Open Russian Festival of Animated Film
The Open Russian Festival of Animated Film (Russian: Откры́тый Росси́йский Фестива́ль Анимацио́нного Кино́) is an annual animation film festival held in Suzdal, Russia. It is the only festival devoted to professional appraisal of domestic Russian animation. The festival takes place in late winter or early spring (in 2007 it was on the first five days of March) and accepts only animated films from the Russian Federation and (after a 1999 referendum) from Belarus made in the last three years.
Alongside the in-contest and general film screenings, the festival organizes round-table talk sessions, press conferences, master classes and presentations.
The festival was first held in 1996 at a boarding house called "Birch Grove" near the town of Tarusa. Because of the extreme scarcity of Russian animation in the post-perestroika era, submissions from the last three years were accepted. Along with auteur films, commercial reels, video clips and television bumpers were allowed.
The prizes were handed out according to profession, and any member or guest of the festival was able to vote for their favourite film. The three leading winners were given wooden planks hewn by founder and president Aleksandr Tatarskiy and signed by their colleagues. In addition to the festival, the location offered fresh air, skiing, and nearby historic sites. The festival in general was noted for its laid-back nature and served as a gathering for animators who otherwise had few opportunities to see each other in an era after the break-up of Soyuzmultfilm. Andrey Khrzhanovskiy says that it was a partial replacement for the Soviet tradition of having yearly screenings and discussions of all films from all studios at the Cinematographer's Union (which was open to the best film critics of the country). The tradition stopped in the 1990s, leaving all studios (animation studios included) with no way to connect.
For the first number of years, the festival did not have an official name and was known simply as "Tarusoy" (Тарусой).
In 2002, the festival changed its location to Suzdal's tourist centre, where it is held to this day. The jury situation also changed, and since 2006 films have been judged by a panel of 33 respected Russian animation professionals representing many varied professions in the art. 2008 was the first festival held after the death of Aleksandr Tatarskiy, who had headed all the previous festivals. The artistic director in his place was Aleksandr Gerasimov.
Historically, the prizes have varied in different years; on some years the jury decided to not give out a Grand Prix and other years featured specific awards tailor-made to the films which were in the competition. In 2007, the prizes were: Grand Prix (also 2nd and 3rd place), Best Direction, Best Dramaturgy, Best Visuals, Best Animation, Best Sound, Best Student Film, Best Interstitial Animation and Best Film for Children.
Additionally, before 2009, the festival allowed internet users of Rambler Vision to see the films first and vote for their favourites. The Prize of Audience Sympathies was awarded at the closing ceremony.
- History of Russian animation
- KROK International Animated Films Festival
- List of regional animation festivals
- Official website (Russian)
- 2007 entries on Rambler Vision (46 out of the total 61 can be viewed, though some only partially)