Russian Snark to screen at Cannes Cinephines

Very exciting! Russian Snark screens at Cannes Cinephiles on Friday 18 May at 21H at the Cinema Le Raimu. Other NZ films screening are The Orator and Love Birds – check em out if you missed them in NZ! Wish we could be there!

Nadia on the Rock - Russian Snark

Address : Le Raimu : Parc de Ranguin MJC, 06400 Cannes La Bocca http://www.cannes-cinema.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=79&Itemid=101

 

Russian Snark Screening in Paris


January 24th we screened our baby to a Parisian audience. Luckily we had a superb French subtitles version by the lovely Raphaelle, and the audience totally got it.  Laughter throughout and lots of applause at the end were a wonderful intro for me as I went into the Q & A which lasted about 40 minutes.  I got into my French stride and and managed to parlez Francais throughout!  Lots of fun to be sure!  Thanks so much to Bernard Bories from the Cinema Anitpodes and the Australian Embassy for the venue and the NZ Embassy for the NZ wine, and also to a great audience!

Published February 11th, 2012 at 11:38 am

WIFT salutes Russian Snark win in Brussels

http://www.wiftnz.org.nz/news/2011/11/15/kiwi-snark-wins-best-film-in-brussels.aspx

NZ feature film Russian Snark has won the top prize at the 38th International Festival of Independent Film in Brussels. The award is doubly thrilling for writer/director Stephen Sinclair and producer Liz DiFiore (congratulations to WIFT member Liz) because the film was only invited to screen in competition at the festival two weeks ago. The late inclusion was thanks to a glowing recommendation from Bernard Bories, director of the St Tropez Film Festival, whereRussian Snark screened in mid-October.
Two other NZ features – Matariki and Predicament – screened in competition at the Belgium fest, with a third – My Wedding and Other Secrets – screening outside the competition.
Also playing at the festival were five NZ shorts: BlueEbony SocietyHaurakiMunted, andPreferably Blue.
Russian Snark, which enjoyed a critically acclaimed NZ cinema release earlier this year, has just been released on DVD.

 

 

 

 

…the little engine that could…

Our film Russian Snark has just won the Grand Jury Prize at the Brussels Independent Film Festival! I think a certain amount of chest thumping and panty waving is in order; our little micro-budget confection vanquished quite a number of multi-million dollar monoliths to claim this one. We’re the little engine that could.

Published November 15th, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Elsewhere reviews Russian Snark

http://www.elsewhere.co.nz/film/4560/russian-snark-a-film-by-stephen-sinclair-vm-dvd/

Although it would perhaps be possible to write the plot outline of this modest but quietly impressive feature on a very small piece of paper, the protagonists here and a few of the marginal characters bring such insightful portrayals that it keeps attention for all its 80 minutes.

First time feature director and writer Sinclair — who co-wrote Ladies Night, worked with Peter Jackson and has previously only directed short films — get a note-perfect performance out of Stephens Papps as Misha, a once-acclaimed Russian film director, who arrives in New Zealand in the late Nineties with his wife-cum-muse Nadia (Elena Stejko) in a tiny lifeboat. They are determined to seek a new life and a country more sympathetic to his artistic ideals.

As a film-maker — and we see some of his intended work intercut with the main story — Misha is pretentious, intellectual, singular in his vision and supported by the loving and long-suffering Nadia.

It gives nothing away to say Misha’s dreams are quickly eroded and that Nadia finally cracks at the thought of having to support his self-belief yet again.

The story is less in the narrative than in the way it is told, through those small but accumulating blows which can be debilitating, and the conflict between an intellectual inner world and the rather more unforgiving or indifferent reality in which the couple find themselves.

There are numerous scenes where everything is said in an expression or sideways glance, and Papps masters Misha’s stoic and stubborn persona as a man of few words but grand visions.

That redemption of a kind takes place in the context of loving, funny, generous but also slightly troubled Pacific family does seem a little bit of local cliche, but Stephanie Tauevihi as Roseanna (especially in her interaction with her “children”) brings a ring of understated truth and naturalism to the character.

Misha is a dreamer — and an unsympathetic and irritating one at that — but as his frailties are revealed, to himself and the viewer, he becomes more a figure to be supported and helped than ostracised or condemned by indifference.

Russian Snark — on DVD with no extras — was nominated for official inclusion in a number of international film festivals in 2010 and picked up best international film at the Garden State Film Festival.

The ending may suggest some new awakening and insight, but the getting there — like opening a series of Russian dolls — is worth the journey for the characters and viewer alike. – Graham Reid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Awards – Russian Snark top film in Brussels

Not Your Lewis Carroll Snark!

NZ Video have reviewed Russian Snark – check it out here! http://www.nzvideos.org/russianreview.html

Not Your Lewis Carroll Snark

 

In 1996 two Russians left Vladivostok in a home-made boat for an extended island-hopping Pacific adventure. In November of 1999, they heard about the America’s Cup and decided to head for New Zealand.Their unlikely adventure caught the attention of Russian film fan and screenwriter, Stephen Sinclair, who gradually developed a script that, as he stated, “sought to create an eccentric comedy drama, which is artistically engaging and accessible; thought-provoking and entertaining”. He succeeded.

Sinclair developed a Russian filmmaker, Misha, who feels he is no longer appreciated in post-soviet Russia and has decided that he can pursue his career in New Zealand.

With meagre funds and a less-than-enthusiastic wife, Nadia, they arrive to find that New Zealanders apparently are no more appreciative of his concept of cinema art than his fellow Russians. Misha refuses to accept this, while Nadia tries to get him to face the realities of basic living.

Nadia finds work as an exotic dancer, which unfortunately leads to stripping which leads to Misha becoming unglued, but he still will not alter his artistic beliefs and efforts which, ironically, also involve nudity but in outdoor natural settings.

As Misha becomes more and more irratic and obsessed, Nadia leaves, moving to an apartment offered by her thugish employer. This is the tipping point for Misha and things turn dark – for both of them.

His sympathetic landlady, Roseanne, saves Misha in more than one way and gradually by spending time with her and her two children, he begins to see life differently. Misha goes from believing – “To trust in unknown is to trust in Life”, to feeling that – “It is better to be good man, than great artist”.

I will admit that this is a much better film than I expected. The writing is very good, the production values are high, the photography and soundtrack are excellent and the acting is definately above average. Nearly half of the film is spoken in Russian, with English subtitles provided, and the only significant complaint I can offer is that the film is too short. I felt that some ideas should have been given greater time for clarification. As for the ending – I’ll leave that for you to figure out.

I hope that this example of what the Sinclair/DiFiore team can produce, on a low budget, means that we have more such gems in our future. Do yourself a favour and see this unique effort.

Charles Eggen

 

 

Published November 9th, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Russian Snark picks up top grand jury prize at the Brussels International Film Festival

Russian Snark – the independently produced and financed feature film written and directed by Stephen Sinclair, and produced by Liz DiFiore of Godzone Pictures Ltd. has picked up the top prize at the Brussels International Film Festival.

The festival was an amazing triumph for New Zealand Films with Matariki also picking up two awards for Best Director for Michael Bennett and Best Actor for Iaheto Ah Hi.

This has been a great opportunity to raise NZ’s profile in the Belgium capital.

Russian Snark’s award follows on from the October screening at the St Tropez Film Festival, and selection for the 2012 Cannes Cinephiles Film Festival in May 2012.

If you missed the NZ theatrical release, it is out on DVD in NZ only and available at www.russiansnark.com

 

Russian Snark to screen in competition in 38th Brussels International Film Festival

DVD for Russian Snark available now in New Zealand

Our film is out now in the DVD rental shops and for your very own copy available for purchase on line here for NZ  customers only. http://russiansnark.com/wordpress/shop/  We have had a great NZ theatrical release culminated with the screening & Q & A in early October in Great Barrier Island at Island Screens.  October 15th we screened in beautiful St Tropez in France, http://www.festivaldesantipodes.org/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=350&Itemid=235 and on November 5th we screen in competition at the Festival International du Film Independent in Brussels  http://www.centremultimedia.org/le-festival-2011/competition-internationale .  Check us out if you are in the area!