Nikolai Dostal: Kazan has Become a Beautiful European City
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Nikolai Dostal: Kazan has Become a Beautiful European City

26 April 2019

An honourable guest of the 15th Kazan Muslim Film Festival, a director, actor and screenwriter, a People's Artist of the Russian Federation, Nikolai Dostal, has presented his film ‘Peter on the Road to the Kingdom of Heaven’ at the festival. The events of the film take place in the small town of Kandalaksha of the Murmansk oblast in 1953 at the end of the Stalin era. Based on the story by Mikhail Kuraev, the film received the Golden Saint George at the Moscow International Film Festival in 2009.

Opening the meeting, Nikolai Dostal said that he has first visited Kazan in 1989, when he was filming ‘I am in Perfect Order’ with Andrey Tolubeyev and Pyotr Shcherbakov. In his second visit, the director chaired the jury board of the 13th Kazan Film Festival in 2017. ‘There is a huge difference! Kazan has changed and become a very beautiful, almost a European city’, shared his impressions the director. 

Answering the questions from the participants on his experience of being a jury member, Nikolay Dostal said that it was rather difficult and he is now trying not to judge the works of his colleagues, as ‘friends stop greeting you’. ‘Professional view is important. But if only I forget for a moment how the work was filmed, how the actors were playing and I am becoming a simple spectator, then it means, the film is really good’, explained the director. 

According to the director, the state of the Russian cinematography is still not sufficient. At the same time, both mass film industry within its new trends of films on sport and space and author films are facing the same issue of funding. Even there is state subsidies, the filming never pays off, which complicates the attraction of investments. However, according to the director, apart from funding issues, the main challenge of the Russian cinematography is the lack of good scenarios: ‘This is the secret of the power of Hollywood that knows how to write stories that are fun to watch. There are good camera operators in Russia, there are good actors and directors, but we have not enough writers in our field’, added Nikolay Dostal. 

Currently, the director is working on an 8-episode movie called ‘The Secret’, in which, the real historical figures are combined with a completely fictional characters. The scenario is based on a historical rumour on Alexander I, who tried to fake his death in Taganrog in 1825 and transform into an elderly man Fyodor Kuzmich.