The short list of KIMFF 2023 has been announced
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The short list of KIMFF 2023 has been announced

13 July 2023

The short list of the XIX Kazan International Muslim Film Festival has already been formed. The competition program of the KIMFF 2023, which will be held in the capital of Tatarstan from September 5 to 9, includes 52 films. 

According to the Regulations of KIMFF 2023, those wishing to submit their film for participation in the festival had to officially inform the Directorate no later than June 1. Totally this year 712 applications from 44 countries were received by the organizing committee of KIMFF.

After completion of the Selection Committee work a competition program was formed, which includes 52 films from 21 countries: Russia, Iran, Syria, India, Iraq, Morocco, Tajikistan, Turkiye, Greece, Oman, Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, Senegal, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Algeria. 10 films are presented in the nominations "Full–length feature films", "Short feature films", "Full-length documentary films" and "Short documentary films", another 12 films are in the National Competition, which includes films made in Tatarstan and films about Tatarstan.

The short list was formed by the Selection Committee. For the second year, the Committee is headed by Nina Kochelyaeva (Russia) the director of the New Institute of Cultural Studies, Candidate of Historical Sciences, historian, cultural scientist, leading researcher, head of the Department for the development and assessment of film education techniques at VGIK, expert of the Scientific and educational center "Civil Society and Social Communications" of the IPACS RANEPA, Laureate of the Russian Government Prize in Education (2021). Also, traditionally the Selection Committee members are the Doctor of Philology, Professor, Head of the Department of Philology and Regional Studies of the Russian Islamic Institute Timur Shaikhullin and Doctor of Philosophy and Art History, film critic, author of articles and publications on culture and cinema of Central Asia and Turkiye, CEO of the agency "Eurasia Global Connecting" Svetlana Slapke (Germany). For the first time this year, the Selection Committee was joined by Rushan Abbyasov the first Deputy Chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia, Deputy Chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Russian Federation. The competition program of the festival includes Russian and foreign films, reflecting universal spiritual and moral values and cultural traditions, bearing the ideas of peacemaking, religious tolerance and humanism.

“Kazan International Muslim Film Festival is distinguished by the fact that the Directorate traditionally receives a large number of applications, the geography of which is quite extensive. This year, applications were received from both European countries – Estonia, Romania, Greece, and even co–production with Ukraine, and Muslim countries – Iran, Turkiye, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, as well as from MENA countries – Morocco, Egypt, etc. An increasing interest in the festival is shown by filmmakers from Libya, Bahrain, Oman, the UAE, Tunisia, Algeria, Pakistan, who have not been keen on before or have never applied for KIMFF at all," commented Nina Kochelyaeva, head of the Selection Committee. Also, applications from Iraq were received, which was an important element of geographical expansion for us. This year, numerous applications have been received from Syria, which demonstrates a good level of cinematography development."

According to N. Kochelyaeva, the expansion of the selection committee could not but affect its work. She points out that they have become more attentive to the requirements that apply to the content of films submitted to the film festival, thanks to close cooperation with the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Russian Federation. “It is important for the Committee not only to collect good films, but also that the festival program and the content of the films meet the expectations of the audience and the founders," she said. At the same time, the work of the Selection Committee has not changed dramatically: "We watch films, additionally look for high-quality films in countries where Islam is professed by the majority of the population, and try to include them in the program."

N. Kochelyaeva stressed that in recent years it has been possible to develop the most effective scheme of cooperation between all members of the KIMFF Selection Committee. "If we speak about the principles of our work, full-length feature films are watched by all members of the Committee and this year there are 105 films. It was important for us to select the top ten, and in fact there were no contradictions between us. The cornerstone principle of the Selection Committee is the quality of the submitted films, and the main competition program should confirm this rule," she said.

The head of the Selection Committee also highlighted the main trends of the films presented in the current program. "These are mainly family films that support and develop family values, films that put human relations at the forefront. Even if films appear in the program that are not directly related to Muslim issues, they meet universal ethical and moral standards. The festival is characterized by openness. An important criterion is ethics and morality, which is carried out in the key message of these films," N. Kochelyaeva stressed.

According to the head of the Selection Committee, by the documentary films it was important to show not only ethics, but also the country diversity, vivid heroes living in different parts of our planet, who cherish it, preserve human relations, connect generations with each other, tell various stories that are written by cities and countries from ancient times to the present. "Quite a lot of films in the documentary program are related to the history of Islam. After all, the Kazan Festival is the only one of its kind not only in Russia, but also in the European part, where much attention is paid to Islam, culture, religion, and confession," she noted.

In general, N. Kochelyaeva highly appreciated the work of the Selection Committee. "Of course, there is disagreement between us. But we always try to come up with acceptable options that will make the program of the Kazan Film Festival interesting and high-quality," she concluded.

The short-list of the Kazan International Muslim Film Festival is published on the official web-site.