Children at Artek called the film Salyut-7 directed by Klim Shipenko the “best ever” – a clear favorite of the over 3,000-strong Big Children's Jury of the 26th Alye Parusa (Scarlet Sails) of Artek International Children’s Film Festival. Yet, it is the Best Cinematic Production category that holds the main intrigue of the festival for the fourth consecutive year. Of the nine films shot by children’s film crews guided by adult mentors, the jury selected the short film produced by the Camp Ozyorny children together with actress Anastasia Denisova.
The work of children's film crews under the guidance of experienced film industry figures was the most important activity at the Artek festival. The short films they shot in various genres competed for the Best Cinematic Production prize. This category was first introduced in 2015 and instantly became the young spectators’ favorite. While working on the films, the production crews handled everything from writing the script to post-production. They made films about friendship and love, about their life in Artek – anything that fit into the common theme in tune with the name of the session, From Dream to Achievement. The films were shown on the big screen at Artek Arena, followed by online voting of 3,500 Artek children.
Announcing the best children's project, Artek director Alexei Kasprzhak said the Best Cinematic Production category was the most important part of the evening. “I watched your movies with you here for the first time. Only 21 days here at Artek, and you begin to talk about the life here so accurately that there is no need for translation. Scarlet Sails is the story of a relationship between Assol and Gray and runs through a person’s entire life. If at some point you feel that you do not have such a story here and now, you need to prick yourself with something and say, “It's impossible to live like this!” I think a story begins with a person’s attitude to someone special to them. And I really hope that during your 21 days at Artek, you have certainly met someone special enough to want to take memories of them home with you.”
The Best Film prize went to the short Scarecrow, produced by the Camp Ozyorny crew and based on a well-known Eldar Ryazanov film, under the guidance of actress Anastasia Denisova, with 556 votes.
“This is my first time actually making a movie. That was cool! I really wanted to do something truthful, real and kind,” says Anastasia Denisova. “The general vote in Artek shows that we were not only heard, but understood correctly. I really wanted to show a strong individual who pursues her dream no matter what, show how the dream is born, and how she goes through all the stages and trials up to a breaking point at the end, where only a pure heart could turn the situation around. The most important thing is that the children actually came up with the story. They are special at Artek. And the atmosphere is special, too. They become special here. Artek is a whole world, a separate universe, and it is very in tune with me. My soul relaxes here.”
Maria Stepanova from Moscow, 16, the leading actress in the winning movie Scarecrow produced by the Camp Ozyorny crew unexpectedly became a star and a revelation of the festival: “It is hard to believe – my dream actually came true at Artek. I really wanted to be in the films. I dance in a company, and I want to continue dancing and acting in my life. Here for the first time I tried being an actress. We were so lucky with our producer – she is the best. It was Nastya Denisova who helped me get into the role, tune in to the right emotions. We came up with the idea, and Nastya helped us build the plot and go ahead. When there was a draw, we chose her for ourselves immediately. And suddenly she came up to me... Isn’t this a dream come true! This cannot be a mere coincidence! At Artek I took the steps from dream to achievement.”
The Big Children’s Jury also chose the winners in all the main categories of the film festival. Klim Shipenko’s Salyut-7, a Russia-produced drama set in 1985, won the Best Film prize.
The Last Warrior by Dmitry Dyachenko was recognized as The Most Fascinating Film; Finding Mother by Ruslan Akun as The Kindest Film; and Konstantin Khabensky’s Sobibor as the Wisest Film.
Anfisa Vistingauzen won the Best Child Actress prize for I Give You My Word 3, and Azamat Ulanov grabbed the Best Child Actor prize for his role in Finding Mother. Alina Lanina was awarded Best Actress for the film Pervye, and Alexander Samoilenko was named Best Actor for Salyut-7.
The annual special prize of the jury, For Commitment and Dedicated Service to Cinema, established in memory of children's director Isaak Magiton, who headed the Small Children's Jury of the film festival in Artek, was awarded to theater and cinema actor Nikolai Denisov. During the film festival, Artek marked the 50th anniversary of his first summer at Camp Yantarny. The children gave a special gift to the 1968 camper – they presented him with a stuffed Cheburashka, which was Camp Yantarny’s mascot many years ago.
During the festival, children at Artek watched several classic film masterpieces from the Golden Film Library in the retro cinema. A mixed crew from Artek camps, under the direction of the Mosfilm-Master studio represented by Alexander Solodovnikov, did a voice-work project on the Prostokvashino animated series, giving it a new Artek life.
The children took part in the daily workshops from famous Russian actors, including Andrei Sokolov, Olga Kabo, Sergei Garmash, Alexander Samoilenko, Yevgenia Bordzilovskaya, Aristarkh Venes, Mikhail Gorevoi, Sergei Rost, Sergei Chirkov, Pavel Sborshchikov, Sergei Godin, Tatyana Vasilishina, Kirill Zaitsev, Mikhail Dorozhkin, Evelina Bledans, Alexander Kuznetsov, Alexander Ryapolov, Anastasia Denisova, Yury Chernov, Yekaterina Volkova, Mikhail Mamayev and others.
The film festival featured an ethnographic Olympiad, Moscow: The Capital of Multiethnic Russia, with 15,000 participants. On behalf of the Moscow Department of Ethnic Policy, Interregional Ties and Tourism, president of the film festival Vasily Lanovoi awarded vouchers for a New Year trip to Moscow to children who did the best on the competitive assignment: Maxim Barsukov (Yantarny), Olga Sinelnikova (Kiparisny), Arina Dedova (Khrustalny) and Arina Kanbetova (Lazurny). Another five participants won six-month family passes to one of the most modern exhibition halls in Russia, the Russia is My History multimedia historical park at VDNKh in Moscow: Luiza Yakubova (Khrustalny), Nastasya Kovalyova (Morskoi), Gavriil Kupriyanov (Lazurny), Georgy Grechko (Morskoi) and Varvara Chadayeva (Morskoi).
Alye Parusa is one of the few cinema forums that combine the missions of cinema development and children’s education. The festival ended, saying goodbye to Artek until next year; representatives of the film industry recalled the best moments.
Tatyana Ilyina, animated film director and screenwriter: “For the third time, I'm shooting a movie with children. This year, we made the movie Mom Calls Three Times with the Camp Rechnoi crew. The children at Artek are wonderful. And every time, there is one of them who lights up more than the others. Our three leading actors did just great, like professionals. The children were make-up artists, actors, writers and assistant directors. They were most involved in the production. Cinematic production is the highlight of the film festival. Children have a very busy life. They get everything at once, like a pie that is multi-layered and creative, which will continue fueling them for many years. There is endless creative energy at Artek.”
Mikhail Gorevoi, theater and cinema actor, theater director: “I got the golden ticket – the chance to work with the Morskoi crew. The children are very bright and talented. We made a film called The Day of Dreams. We came up with the idea together. My role was to expose the children to the profession, cinema. I teach, but it is the first time I had such young students. My children asked me if we would get the grand prize. And I said, "We already got it!" You came in contact with this profession – and that’s great! I think we made an interesting film. I'm really full of emotion. We made a miracle with our own hands.”