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Variety names its top Russian film directors

Variety names its top Russian film directors
Sergei Puskepalis(pictured) and Grigory Dobrygin won joint Best Actor awards at Berlin in 2010 for How I Ended This Summer by Alexei Popogrebsky

25 March 2013

Variety Russia, the Russian-language edition of the US entertainment trade magazine, has named its top 15 internationally recognised film directors from Russia. The list was compiled from analysis of film directors at a number of international film festivals including Cannes, Venice and Berlin as well as a host of other, smaller gatherings such as Locarno. Although filled with many a high-profile film director, the list is just as notable for the names it omitted. Pavel Lungin, winner of best director at Cannes in 1990, and Alexei Balabanov, Russia’s master of chernukha films, are noticeably absent. Even those who have had more recent film success such as Bakur Bakuradze and Vasily Sigariev have been left out.

Variety Russia’s top 15 Russian directors are:

A master of Russian cinema, Alexander Sokurov has competed at Cannes, Berlin and Venice festival on many occasions. In 2011, he picked up the Golden Lion at Venice for his film Faust.

Andrey Zvyagintsev made a splash in 2003 when he was awarded the Golden Lion award at Venice for his debut film The Return. His next two films went on to premiere at Cannes with Elena winning the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival in 2011.

Titan of Russian cinema Nikita Mikhalkhov rose to fame in the Nineties after winning a Golden Lion for Urga in 1992. His win was followed by another two years later, this time an Oscar for Burnt by the Sun, a film about the Great Purge of the 1930s. Part two of the epic, which was included in the competition at Cannes in 2010, caused much embarrassment for the industry after it was revealed that as chair of the Russian Oscar selection committee, Mikhailkov had put forward his own film as the country’s contender.

Sergei Loznitsa is best known for his documentary films. Both of his first two features, My Joy and In the Fog, recently participated at Cannes with the latter winning the FIPRESCI Critics’ Prize in 2012.

Following the critical success of Koktebel in 2003, co-directed with Alexei Popogrebsky, Russian auteur Boris Khlebnikov had a brief hiatus on the international stage, before reappearing with A Long and Happy Life, which featured in the main competition at Berlin in 2013.

Alexei Popogrebsky is best known for How I Ended This Summer, for which he won best actor and cinematography awards at Berlin and separately, best film at the BFI London Film Festival in 2010. Propogrebsky is currently working on an English-language production starring Paul Bettany.

Anna Melinkyan‘s first debut film, Rusalka, took awards at Berlin, Karlovy Vody and Sundance in 2007.

Following in the footsteps of his recently deceased film director father, Alexei German Jr has already made a mark with his films Garpastum and Paper Solider, which picked up a Silver Lion at Venice in 2008.

Alexei Fedorchenko‘s film Silent Souls took the Golden Osella for best cinematography at Venice in 2010.

A winner at Korlovy Vary, Locarno and Rome, Kirill Serebrennikov‘s latest film, Betayal, was in competition at Venice last year.

Although Nikolai Khomeriki has not yet won any major awards, the 37-year-old is a favourite of the Cannes selection committee. His latest film, Heart’s Boomerang, has not, however, been a critical success.

Sergei Bodrov has been twice-nominated for the Academy Award for best foreign language film, first for Prisoner of the Mountains and then for Mongol. Now based in the US, Bodrov has turned his attention to scriptwriting over the last few years.

Although Alexei Uchitel has picked up awards at several East European film festivals over the past few years, he has not yet managed to break into the major festival circuit.

Tulpan, a film by Sergei Dvortsevoy, arguably more of a Kazakh native than a Russian, won in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes in 2008.

Alexei Mizgirev, a mentee of Pavel Lungin, is one of Russia’s rising stars. His latest chernuka feast was shown in the Panorama programme at Berlin in 2012.