'Anna's War' Wins Best Film at Russia's NIKA Awards Ceremony

Courtesy of Rotterdam International Film Festival
'Anna's War'

It is the second time this year the drama has been named Russia's best in a national showcase.

Alexey Fedorchenko's World War II drama Anna's War (Voina Anny) on Saturday won best film honors at Russia's national NIKA film awards.

It marks the second time this year the pic, about 6-year-old Jewish girl who is the sole survivor when her entire family is killed in a mass execution during World War II, has been feted with a national honor: In January, it was named Russia's best film at the Golden Eagles, the rival national movie awards.

In comments during Saturday's live televised awards ceremony in Moscow, Fedorchenko praised child actress Marta Kozlova, saying: "If it were not for this girl, this film would not have happened." Kozlova picked up best actress honors for her role in the movie.

Kirill Serebrennikov — who is currently on trial in Moscow on charges in a $2 million fraud case related to his role running a state-funded theater center — was tapped as best director for his film Summer. The pic, which premiered last year in competition at Cannes, was completed after Serebrennikov was put under house arrest in August 2017.

The film's producer, Ilya Stewart, who accepted the award on behalf of Serebrennikov, said he sincerely hoped it was the last time the director would be "unable to collect" an award himself. Support for Serebrennikov was repeated by other awardees throughout the ceremony, including Roma Zver, who won discovery of the year honors for his role as Mike Naumenko in Summer.

The best actor prize was shared by Alexey Serebryakov for his role in Sergei Livnev's Van Goghs, the story of the difficult relationship between a man and his famous conductor father; and Yevgeny Tsyganov for his role as a Siberian prison guard with cancer given only two months to live and who decides to live as a woman as a way of fighting the disease in The Man Who Surprised Everyone, directed by Alexey Chupov and Natalya Merkulova.

The NIKA awards were established in 1989, three years before its rival the Eagle Awards were established; since then the two have been competing for the status of the "Russian Oscars."