Fest can't wait for Tomorrow

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Moscow's new international film festival Tomorrow announced its competition lineup Thursday and said that Dutch filmmaker Jos Stelling will chair its jury.

The festival — set up by the disaffected former staff and organizers of the annual Moscow International Film Festival — will screen 10 competition films among a program of 30 films Oct. 26-29.

Actor-director Steve Buscemi's "Interview" — an adaptation of late Dutch director Theo van Gogh's incisive story of a jaded political correspondent forced to interview an apparently empty-headed pop star — will open the festival.

Nine other films make up a competition program that program director Alexei Medvedev said is designed to be flexible and deliberately avoid the sort of rigid A-class festival restrictions that many say hampers MIFF president Nikita Mikhalkov's festival, which some critics accuse of being outgunned by Cannes, Berlin and Venice in the race for international premieres.

"The ideology of the festival is to show art house movies for the viewer, for the big audience," Medvedev said. "The Moscow international festival in June is big, conservative, rusty and ungainly. We aim to be a much more flexible and mobile event for younger audiences that screens more interesting movies in terms of film language and their impact on audiences."

The philosophy is summed up in the competition program, which includes feature and documentary works and films that recently have been lauded at other world film events.

The full competition program includes "Once," by Irish director John Carney, an audience award winner at this year's Sundance Film Festival; "Milky Way," by Hungary's Benedek Fliegauf, which picked up a prize this year at Locarno; Czech director Petr Nikolaev's "It's Gonna Get Worse"; "Funuke, Show Some Love, You Losers!" by Japan's Daihachi Yoshida; Estonia's "Magnus," from director Kadri Kousaar; Russian director Natalia Mitrochina's "Sluchay"; Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu's "12:08 East of Bucharest," a Cannes Un Certain Regard winner in 2006; and the Bulgarian documentary "The Mosquito Problem and Other Stories," by Andrey Paounov, which was in the official selection this year at Cannes.

The Tomorrow festival, which secured support from the Russian federal film fund, has a budget of about $1 million and a top prize of $100,000 — for the winner's next project — donated by Audi, the main sponsor.

Other prizes will be awarded for best visuals, sound, acting and stories.

Apart from Stelling, whose new film "Duska" closes the festival, confirmed members of the jury include Locarno-award winning Spanish actress Marian Alvarez ("Lo Mejor de Mi"); Russian writer-dramatist Dmitri Lipskerov and award-winning British film and television writer Andrew Davies.
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