The Sochi International Film Festival and Awards (SIFFA) is staging its glittering annual UK Gala Awards ceremony to mark its 4th year, in full red carpet style with a première screening at City of London-based global law firm Pinsent Masons’ HQ on Thursday 21st March, 2019.

The City of London cinematic celebration will show SIFFA’18 Best Début Award-winning movie ‘Deep Rivers’, a breath-taking tour-de-force played out in the wild Caucasian mountains, directed by Vladimir Bitokov, a rising movie talent from Russia’s Caucasus.

SIFFA stages its UK celebration in tribute to its prestigious ‘Irida’ statuette Award Winners at the main Festival in Sochi, which most recently ran from 11th– 16th December, 2018. The ‘Irida’ statuette is named after the Greek Goddess of rainbows.

The arrival in London’s Square Mile of the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi’s most glamourous cinema festival is recognition of the importance SIFFA attaches to the centuries-old Anglo-Russian commercial ties cemented by Britain’s and the world’s foremost financial centre – the City of London.

Pinsent Masons, a 400-partner global law firm which can trace its roots back 250 years to 1769, has supported RusFor – the Russian Speaking Legal Professionals’ Forum – which is co-hosting this year’s SIFFA UK Awards. RusFor acts as a platform for professionals to promote Anglo-Russian relations.

SIFFA’s inspirational creator and President, Circassian poet and writer Luba Balagova, explained: “Artistic endeavour rises above daily routine to unite, entertain and nurture all of our peoples in Russia and Britain alike, and cinema does this remarkably well – it is an ideal medium because so many people can experience it, and for us to carry on in our mission to strengthen the artistic bridge between Russia and Britain, SIFFA will need solid financial support and investment and nowhere offers that more than The City of London – we are delighted to bring our show here,” said Ms Balagova, a mother-of-two and naturalised Briton herself.

SIFFA’s glittering Black Tie Gala night gets underway with guests arriving at 6pm at Pinsent Masons global HQ building in Crown Place, Eagle Street, close to Liverpool Street station. Invited guests to the hot-ticket event will take their places with an Awards ceremony and screening, followed by an After-Party.



NOTES TO EDITORS: for further details, photos, and other requests, please first check our website at or contact SIFFA Media Director John Hellings on 07913 819784 or

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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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