Vladimir Medinsky
Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation

I gladly welcome the organizers, participants and guests of the XVI International Debut Film Festival “Spirit of Fire”! The annual film forum in Khanty-Mansiysk is a relevant venue for the artistic experiments by young authors. The high level of the movies presented in the festival as well as the names of the esteemed jury members representing the world cinema elite, make “Spirit of Fire” an important event in the cultural life of the country. The organizers of the festival have every right to be proud of the festival traditions, of the creative working atmosphere and the rich palette of films in competition.It is highly important the “Spirit of Fire” is noted not only for the diversity of the program but also for the hospitable, kind-hearted treatment of the participants. That is one of the reasons why the festival has been sought-after for many years, it is interesting for talented debutants and well-established masters. I am sure that the present “Spirit of Fire” will be a real holiday for the inhabitants and guests of the KhantyMansiysk Autonomous Region. I wish all the participants in the festival creative victories, the realization of the most daring ideas and new projects, and to the viewers I wish bright impressions from encounters with quality cinema!

Natalia Komarova
Governor of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region — Yugra

Dear festival participants, guests and residents of Yugra! Big cinema again will come to KhantyMansiysk in Yugra! The International Debut Film Festival “Spirit of Fire” will start for the 16th time! Residents of Yugra welcome masters of Russian and world cinema, young talented filmmakers, who are paving their way into the boundless world of cinema art. For the audience the festival period is time for reflections. For filmmakers it is a chance to meet and exchange opinions with their colleagues, to get new energy, find new ideas and inspiration. For us, the residents of the autonomous district, the film festival “Spirit of Fire” is one of the most anticipated events in the cultural life of the region. We greet festival guests, many of whom have already become friends of Yugra. I am sure that everyone will be pleased with our hospitality. Dear friends, I strongly believe that “Spirit of Fire” will become an authoritative platform for creative intercourse, for development of young professionals.Let it be remembered for its rich program, interesting debuts and meet expectations of the most demanding lovers of cinema!

Sergei Solovyov
Film director, President of the festival "Spirit of Fire"

Dear friends!
This spring hospitable Yugra welcomes the large-scale International Debut Film Festival “Spirit of Fire” for the 16th time. The festival has not started yet but we already have reason to celebrate. Russian cinema is gaining power, is becoming more mature and stronger, commercially as well. Statistics indicate exclusive attendance for “Upward Motion” released by the TriTe Studio. Serious press also appreciated the movie. These are very good results. We expect a wave of Russian debuts to confirm the success. We should wait and hope. All the more so because this year our expectations are high and indicative. Let us recall our own first cinematic impressions, our old assessment of it. Those assessments might be naïve, straightforward and single-hearted, but cinema itself, cinematic premieres always presuppose this straightforward joy of the encounter between the movie and its viewers. Our opinion might be naïve, talking to each other about a new movie we asked only two questions: was it about love or about war. We remember, love and appreciate the great Russian cinematic saga about war. We hope for the continuation about love. Think for yourself: if not love, then what? As the poet Mayakovsky used to write, “about IT”. He was guided by his sense of hope and chastity. Let our young filmmakers have the same feelings of chastity and hope. Then we will see a new remarkable cycle of film works about love created by young authors. 

Maria Zvereva
Vice-President of the Festival

Dear friends! My address to you is far from formality. Participants of our first festivals have grown from newcomers to experienced filmmakers. Young cine-goers from Yugra, who began to “study cinema art” at special lessons conducted by “Spirit of Fire”, now visit shows rated 18+. We hope that this year we will keep the most important for us. In this catalogue you will find all necessary information about main competitions and programs. Some of them, competition of shorts, for example, we have enlarged because you appreciated it. Our forum has already come of age and thus demands further development. “Spirit of Fire” is in its 16 years. So it’s time to move from school programs to academic ones. That’s why this year we organize the Academy of “Spirit of Fire” together with Arzamas Academy. Now addressing the festival guests and participants instead of the usual “go to the halls, watch movies!” we can say in a new way. Watch good movies, listen to brilliant lecturers! A week of remarkable possibilities is waiting for you!

Boris Nelepo
Chairman of the Selections Committee

Hello! It’s a great honor to welcome you at our festival. The selection committee has prepared two competitions, the Russian and the international. It’s a privilege to be screening these films. The eight films in the international competition form seven allusions and rhymes. At festivals we can sometimes witness the miracle of coincidence, when a certain polyphony appears. Filmmakers from different countries seem to enter into conversation with each other. “The First Lap” by Kim Dae-hwan and “Milla” by Valerie Massadian start with the particulars. The starting point is a story of love, the relationship inside a couple (you’ve already noticed the cover page of our catalogue!). The South Korean movie depicts the social structure of the country through the life of a family, focusing on the complicated balance of interactions between different generations. The paradox of “Milla” lies in the conjunction of the poetic and the documentary. People dissolve into scenery, nature is incredibly beautiful, but it can be ruthless. Norman Leto’s “Photon” carries on the dialogue, transitioning from the family to the mechanics of the Universe. Confusion in the face of the past, uncertainty about the future, the unity of all things. We go on exploring the territory of fantasy in “Once There Was Brasília” by Adirley Queirós. He defines his film as a fantastic documentary. In it thanks to the power of cinema and their belief in imagination the abused and insulted become superheroes. This is the only form of resistance available to them. We find resistance of the similar nature in “The Genre” by Klim Kozinsky, a graduate of the Studio of Individual Direction by Boris Yukhananov (during the festival we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Russian independent school of directing.) From the “August” theatre in “The Genre” we shift to Switzerland, to a theatrical class in “Sarah Plays A Werewolf” by Katharina Wyss. And finally “Notes on an Appearance” by Ricky d’Ambrose and “Classical Period” by Ted Fendt bring together all the festival themes. Who is he, the man of the 21st century? What is he made of? How does he locate himself in the boundless sea of digital information, how does he relate to the past whether the modernist art of the 20th century or the great achievements of the classical epoch, which is sometimes perceived as submerged, unattainable Atlantis?.. See you at the movies!