us has his own life full of anxieties, discoveries and disillusionment. Since the very early days when we instinctively soak in the experience of others which is vitally necessary to us, we unconsciously start sharing our own experience with the world.No matter what we do during our lifetime, we merely rework other people’s experience, enrich it and pass on. Simple chemistry. The Festival “On the Edge” is a contemporary multimedia venue for exchanging personal experience.

A filmmaker shares his experience with the audience filled with ideas and emotions after the screening; a modern architect from a huge city talks to the citizens of the capital of the island, or rather a group of islands, who dream about a new urban era for their small homeland; a journalist writing for the whole country spends time with the teacher and schoolchildren from an ordinary school located 8 000 kilometers from the office of his publication. In other words the Festival is patterned after a usual human life, simple and unique. I hope everyone will live it to the full. And as for the future historians…

Welcome to our Festival!

Alexei Agranovich
General Producer of the
Sakhalin International Film Festival
«On The Edge»

Openness is the main quality that I was looking for when I selected films for the Sakhalin Film Festival (for the third year running). Our films must be simple (not in the sense that «simplicity is worse than robbery», but in the sense of translucency and depth which are characteristic of the masterpieces of Barnet, Bergman, Fellini. Not everyone can equal the great masters, but one prerequisite should remain intact: the movie must be accessible to the viewer who has brains, a
heart and curiosity. No extensive knowledge of the history of cinema should be required, a simple desire to understand must be sufficient.

This year — to my greatest regret — I had to give up this criterion. Why so? Can it be that the basic values have disappeared, those very values that formed the core of our programme for the last few years? Of course not. In our programme we continue to pay special attention to such values as mutual understanding, family, education of future generations. But the language used to bring these values home to the viewer has become more complicated. The simple language is deceiving, it assures us that we do not have to think, we may just agree. It is not true. Precisely this year, precisely today it turns out that we must think. Even when everything seems evident. But we must think how to understand each other, whom to choose as our life-long partner, what ideals should be used to educate our children. Without the mental effort all our ideas are doomed to failure.

That is why alongside the remarkable movies which seem to address evident maters (the Burmese «Monk», the Japanese «Still the Water», the Georgian «Blind Dates») the competition now includes more complex and controversial films (the Thai «From Pimple to Nirvana», the Indian «Ship of Theseus», the Russian «The Winter Will Not Come»). We will have to get used.
We will have to start thinking. Good luck. Thank you. It really is necessary.

Very often at Russian film festivals younger audiences are simply excluded, since the content is labeled by the organizers 18+, just to be on the safe side with the new Russian laws. Our approach is different. Please, watch the catalogue entries for the «Kids, welcome!» sign and bring your whole family to the screenings! Check the PG info, please.

Alexei Medvedev,
Director of programming of the
Sakhalin International Film Festival
«On The Edge»