Russia is a country of surprises when it comes to film festivals. Sochi may be Russia's own Cannes, but the present hardships and bright future of the Russian film industry seem to better be contemplated in less luxurious conditions. The annual festival of cinematographic debutes, Spirit of Fire, takes place in Khanty-Mansiysk (Yugra), in the Ural Federal District, while the festival of film and theatre, Amur Autumn, comes every year to Blagoveschensk in Primorye.
Amur Autumn has traditionally attracted stage and cinema actors and directors who used this opportunity to meet the population of far-flung Russian territories, to tell people about life in art, how films are made and plays are staged. After a week in Russia's Far East the festival traditionally migrates to China for a few days. This year the festival will be visiting Harbin between 26 and 29 September.
The festival competition offers a generous selection of recent Russian features films and private company productions. Among this year's features - My Father is Baryshnikov (dir. D. Povolotsky, M. Drugoi), Three Women of Dostoyevsky (dir. Eu. Tashkov, A. Tashkov), A Guy from Mars (dir. S. Osipyan). The plays include a new production of Family Affair by Alexander Ostrovsky. Special screening programme consists of films by Valerio Mieli, Claudio Fragasso, Gian Paolo Cugno (Salvatore - Questa è la vita), and Flavio Ramos Tambellini.
The festival closes with the screening of A Hunted Princess, a new film by Svetlana Druzhinina, on the subject of Russian history in the 18th c. under the Romanovs (prior to Catherine the Great).