Andrei Belianinov on Documentary Film, Lessons of the Past and Thoughts on the Future

09/11/2023 16:59

Andrey Belianinov, Secretary General of the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Film Festival, shared his impressions of the XVIII International Film Festival “WON TOGETHER” on the eve of summing up the results.

- Andrey Yurievich, share your impressions of the documentaries that you were able to watch at the XVIII International Film Festival “WON TOGETHER”?

- Very good, beautiful, talented and wonderful works came from 27 countries of the world to the XVIII International Documentary Film Festival “WON TOGETHER”. It’s a pity that documentaries and journalistic films are not as popular among our viewers today as they deserve. It seems to me that this is one of the goals of our festival - to popularize documentary films. And it is no coincidence that at the opening they said that it was highly desirable that the events of the “WON TOGETHER” festival continue in different cities of our country. But the fact that the very first festivals were in Sevastopol - this, of course, should never be forgotten.

The film festival brought together not only recognized directors, screenwriters, and critics. I hope that we will be able to discover new names, give young authors the opportunity to open up, so that there is no gap between generations and there is continuity. There is a lot to learn from geniuses and classics. These are people who selflessly believe in what they do and are ready to pass on their experience.

- Do you see a definite general line running through all the works you have reviewed?

- When we say: “WON TOGETHER,” as a general line, we are talking not only about those countries that have now become independent, those republics that were part of the Soviet Union, fought and defeated Nazism together. After all, there was a very large anti-Hitler coalition! And when we talk about losses, the losses of the Soviet people were truly enormous, but we also need to talk about others. For example, the Chinese people lost 35 million people. We also need to talk about this more often. This will unite us not only in our memory, but also in our future.

- Andrei Yuryevich, in 2025 the 80th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War will be celebrated. In anticipation of preparations for this event, what steps should be taken to develop the film festival?

- Of course, the film festival cannot be considered in isolation from the entire context of the events that took place 80 years ago. They are important for everyone, for the whole world! Quite recently, on September 3, on the eve of the International Peace Day, on Manezhnaya Square in Moscow, we unveiled a high relief dedicated to the Victory Parade, which took place on June 24, 1945 on Red Square. This is one of the many events that should accompany preparations for the 80th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. The Eurasian Peoples' Assembly played a major role in the unveiling of this high relief. It is very important for all countries of the anti-Hitler coalition to gather today, especially caring people, and now we are working on this. Because politicians, apparently, will not gather in this format soon or will never meet at all. But people, nations remember and want to pass on this memory to future generations. This is one of the main goals of the festival. This is our mission - for our youth to live happily and have a peaceful sky above their heads.

- What do you think is the best way to use the language of cinema to educate a new generation and introduce them to history?

- We discussed this with colleagues. It would be nice to understand what will happen to cinema in general in the 21st century? What will it be like? What will happen to it? Either everything will be reduced to the Hollywood model - the use of special effects and artificial intelligence. Or we will preserve our cinema, the distinguished Soviet cinema with its humanity, depth of thought and feeling, memory of the past, and lessons for the future. And, of course, goodness, the love of man for man. These enduring human values have always been in our works.

Of course, documentary films need to be given more attention. It would be a good idea to consider doing separate retro displays. It seems to me that we can try to move in this direction. Invite filmmakers from Asia, China, India, Vietnam and others. Perhaps this should be done in the format of the Eurasian Film Academy. In any case, it would be very correct to consolidate efforts on the topic of cinema.

- On November 10, the first preparatory conference of the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition will be held as part of the summing up of the International Film Festival. What should be the outcome of this conference?

- When the idea arose about the need for a meeting in this format, we understood that for now this would be a kind of preparatory stage. We must not forget that during the Second World War the whole world fought! We need to talk about this loudly. At conferences of this kind, we need to remember how many people died during these terrible events, what deeds they accomplished and what lessons we all went through. The main result should be unanimous understanding and willingness to do everything to prevent these terrible events from happening again.