Global Editing Perspectives – Russia

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In this new series, ACE is reaching out to editors around the world to give our foreign colleagues a chance to introduce themselves to the community so we can start to understand more about each other’s craft and work. If we want to give our art its proper due, we need to come to a global understanding of what we all share both here and abroad. That’s why in each edition of CinemaEditor, we will give colleagues of one particular country a platform to tell us about their challenges and accomplishments and how they want to connect to their international colleagues. The first country we’re highlighting is Russia. Artyom Baryshnikov is a 33-year-old editor who was born and lives in Moscow. He first introduces himself and then goes on to write about the situation of editors and their challenges to organize a platform where they can socialize and talk about their profession in the Russian film industry.

I have been interested in cinema and animation since childhood, so in 2009, my ambitions pushed me to shoot my first short film. The result turned out to be not so great. My dream of becoming a director right away did not come true, but it was the begin- ning of my career as an editor: the experience I gained (together with great luck) allowed me to get work on two TV series. After that, I repeatedly worked with different young independent filmmakers on their short films. In my opinion, this is a great opportunity, firstly to do a good deed and help, and secondly to learn something new.
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Finally, last year, I was lucky enough to edit my first full-length feature film, Collector, directed by Aleksey Krasovskiy. To sum it all up, I can say that I took my first steps without any ties in the industry and with no special education. I am still at the very beginning of my journey and I still have a lot to learn.

globalrussiaAs of today there is no official film editors organization in Russia. We are working toward creating one and as a start we are trying to establish a community. In 2013, editor Yuri Vlasov created a closed group for editors on Facebook, which has become the main platform for communication for professionals working in all areas of the Russian film, television and advertising industry. In this group, current problems are being solved, people exchange their contacts and share useful information, experiences and discuss pressing issues – from the rates and conditions of work to the stories about unscrupulous employers. To join the group, you need to show your filmography, answer a number of questions and also provide examples of your work so we can evaluate your professional credibility.
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The group is constantly growing and updated with new members. At the moment there are almost 500 professionals. The ones who were not admitted in the group are still being kept in the loop via e-mail or social media. In other words, we try to work in a coordinated way and do not limit ourselves to being a closed platform.
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In 2016 we made an open appeal to the organizers of festivals and film awards in Russia to establish an award and nominations specifically for editing. More than 60 people, including many renowned editors, signed the appeal. Media specialists were working with us to generate publicity and provide us with information and support. However, the organizers of festivals and awards are very reluctant to enter into a dialogue and, so far, none of them have given us any official response.
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Undeterred, we will continue to try to move forward with this issue. As of this moment only two prizes are awarded for editing in Russia: the National Academy of Picture Arts and Sciences of Russia Award ‘Golden Eagle’ (which has been awarded for editing since 2003) and the Film and Television Producers Association Award (editing award since 2014). There was an attempt to establish our own professional film editor award, organized by editor Kirill Araslanov. Awards were given in three categories: Best Editing (film/ TV), Best Editing (trailer/clip/promo) and “Hooligans” (shorts, commercials, online content or the like).

The event was rather modest, but the important thing for us was that it took place at all. Our goal now is to work on our mistakes and to bring the award to a higher official level and try to make it an annual event. All of this activity concerns the promotion of community interests inside the industry, but there is also work being done to increase interest in the profession to a wider audience. Some members of the community have their own blogs and others organize different events. For example, for the past couple of years, almost every Sunday, editor Vladimir Zimin holds club meetings, where anyone can take part in discussions and analysis of a variety of films – from the classics of world cinema to contemporary works by colleagues. The first issue of a free digital magazine about editors is being published soon.
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The basis for the magazine are interviews with current film editors (similar to CinemaEditor!). New releases in Russian cinema are used as an occasion for dialogue, but this is not its main theme. The main things are the people, newcomers, their personal journey in the movie industry and their personal working methods. The challenge is to bring editors out of the shadows and present them to an audience. It is as yet unclear how regularly the magazine will be published, but it certainly will be; especially since all the editors show a remarkable openness and willingness to share their experiences.

We will also publish our appeal in the magazine regularly to reinforce the importance of the need to establish editing awards. Hopefully, we will be able to showcase content about our foreign colleagues as well. To sum up: Russian editors are trying to improve the prestige of the profession by reminding everyone in the industry and outside of it of the role of editing and the contribution of an editor to a film. We do all this with pure enthusiasm, as much as we can, and we believe that in the end it will make a change. When film editing is no longer underestimated in our country, we believe it will improve the quality of Russian movies and will lead to the favorable development of the industry.

I must say that the work being done by ACE is a source of great inspiration for us.

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