No cinematic celebration in the world can lay claim to a greater boast than the Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF), whose inaugural Jury President in 1935 was the immortal Sergei Eisenstein.

Over the course of a roller-coaster of Russian history since then, MIFF has carried on, not always with any regularity, but always providing a platform for Russia’s incredibly talented cineastes to ensure the show has gone on, often in unbelievably difficult times.

This year saw MIFF mark its 41st gathering, with a striking message that all the world was welcome. This open-door policy was underlined by the MIFF Committee’s choice to bestow their excellence award for acting and cinematic achievements, on one of Britain’s foremost actors, Ralph Fiennes.

MIFF generously honoured its sister movie event, the Sochi International Film Festival (SIFFA) on the Black Sea, by appointing SIFFA Founder Luba Balagova onto the MIFF Jury for Best Film Business Project.

“Sochi is a thousand miles or 1,600-odd kilometres south of Moscow, and this year I detected great respect for us in SIFFA, and we were accorded very kind and decent treatment – I tried to convince MIFF that we at SIFFA can be their other half,” Circassian poetess, writer and actress Luba Balagova, SIFFA’s creator, told film industry journalists at MIFF in April.

Supreme winner of the 2019 golden St George Award, MIFF’s most prestigious gong, went to Kazakh movie ‘The Secret of a Leader’. The glittering St George MIFF Awards are so named after the Russian capital city’s Patron Saint.


Notes to Editors – for any further inquiries please contact Sochi International Film Festival’s John Hellings on 07913 819784. Also see our Website at

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During a tough chapter in UK-Russian relations I was pleased to have been able to attend Luba's special evening... Luba , you are a brave and valiant woman to spearhead such a high-profile project in a hostile environment. But those of us who spent the 23rd with you had the privilege of breathing the same air as the legendary Stephen Frears, the American star Nick Nolte and the superb string ensemble (KANDOUR QUARTET).

Carol Gould,
Political Commentator at British Broadcasting Corporation

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Luba, this is a crucial time for artists to recover their voice, you are helping to restore the connection between all of us, film makers from all over the world. I applaud the philosophy that underpins what you are doing.

Roland Joffé,
the Oscar, BAFTA and Cannes film festival
winning film director of “The Killing Fields” and “The Mission”

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Congratulations on making history, Luba. Thanks to Anatoly Pakhomov, of course! Sochi is the ideal choice for the concept of creating an international film festival designed to restore the face of art to the world through cinema. (…) Russia has always presented to the world the best examples of literature, philosophy, cinema and, in general, culture! And now the new Sochi International Film Awards wrote a new chapter in history with the same concept.

Karl Bardosh,
famous professor of New York university,
director, producer, writer

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A structured and strict concept of a powerful film festival has been formed, and you managed to prove its feasibility. Congratulations on what you have achieved, Luba. You've got proof of concept under your belt now! I thank Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov for supporting the new important film festival.

Elliot Grove,
founder of the Raindance Film Festival
and British Independent Film Awards

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A smashing success! Thank you for bringing Moscow and Sochi delegations, for the unexpected Sochi-wood glamour, the feedback from staff members and external guests was unreservedly positive.

Larry Sherwin,
Deputy Director of Communications of
EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development)

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Admirable Lubov Balagova-Kandour.
President and Producer of the “IRIDA” First Sochi International Film Awards. Majestic woman and lady of the world. Her motto - nothing is impossible. A woman of words and deeds. Beautiful person and magnificent woman.

Nina Ruchkina
Fashion House owner, dress designer

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