Half of Kinotavr films directed by women

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LONDON -- Russia's leading national film showcase Kinotavr opened Sunday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi with a lineup of competition movies in which half are directed by women, organizers said.

The 18th edition of Kinotavr -- now in its third year under management headed by CTC Media CEO Alexander Rodniansky and former NTV executive turned producer Igor Tolstunov -- will screen 14 competition features during its weeklong run, program director Sitora Alieva said.

"This year's festival is characterized by the number of female directors in the program -- 55 in total -- of which seven are in the main competition," Sitora Alieva said. "The submissions came in right across the range -- social, political and genre films. We chose the best."

Longstanding Russian directors including Alexei Balabanov (with military thriller "Cargo 200") and veteran female director Kira Muratova (with "Two in One") will feature in the competition alongside such newcomers as Marina Razhbezhkina ("Yar").

The festival will show both of Russia's Cannes competition entries: Alexander Sokurov's "Alexandra" and Andrei Zvyagintsev's "The Banishment" (which closes the festival). A documentary competition and debut shorts contest will also screen.

The full feature competition lineup includes: "Zhestokost" (Cruelty, dir: Marina Lubakova); "Kremen" (dir: Alexei Mizgirev); "Naturshchitsa" (Model, dir: Tatiana Voroneskaya); "Otriv" (dir: Alexander Mindadze); "Prostiye Veshchi" (Simple Things, dir: Alexander Popogrebsky); "Rusalka" (Mermaid, dir: Anna Melikyan); "Tiski" (Vice, dir: Valery Todorovksy); "Den Rozhdeniya Infanti" (Infants' Birthday, dir: Valeriya-Gay Germanika); "Inzeen-Malina" (dir: Vladimir Sivkov); "Kuka" (Cooks, dir: Yaroslav Chevazhevsky); and "Lychshee Vremya Goda" (The Best Season, dir: Svetlana Proskurin).
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