The President of the Republic of Tatarstan: Kazan Became the Centre of Mutual Enrichment of Cultures and Spiritual Traditions

The opening ceremony of the 13th edition of Kazan Muslim Film Festival was held on the 5th September at Piramida Cultural Centre. The event was attended by Rustam Minnikhanov, the President of the Republic of Tatarstan. 

He cordially welcomed the participants of the festival: “Kazan has once and again become a crossroad for mutual enrichment of cultures and spiritual traditions. It is now an attraction point for film industry professionals and amateurs of cinema. Every year the festival reaches their hearts and enhances its position in Russian and international arena. I am pleased that the members of film community from various countries re-visit Kazan festival, presenting their new works. The motto of the festival ‘Through dialogue of cultures to the culture of dialogue’ reflects the actual values of Islam, calling for interreligious and intercultural communication and creativity”.

At the opening ceremony, the Chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis, sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin addressed the guests with traditional Muslim greetings: “I am proud that we have established a Muslim Film Festival. It is an absolutely unique event taking place in multicultural and multireligious Russian Federation”. He also admitted that the opening ceremony is attended by the guests and participants of Spiritual Silk Roads Conference, who previously attended the opening ceremony of newly established Bolgar Islamic Academy. “The richness of spiritual and cultural events in Kazan is delighting”, added sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin, the president of Kazan Muslim Film Festival and officially opened the 13th edition of Kazan Muslim Film Festival.

A special guest of the 13th edition of the festival, a Russian meritorious artist, a member of Russian Union of Writers, Vladimir Konkin was one of the masters of the opening ceremony. Addressing the guests of the ceremony, he highlighted that the Kazan Kremlin with its two Russian greatest symbols, a mosque and an Orthodox church, is located close to the ceremony venue: “They are standing as two knights, two warriors, safeguarding our land from meanness and oblivion. They will never let us forget a great Tatar poet Musa Dzhalil and his Moabit Notebooks”, said Vladimir Konkin and cited a fragment from his book ‘Pushkin Knows’, where a Tatar hero teaches Tatar language to a Russian boy. “Thank you for your great job of organising this wonderful event in this land. You are the one, who unites different nations and provides an opportunity to art to win devils”, concluded Vladimir Konkin.

In 2017, the festival organising committee received 782 entries from 61 countries. 60 films from 27 countries were shortlisted, while others entered out-of-competition segment. The 13th edition of the festival is held in partnership with Russia – Islamic World Strategic Vision Group currently headed by the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov. Alireza Shahrohi from Iran, one of the members of Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group countries, also welcomed the guests of the ceremony. Mentioning the recent events in Birma, he expressed his deepest wishes for re-establishment of peace in this region and highlighted a special significance of the Kazan Muslim Film Festival.

The opening ceremony included a presentation of competition nominations as well as a separate presentation of the festival opening film, Our Preacher (Egypt). The director of the film, Magdy Ahmed Aly, expressed his thanks to the President of the Republic of Tatarstan and the organising team for providing a privilege to open the festival: “I am surprised, because I come to the country, where Muslim films are screened, while in my country, a lot of people are against them. I have realised that there are no contradictions between culture and Islam. My film is forbidden almost in every Arab state. It was shown only in Egypt. This film reflects that Islam is a religion of tolerance and love between peoples of different confessions”, noted Magdy Ahmed Aly.

A Russian actor and film director Sergey Makhovikov rendered a song from ‘The Cranes Are Flying’ film by Mikhail Kalatozov. “It is delighting that Russian film industry members are visiting both Muslim and Orthodox film festivals. This solidarity and unification is absolutely vital for us”, admitted Sergey Makhovikov.

Solidarity was also mentioned by a Russian meritorious artist, a laureate of state prize of the USSR, Olga Ostroumova: ‘The motto of the festival ‘Through dialogue of cultures to the culture of dialogue’ express our current necessities. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said that the only real luxury is the luxury of human communication. I hope that the participants will enjoy human communications provided by the festival”, commented Olga Ostroumova.

A Russian meritorious artist, Svetlana Svetlichnaya in her welcoming speached addressed to guests mentioned that this is her second visit to Kazan and she hope to re-visit the city in the future. She read a poem by Maximillian Voloshin.

An acrobatic performance by Kalutsky brothers set the hearts of the guests of the ceremony aflutter. A Russian actor and film director, Kirill Pletnev evaluated their duet as a reflection of support that one can provide to other. Kirill Pletnev is participating in a Cinema Time Forum, opened within the framework of the festival, where he presented his new film ‘Light Up!’. He noticed that sometimes people may loose their ability to hear each other. “An attempt to establish a dialogue, a dialogue between Islam and Orthodox religions, between Russia and the world is absolutely vital”, added Kirill Pletnev.

The Egyptian delegation is the most numerous one at the 2017 festival, which is not a coincidence. Kazan International Muslim Film Festival is cooperating with Aswan Women International Film Festival. During the opening ceremony, the president of the festival, an actress, Elham Shahin recalled her memories from her first visit to the Kazan festival, when Russian mufti hand out her award: “This is an answer for people with extremist visions going against arts. The Kazan festival means a lot for the whole world. It unites religions and arts”.

A meritorious artists of the Republic of Tatarstan, a laureate of state prize of the Russian Federation, Marat Basharov addressed the guests of the ceremony mostly in Tatar language and confessed that he would prefer to stay at the stage of the festival as a nomine. He performed a song in Tatar language, warmly welcomed by the guests of the ceremony.

A longstanding applause was also received by the jury board of the festival constituted by 20 leading cinema industry members from 11 countries. The enhancement of the jury board is an introduction of the 13th edition of the festival. The head of the jury board, a Russian actor, Nikolay Dostal, highlighted that the board may event be included to a Russaicn actor, this is a cause for be inscribed to Hines Record Book as the most numerous jury board of a film festival. Traditionally, each jury membersreceived Tatar national headwear as a gift from the festival. “We promise to be unbiased, but impressionistic. When many impressions meet, a decision taken becomes impersonal and fair-minded” highlighted Nikolay Dostal.

The opening ceremony finished by the festival anthem.