"On the Edge: Go West" is Russia's only festival where children and teenagers are not only the target audience, but have the right to vote, making up one of the two juries for the international competition. At almost any festival, the jury's decision is criticised by those who believe the judges lacked objectivity and the final results were a backroom deal. The Kaliningrad International Film Festival takes up an unusual approach to fix this - the voting will be done by children who will watch seven films of the international competition with a fresh eye and without bias or prejudice. The children's jury will have 10 members, all residents of Kaliningrad and the Kaliningrad region aged 12-17, and the moderator will be Kirill Ivanov, the frontman of music band Samoe Bolshoe Prostoe Chislo (The Biggest Prime Number) and a counsellor at the Kamchatka children's creative summer camp. To make sure the kids behave, the other jury is comprised of school teachers curated by Filipp Bakhtin, the Kamchatka camp's founder. At the festival, both juries will work independently until the moment they come face-to-face and decide on the winner of the Grand Prix. You can find the conditions for participation here.
Levitan Street project: territory for artistic search
In every town, there's a neighbourhood with a dodgy reputation and residents who have seen little of the sunny side of life. In Kaliningrad, such a neighbourhood is home to many orphanage graduates, and in the middle of it lies the Levitan Street which has given its name to one of the festival's projects. Leaders of this creative workshop were attracted to residents of Levitan Street and its surroundings because of their tough life experiences and an uncommon world view that often develop in such circumstances. The Levitan Street project aspires to get locals involved in creating urban myths for their neighbourhood and to prove that the so-called troublesome being provides a more nourishing environment for artists than well-off living. The project is divided in two parts. The first part is a documentary theatre workshop led by director Alexander Kudryashov and playwright Lyubov Strizhak. Workshop members will have a week to collect the material for a documentary play composed of observations on Kaliningrad residents and their own verbatim accounts. In the end it will become an immersive theatre performance which will be part of the festival's closing ceremony staged in the Kaliningrad Regional Drama Theatre. The second part of the Levitan Street project will be a documentary film workshop. Olga Privolnova, Marina Razbezhkina school's graduate and the workshop's curator, aims to challenge the conventional approach to documentary films and to teach to calibrate the "optics" of one's personal documentary vision. From the very first lesson, the participants will go to the streets of Kaliningrad in search of a story that will develop into a documentary film in a week's time. No special education in directing, camerawork or journalism is necessary to participate, and no special technical skills are needed - courage and an open mind should be just enough. Conditions for participation in the Levitan Street project
The main social objective of the "On the Edge: Go West" film festival is helping the elderly and including the elder generation of Kaliningrad in local cultural life. This is what the creative workshop "XX Century, According to", organised by educational website Arzamas, is aspiring to achieve. Programme participants will carry out their own ethnographic research with the help of Arzamas staff: they will listen, write down and edit stories told by people living in the House of Veterans, whose intertwined personal biographies form the fabric of the XX-century history coloured by unique human experiences. To structure these narratives, the organisers will offer Kaliningrad's long-time residents to choose an object they used in their everyday life. Later, these items, together with audio recordings, will form the base for a modern interactive museum where visitors can experience direct contact with human memory and the flow of time imprinted on it. Over time, similar expositions might be set up not only in the House of Veterans, but similar places which, under their outdated titles of 'old people's homes', hide genuine museums of living history, with every person there being a unique showpiece. Apply to take part in workshop "XX Century, According to"
WINNERS OF "ON THE EDGE: WEST" INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
FICTION.DOC Curated by Alexey Medvedev and Natalia Pylaeva
The jury for the Fiction.doc competition programme comprised Russian actors Viktoriya Tolstoganova and Yevgeny Stychkin, Serbian director Ognjen Glavonic and Kaliningrad philosopher and columnist Vladas Povilaitis.
The Grand Prix was awarded to "Midnight Family" (Mexico), a documentary by Luke Lorentzen.
The Special Prize was bestowed on French director and musician Ziegfried for his film "Riga. Take 1".
The Audience Award was won by the Danish film "False Confessions" by Katrine Philp.
FILMS TO GROW Curated by Maria Tereschenko
This competition programme was judged by two juries. One jury was made up of nine school children from Kaliningrad mentored by Kirill Ivanov, the frontman of the music band Samoe Bolshoe Prostoe Chislo (The Biggest Prime Number). The second panel comprised four Kaliningrad school teachers mentored by Filipp Bakhtin, the founder of Kamchatka, a camp for children. According to Festival rules, each jury could choose their own winners, but the decision on the Grand Prix had to be made collectively.
The Youth Jury Award "Its My Life" went to the Swedish film "Amateurs" by Gabriela Pichler. The Youth Jury Special Award for the most emotionally moving film to "Supa Modo" (Kenya), directed by Likarion Wainaina. The prize was handed to the 12-year-old actress Stycie Waweru.
The teachers' jury awarded Stycie Waweru, the lead character in "Supa Modo", with their Teachers Jury Award for Best Acting, and the Special Teachers Jury Award was given to the Russian film "Rezo" (also known as "Znaesh, Mama, Gde Ya Byl?") by Leo Gabriadze. Tae-yong Kim's "Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels" (South Korea) received the Special Mention of the Teachers Jury.
The consolidated vote of the two juries awarded the Grand Prix to "My Extraordinary Summer With Tess" by Steven Wouterlood (the Netherlands). This film also won the Audience Award.