Four days earlier, the festival had been opened by the goevernor of the Ugra Region, with a lot of ceremony and with music and dancing groups.
Film makers from Armenia, Iran, Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Brazil, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and of course the Russian Federation. There is a lot of press, constantly the local television crews approach people with questions such as ‘What do you think of the Festival’, ‘How do you like our town’, ‘What is the subject of your film?’. Ath the eind of the week, the crew leave for a journey of 1500 km over two days. Speaking of local…..
Beside the showings of the films proper there are a lot of discussions – unfortunately only in Russian – and many opportunities to talk with other film ers. Two students reading English are around to do all the translations.Khanty Mansiysk is three hours’ flying from Moscow, on the river Yrts which flows into the Ob. 58% of all Russian oil and 5% of the world production of oil comes from this region. Over the last twenty years, oil profits have been used to strenghten the economy of the region, and it shows. There are theaters, modern houses, shopping malls, parks with big statues and a good infrastructure in general. The original wooden houses of the region are now hard to find, a number of them have been moved to an open air museum. There is a geology department in the museum and a modern department of ‘Man and Nature’. In particular the Polish delegation if full of admiration. Everywhere there are touch screens and all signboard texts are in both Russian and English. Stuffed owls, forest birds and ducks stare at us in one room. In the next, the original Siberians, Khanty and Mansiysk are the subject. Even the personal stories of exiles from other parts of the former Soviet Russia, mainly told in photographs, are not forgotten.During the Stalin era, millions of Russians and even people from the then satellite states of the Soviet system were exiled to Siberia. There was nothing to live on and many did not survive. Hopelfully the people of the region will not forget the past while thining of the future. That is also the slogan of the Festival: ‘To Save and Preserve’.