Fiction, documentary and experimental cinema is interconnected within the frames of both competition and special programmes.
We focus our special attention on the educational programme which encourages the exchange of experiences between aspiring filmmakers and reputable professionals from different countries.
The festival was organised by the team behind the New Holland: Cultural Urbanization project, founded in 2011 by Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova, patrons of art and culture in Russia. New Holland is a manmade island situated in the very heart of Saint Petersburg. Founded at the same time as the city itself, the island was closed to the public for over 300 years. The island today is a fixture of Saint Petersburg’s social and cultural life, where history and modernity are interwoven in a unique space. The classical architecture sits in perfect harmony with the picturesque park, which plays host to a varied programme of cultural events every year, from concerts to public art exhibitions.
Launched in 2019 the festival was marked by an extensive three-day programme that attracted more than 55,000 visitors to the island.
The first edition of the festival included an international competition programme and was to become one of the largest cinematic events of 2020 in St. Petersburg, but due to the pandemic it was held in a condensed format, still showing the entire competition programme online and some of the offline screenings at New Holland Island.
An echo of the festival took place at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow.
All funds raised from online screenings were donated to the Nochlezhka charity that supports homeless people.
The international competition programme includes both feature-length and short films. Feature-length fiction films are accepted for the main competition, while the short film competition accepts documentary, experimental and fiction works to be judged by the jury on an equal basis.
The out-of-competition programme offers viewers the chance to see premieres of high-profile festival hits, special screenings of independent Russian films, films by jury members and documentaries addressing the issues of our age.