SOCHI International Film Festival and Awards (SIFFA) is honouring the classic showbiz motto ‘theshow must go on’ by confirming that its 3rd annual movie celebration – SIFFA’18 - will go ahead as planned from 11th to 16th December this year in the sun-kissed resort on Russia’s Black Sea.

SIFFA’18 organisers will stage a London Briefing for the film industry and international media on 1stNovember at the official Russian Ministry of Culture House in London’s Kensington High Street, toshowcase their festival’s highlights and field questions. Further details at .

Festival screenings and programme, Jury members, and star appearances, will be revealed at the London Briefing including, organisers hope, an Oscar-winning Hollywood star to guest-present the closing Awards ceremony - the climax of the 6-day film-fest in Russia’s glitziest city.

Already this year Sochi has played host to five FIFA World Cup Finals matches, and the annual Formula One motor-racing Russian Grand Prix. In 2014, Sochi hosted the Winter Olympic Games.

“As the time-honoured British showbiz motto says, we are determined our show will go on, and delighted to deliver on our promise to keep this vital cultural bridge open between Britain and Russia, and show some fantastic new films,” said SIFFA Founder and President Luba Balagova, film-maker, producer and poet originally from near Sochi, now a naturalised British citizen.

“We had a warm and wonderful London Awards Ceremony back in March - the welcome we got then, the enthusiasm, and commitment, encouraged us to persevere with SIFFA’18. Ours is an independentartistic endeavour, open to all film-makers, and we should strive to share our love of films between our two great countries,” said SIFFA’s creator, Mrs Balagova, a mother-of-two, who lives in Berkshire.

SIFFA’18 has chosen to support the global #MeToo movement by stressing the importance of equal treatment for women in Russia’s movie business and condemning sexist and improper behaviour. TheFestival Jury of 11 members, judging which films will win out in the 3 competition categories, will be comprised of two-thirds women.


NOTES TO EDITORS – for further info, interview requests, photos, etc, see or contact: John Hellings, SIFFA Media Director 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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