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VIII IRIDA Russian-British International Film Festival and Awards (SIFFA 2020)


  • OVERLINE – Best Feature Film by Vadim Dubrovitsky

The film festival jury determined winners in the following four categories: Cell Cinema, Documentary Film, Main Competition and Short Films – Perspectives. The following prizes and diplomas were awarded:

  • Best film – CELL CINEMA Competition – The Green Dress, director Julia Solovieva.
  • Special Mention by CELL CINEMA Competition Jury – Grandma’s Tales, director Sati Balagova.

Kirill Razlogov, journalist, film scholar: “… I was especially pleased to present the award for this type of filmmaking, which will be the leading trend in the world now and in the near future and to present it to someone from the generation that will be at the forefront for the next 50 years, the generation that will be defining the development of the screen art not just at home in Russia but worldwide.”

  • Best Documentary Award– Tears & Dreams, director Lia Beltrami Giovanazzi.

Tatiana Yakovleva, film scholar, professor at VGIK (Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography), PhD in Art History, chairman of the Documentary Film Competition Jury“I said at the opening ceremony that we expect to see poetry and beauty in films and I believe that our decision reflects exactly what we wanted to see in the documentaries. The filmmaker’s unique interpretation, the combination of beauty and poetry – that’s what was important for us. The selection of films was wonderful and choosing the winner was no easy task but our decision was unanimous.” 

  • Special Documentary Jury Mention– Forbidden Children, director Evdokia Moskvina.
  • Special Documentary Jury Diploma – A Shroud of Incense, director Sasha Kretsan.
  • Best Full Feature Film – Overline, director and producer Vadim Dubrovitsky.
  • Posthumous Award – Brian Dennehy for his role in Driveways and Ruslan Firov for his role in Cherkess.
  • Best Screenplay – Love You Forever, director Tingting Yao.
  • Best Actress and Best Music – Palindrome, director Marcus Flemmings.
  • Best Actor – Brian Dennehy in Driveways (Produced by Maven Screen Media and Symbolic Exchange in association with Studio Mao), director Andrew Ahn.
  • Best Set Design – Siege Diary, director Andrey Zaytsev  

Stephen Mao, producer, SKIN 2019 Academy Award winner, chairman of the Short Film Competition Jury: “I was happy to participate in this wonderful event. The festival went very well! I was also pleasantly impressed by the red carpet events, which took place even during press conferences. Film and music festivals went well and I am very impressed by their quality in these uncertain times. The film and music festivals give hope to all who participated, listened to us and watched us, which means that both festivals fulfilled their main mission – to provide light and hope for everyone’s well-being.”

Vladimir Shevelkov, theater and film actor, film director, screenwriter, producer, television host, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation: “An actor’s profession is rather unusual in that there is no criteria for judging the quality of their work other than the audience’s appreciation, the film director’s opinion or the awards, which makes it that much more pleasant to present awards to actors – because their lives are filled with doubt but there is no place for fear.”

  • Best Director – Faraway Land, director Erkan Yazici.

Vladimir Khotinenkodirector, screenwriter, actor, teacher, People’s Artist of the Russian Federation, chairman of the SIFFA 2020 Main Competition: I can sincerely say that the program was very good. I am sure that all of the films are worthy of being screened at any high-level film festival. What made me happiest was the fact that they focused on people. I wouldn’t want to see humans take second place to action films and thrillers. Russian cinema has a tradition of focusing on the human being. And the festival took the right direction in choosing it’s path.”

  • Vera Glagoleva SIFFA Award, the Best Debut – Mariam, director Sharipa Urazbayeva.
  • Special Main Jury Prize and Best Cinematography Award – Beautiful in the Morning, director Flavia Casà.
  • Best Short Film – Mommy’s Calf, director Victoria Runtsova.
  • IRIDA President’s Award-Russian-British Sochi International Film Festival and Awards, President Luba Balagova-Kandour – A Siege Diary for the best depiction of the strength of the human spirit and the bravery of the Soviet people in overcoming the humankind most horrific tragedy of the XXth century.

Luba Balagova-Kandour, founder and president of the VIII IRIDA Russian-British Sochi International Film Festival and Awards: “Every year  the President’s Award goes to the film that best fits the concept underpinning our festival. Our goal is to unite the cultures and the traditions of two countries – Russia and the UK. In England, in Europe so little is known about this immense tragedy, and I am ready to screen this film everywhere and to talk about the outstanding bravery of the Soviet people.”

  • Special Main Jury Prize – Gando, director Teymour Ghaderi.
  • Media Diploma – The Story of a Painting, director Ruslan Magomayev.
  • IRIDA golden statuette for an outstanding contribution to the development of cinema – actress Larisa Luzhina.



SIFFA was able to add the music festival as another part of its program thanks to the grant from the Russian Culture Fund as part of the National Culture Program’s Creative People Federal Project.

Maestro Maxim Vengerov, world-renowned violinist received SIFFA’s golden statuette for an outstanding contribution to world music and for supporting the festival during the pandemic.
Maxim Vengerov, Soviet and Russian violinist, conductor, Grammy Award winner: “Music is a unique language. It requires no translation. Music is what unites countries and people around the world. In these uncertain times Luba Balagova was able to hold this first IRIDA Music Festival with the aim to preserve Russian school classical music heritage and promote unique local cultures of the North Caucasus.

IRIDA Music Festival diploma for contributions to the development of the art of music was awarded to Oleg Soldatov, winner of the Russian government award, Honored Artist of the Republic of Karelia.  

IRIDA Music Festival diploma for outstanding achievements and virtuosity and for supporting the IRIDA Music Festival was awarded to people’s artist cellist Mikhail Utkin.

IRIDA Music Festival diploma for extraordinary talent and for supporting the IRIDA Music Festival was awarded to opera tenor Sergey Radchenko.

IRIDA Music Festival diploma for the refined gracefulness of the art of dance  was awarded to the Shagdi Dance Ensemble, accepted by Zarema Unazhokova.

Valery Vorona, Artistic Director of the IRIDA Music Festival and the main conductor of the Moscow Youth Chamber Orchestra, received the IRIDA Music Festival diploma for his devotion to the SIFFA Film Festival and his support of the IRIDA Music Festival.

Nina Kochelyaeva, SIFFA director of programming: “Music has always been part of the festival but this is the first year where we have created a separate music program thanks to the support of the Russian Culture Fund. Music has always played a special role in film because it immerses the viewer in the atmosphere of what is happening on screen. We hope that this new feature will help the audience discover new aspects of the relationship between music and film.”

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