'Island' tops Russia's NIKA nods


LONDON -- In what is becoming a trend, the top prizes at Friday's NIKA awards in Moscow -- the second major Russian national film awards of the year -- went to the same film honored at January's Golden Eagles, Pavel Lungin's "The Island."

In a repeat of last year's scenario, when Fedor Bondarchuk's Afghan war drama "The 9th Company" swept the board at both the Golden Eagles and the NIKAs, the field of competing films and awards this year were much the same at both ceremonies.

Friday's 20th annual NIKA awards at Moscow's Red Army Theater, gave out six prizes to Lungin's gripping story of a man's lifelong quest for God's forgiveness.

The film premiered in June last year at the Moscow film festival and was the closing film in September at Venice.

January's Golden Eagles also gave six of its eight main awards to "The Island," which has won top laureates at a range of other Russian award ceremonies.

The 56-year-old director's film -- about a monk living on a remote island who as a young man was forced by invading Nazi troops to shoot his best friend -- took NIKAs for best feature, director, actor (Pyotr Mamemov), supporting actor (Viktor Sukhorov), sound editing (Stefan Albine, Vladimir Litrovnik and Stepan Bogdanov) and cinematography (Andrei Zhegalov, who was awarded posthumously as he died after finishing work on the film).

Apart from sound editing, the awards were identical to those the film took at the Golden Eagles, where screenwriter Dmitri Sobolev also won an award.

Other winners included Kira Muratova's "Two in One" -- made in Ukraine -- which was voted best film from the CIS (former Soviet republics) and the Baltics. Best screenplay went to Igor Porublyov and Alexander Veledinsky for "Alive," about a soldier back from Chechnya who is haunted by the ghosts of his dead comrades.

In other prizes, best animated film went to Alexander Petrov's 20-minute "My Love"; Yevgenia Simonova took best actress for her part in "Mnogotochie"; best debut went to Ivan Viripayev ("Euphoria," which also won best score for Aidar Gainullin); and veteran Russian director Eldar Ryazanov's Hans Christian Andersen biopic "Andersen. Life Without Love" earned nods for art direction (Ludmila Kusakova) and costume design (Nataliya Ivanova).