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IRIDA Film Festival Winners 2021


Best Feature Film – Nikita Arzhakov’s Tygyn Darkhan. The film, made in Sakha Republic (Yakutia), is based on important historical events of the end of 16th-beginning of the 17th century. The main character, Tygyn, is the head of an influential clan, considered to be the uniter of Yakut tribes.

The film’s creators were able to convey the atmosphere of the era. Director Nikita Arzhakov sent in a video thanking jury members and festival organizers.

The Vera Glagoleva Award for best debut full feature film was awarded to Indian director Kripal Kalita. The Indian film The Bridge is an honest account of the difficult life of peasants on the banks of the Brahmaputra river, a story full of empathy.

Short Film Competition

The winner was selected from among nine competition films by the following jury members:

  • Elena Razlogova, head of the jury, professor at Concordia University in Montreal, film studies expert,
  • Beslan Terekbaev, CEO of Chechenfilm, director, screenwriter, producer,
  • Dmitry Yakunin, director of Budem zhit’! film festival, producer.

Best Short Film – Saiti, Son of Zoulya (Russia, Ingushetia), directed and produced by Amur Amerkhanov. The main character, teenager Saiti, has to decide quickly what is more important: the desire for revenge or the ancient hospitality law.

Special Jury Mention  The Stench (South Korea). Director and screenwriter Won Jang received a diploma “for concise visual expression of a complex philosophical problem of social isolation”.

Documentary Competition

The winner was selected from among seven competition films by the following jury members:

  • Gulbara Tolomushova, head of the jury, member of FIPRESCI and Union of Cinematographers of Kyrgyzstan, film studies expert and film critic,
  • Elena Demidova, documentary filmmaker,
  • Vladimir Marin, creator of popular sciences films, director.

Best Documentary Film – Pianist from Ramallah by Avida Livny (Israel). In order to achieve his dream of becoming a pianist talented teenager Muhammad from Palestine overcomes many obstacles over four years: borders, separation from his family, prejudice, COVID restrictions.

Special Jury Mention  Russian film Beaumonde Scrapping. Nikolai N. Victorov received a diploma for “accurately depicting communication between the director and his character”.

Main Competition Winners

The winner was selected from among twelve competition feature films by the following international jury members:

  • Mohy Qandour, honorary head of the jury, producer,
  • Natalya Bondarchuk, head of the jury, Honored Artist of Russia, director,
  • Francis Barber, co-head of the jury, Hollywood and British actress,
  • Alena Khmelnitskaya, television presenter, theater and film actress,
  • Alexander Litvinov, producer, Honored Cultural Figure of the Russian Federation,
  • Marat Akhmedzhanov, vice-president of the Vice-Chairman of Eurasian Creative Guild (UK-Kazakhstan)

Head of the Main Competition Jury Natalya Bondarchuk exclaimed before the awards ceremony: “Awarding creators of good films is pure happiness!”

  • Best Directing – Zero Nine, director Bakhtyar Fatah (first Iraqi thriller).
  • Best Screenplay – Warning (US).
  • Best Cinematography – Yuri Berezhnev, DOP, Tygyn Darhan.
  • Best Production Design  Peter Boyarkin, production designer, Tygyn Darhan.
  • Best Actress  actress Shiva Rani Kalita for The Bridge (India).
  • Best Actor – Tolepbergen Baisakalov, lead in the film Fire directed by Aizhan Kassymbek (Kazakhstan).
  • Best Music – Rob Marshall who composed the music for 7 Hours on Earth directed by Patricia Sharpe in addition to producing the film.
  • Special Main Jury Prize went to Vladimir Alenikov for Heavenly Team (Russia).

Special diplomas were awarded to directors:

  • Anatoly Balchev for long-term dedication to his project The Passenger from San Francisco (Russia-US).
  • Galina Urazova for best sound design in The Trap (Russia).
  • Daria Binevskaya for the kindest film, Africa (Russia).

Jury co-chair, Hollywood and British actress Frances Barber noted the quality of competition films. She was most impressed by the film Africa, a story about a dog saving a family during the siege of Leningrad.

SIFFA President’s Award went to the creators of the cinematic performance Sound-Signs of the Circassian (Adyghe) Language + the Transformation of Malevich’s Black Square from Kabardino-Balkaria. The award will be given to artist Ruslan Tsrym for providing a vivid example of performance art that combines the primacy of language and art and to director Tamerlan Vasiliev for depicting it on the screen.

Press Award was given to the film Warning (USA). Its creators try to predict the future of humanity, when technical innovation cannot mitigate people’s flaws. The film is urgent and important as a stark reminder of the fragility of our planet.


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“The film festival justified the hopes placed on it and was held at a high course. All looked professional, the level of the films entered the competition are very high. The jury members are  amazing. Everything is only positive.” Lawrence David Foldes – Director/Producer/Executive Committee Member of the Student Academy Awards, USA

“It seems to me extremely important that the work of Russian-British cinema is being carried out on the difficult stages of Sochi and London. Holding events in the key central British venues, in the heart of Europe and the entire Western world, is a particularly difficult task. But the SIFFA team succeeds!” Sergey Novozhilov – International Film Festival Amur Autumn President

“This is a great concept. I have worked at the largest film festivals in Russia this year, but your film festival has become one of the best. Lived up to my hopes. Both in content and in style, it corresponded to the best examples of world film festivals.” Vera Glagoleva – First Chair of SIFFA-2016, People’s Artist of Russia, Film Director, Member of the European Film Academy

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