Moscow film fest to open with 'Hancock'

Organizers pledge to stick with Eastern focus

MOSCOW -- The 30th Moscow International Film Festival will open with Peter Berg's "Hancock," starring Will Smith, but will preserve its focus on cinema from Central and Eastern Europe, organizers said.

The opening movie, scheduled to unspool June 16, also stars Charlize Theron and is not scheduled to open Stateside until two weeks later.

"The fact that Columbia Pictures, a Hollywood major, agreed to a premiere in Moscow two weeks before the film's release in the United States and three weeks before the Russian release testifies to the company's interest in this market," Leonid Vereshchagin, the festival's general producer, said Thursday at a news conference in Moscow.

He added that "unprecedented" measures would be taken to preserve intellectual property of the film's creators.

Meanwhile, the festival is going to keep its focus on films from Central and Eastern Europe, organizers said.

"Festivals like Cannes sometimes look arrogantly at problems of people from Eastern Europe, thinking they are too small, but for us it is important to talk about those problems," said Pyotr Shepotinnink, the curator of one of the festival's programs, "8 1/2 Films."