It was the third time that Ilim Group supported and acted as a general sponsor of the Message to Man International Film Festival, which was held in St. Petersburg on September 14 -21, 2019.
The official opening ceremony took place in Palace Square on September 14, 2019. One of the honoured guests of the Festival attending the opening ceremony was Udo Kier, a German actor, who presented the Russian premiere of The Painted Bird (directed by Václav Marhoul), a film based on the novel by Jerzy Kosiński, a Polish-American writer.
Following the official part, an outdoor cinema screened the Russian premiere of Diego Maradona documentary by Asif Kapadia, a British film director. The world premiere of the film was at the Cannes Film Festival.
In keeping with the tradition, at the end of the festival Ilim Group gives a special award to directors of one of the Russian films in the National competition category. In 2018, the award for Proactive Approach to Environment went to Fatei and the Sea, a documentary film by Alina Rudnitskaya and Sergey Vinokurov.
Ilim Group is the leader of the Russian pulp and paper industry. Ilim has production facilities in the Arkhangelsk, Irkutsk, Leningrad and Moscow Oblasts, which produce 75% of all domestically produced market pulp, 20% of domestically produced board, and 10% of paper Ilim’s total annual production volumes exceed 3.4 million tons. Ilim Group exports its products to more than 70 countries worldwide. Every year Ilim Group allocates more than RUB 400 million to charity and social projects in the regions where Ilim operates.
The Message to Man International Film Festival is one of the oldest Russian film festivals established in 1989 in St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg hosts the Festival with a support from the Russian Ministry of Culture, the Government of St. Petersburg and the Committee for Culture of St. Petersburg. The Festival is registered with the International Federation of Film Producers Association FIAPF. The Festival was founded by Mikhail Litvyakov, a documentary film director. In 2019, Aleksei Uchitel, a documentary and feature films director, People’s Artist of Russia became the president of the Festival.
The XXIX Festival screened the best documentary, fiction, animation, and experimental films. In 2019, film directors from 98 countries submitted their films for the Message to Man International Film Festival with the official selection of 70 films, including 8 world premieres, 1 international and 30 Russian premieres. The festival had 20 debut films. Together with debut films people were given an opportunity to see new films made by worldwide famous film directors and participants of previous festivals.
This year the Festival welcomes Udo Kier (a German actor, who played in more than 200 films during his carrier), Thomas Heise (a German documentary filmmaker, the winner of the Berlinale award in 2019 and the European Film Academy award in 2008), Kazuo Hara (an actor and one of the most award-winning Japanese film directors), Babette Mangolte (French-American representative of contemporary art and cinematography) and others.