For three days St. Petersburg became the center of concentration of stars, cultural events, bright premieres and heated debates. Ralph Fiennes, Fyodor Bondarchuk, Valery Gergiev, Gabriel Prokofiev and many others came to the Northern capital of Russia due the V St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum taking place from 1 to 3rd of December.
You speak this language, the language of art that needs no translation. Your talent, your mental generosity, your skills bring a heavy charge of creation and good, filling the world with inspiration, nobility and great spirituality. It’s no coincidence that servants of muses, artists, poets, actors and musicians, have an immense authority in our society. — addressed the participants of the V St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
The city became one big venue for the Forum – from the General Staff Building of the Hermitage to «Lenfilm», from Mariinsky Theater to Gatchina Palace. The Forum expanded its geography not only by city venues: participants from 90 states and all the Russian regions came to St. Petersburg – from Iceland to the RSA, from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad.
338 event took place at the Forum, and the number of participants reached 20.000 people. One of main topics was summing up the results of the Year of Russian Cinema. The Year of Cinema started at the last Forum, and now it was time to speak of its results. Much had been done: the Cinema Fund supported 46 fiction pictures and 10 animated feature films. Cinema grosses from Russian films were record since Soviet times. Government financing reached 7 billion roubles. New movies were watched by about 35 million people – a quarter of Russia’s population.
Heated debates over movies quotas, distribution problems and opening of new cinema halls took place at the Forum. The «Chapaev» project was presented – a multimedia platform with the whole information starting from the birth of Russian movies. Experts discussed the future of «Petersburg cinematheque», that allowed residents of the city to visit almost 50 unique cinema clubs’ movie presentations during the year. Another important event was signing of an agreement between «Lenfilm», «Glavkino» and Russian-Chinese fund for development of culture and education concerning the creation of a Chinese remake of the famous Russian movie «Amphibian man». The work on the film is planned for 2017 already.
At the Forum the director of «Soyuzmultfilm» Gleb Davydov told about changes and promising projects: the studio is preparing for launching their own TV-channel, and the new projects include follow-up of the «Kid and Karlson» and «Three from Prostokvashino».
The cross-cutting issue of the Forum this year was 125th anniversary of Sergey Prokofiev. The international symposium called «Prokofiev. XXI century» was devoted to the anniversary of the great composer; it was marked with classic and neoclassic music moving towards each other. While the Classic section gathered leading world music experts, the Non-classic section united electronic and jazz musicians, and each of them was asked the same question: «Did the works of Prokofiev influence the life of modern music?». The key guest of the symposium was Gabriel Prokofiev, a British DJ and composer, grandson of Sergey Prokofiev. Workshop in the «Palma» creative hall with a cellist Boris Andrianov, DJ-set in the «Tantsploshadka» club, which was even visited by the Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky – these performances by Gabriel Prokofiev became milestone events making people feel the presence of the Forum in the city, outside official venues.
Cultural influence on the image of a modern city was discussed by the participants of the «Creative environment and urban studies» section that worked as part of the Forum for the first time. It was Aristotle who first thought of an ideal polis that would satisfy citizens’ demands, including spiritual ones — reminded at the Forum Mikhail Shvydkoi. Culture influences the development of city, which in its turn influences spiritual development of city residents. Projects on creation of cultural city venues were presented during the Forum.
Sergey Kuznetsov and Valery Gergiev presented the project of a concert hall in the «Zaryadye» park and told about the importance of joint work during creation of concert venues. Also the project of creation of the Hermitage branch in Moscow on the territory of ex-ZIL factory was presented; it is aimed at implementing two tasks: creation of new exhibition hall and restoration. Issues of creative preservation of plant buildings, reasonable use of industrial areas as cultural centers were key ones for the «Preservation of the cultural heritage» section, too; participants of its events discussed the European experience of «cultural conversion» of industrial architecture.
Anniversary Forum in St. Petersburg showed that no sanctions and disputes can hinder international meeting and joint projects on all the areas of culture. This year’s Forum was visited by 750 foreign guests, 35 foreign delegations and 12 foreign ministers of culture. The integration of Postsoviet states had a special place in the program of the Forum. Meeting of dance art professionals on the ex-USSR territory, gala concert of leading professional and amateur performance groups of the CIS states and other events were devoted to the 25th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Meeting of leaders of international festivals, speeches of foreign experts and state officials showed that we are ready for the exchange of cultural experience both with Europe and the whole world, ready to discuss most important topics – preservation of cultural heritage, cultural rights in the context of international laws, relations between culture, authorities and public.
The Festival of Festivals that was aimed at enhancing and deepening international ties and cooperation took place this year for the first time.
«St. Petersburg and our Forum are ready to provide a vast number of venues, park areas and infrastructure. The experience of Edinburgh festival is close to us, because that managed to make their festival almost year-long. So is the experience of Avignon festival – the festival of modernized vision of art, which is always attracting, always a challenge. We have signed a series of agreements with the Forums of different countries and would like to continue the process for the creation of Association of International Festivals», — emphasized the importance of the event the Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Alexander Zhuravsky.
V St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum is dozens of interregional and international agreements, hundreds of bright speeches and heated debates, loud premieres of plays, movies and music pieces that were seen on these three days by residents and guests of the city on Neva. But the main thing is a possibility for the whole cultural community to share the results of their work and initiate new brave and inspiring projects.
Culture has a great power. It acquaints us with another world, gives us a chance to understand each other. The world needs culture that would unite us and make everyone a complete personality. And then, paraphrasing the words said by a genius actor Ralph Fiennes, the task of culture is to help you find yourself.