We had the pleasure to sit down with Darina Griboedova who is the Programme and Executive Director of the Monaco Charity Film Festival (MCFF) attended by celebrities from show business, the political & financial world and royalty. It is an annual Charity Event held in Monaco for the benefit of poor children around the world.
MCFF also helps film-makers from all walks of life to source financing and secure distribution for their films. During the four days it is a celebration of films, film-makers and the audience alike. The screenings are open to all with free admission. This year's festival will be held from 14-16 May.
Darina shares with us how she connects art, cinema and philanthropy.
TV-presenter, producer and philanthropist
Programme and Executive Director of the Monaco Charity Film Festival (MCFF)
QUOTE YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE BY
|It is easier to light one small candle than curse the darkness (Confucius)|
How did your philanthropic journey start?
I believe the expression that the roots of our actions are in our families.
My role models were my relatives: my parents taught me from childhood to help or at least to try helping.
The first steps were: to give clothes, buy food, donate or organize medicines. When I turned 19 I started volunteering.
Now together with a team of enthusiasts we assist several charity organizations in Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Voronezh, Novosibirsk, Ulan-Ude and Khabarovsk). This help is not only humanitarian but also educational: for example, we invite children from orphanages to the theatre, showing them backstage, or arrange trips for the children from families in difficult situations to educational camps or put on a concert to support veterans and pensioners. We don't have any age limit; help should be for everyone.
You are the Programme and Executive Director of the Monaco Charity Film Festival. Could you share with us more about this project; how did you join the organizing team and what is the aim of the festival?
Eight years ago, I visited the Monaco Charity Film Festival (MCFF), which this year will celebrate its 12th anniversary, as a member of the Russian cinema delegation. From there on, I helped every year at the festival as a volunteer, organizing film premieres and inviting Russian movie-makers to present their works. In 2013, I officially joined the organizing team when I graduated from Moscow Art Theatre School with a degree in Production of the Performing Arts.
My diploma thesis was on philanthropy in Russia and abroad.
Since then, we represent Russian Cinema, organize the Russian day in Monaco and invite well-known Russian film-makers and actors as guests of honour.
My aim was always to connect art, cinema and philanthropy for a good cause.
What are your main responsibilities as the organizer of this event?
It is necessary to view all the works that have been sent to us, negotiate with up and coming contestants, organize special screenings, conferences and round tables and arrange the guests of honour for this year and of course to organize a closing event and the awards ceremony itself. The festival lasts only a few days, but the organizational work that stands behind it is huge.
However, when watching the works of the participants, you sometimes have such a deep and profound experience that all the stress of organizing the event seems simply to fade away.
What challenges do you face in organizing such a big international charity event?
I would say the biggest challenge we face is that our film festival cannot support all of our participants with travel and accommodation. That can be tough to explain and sometimes misunderstandings can arise. Some people are enticed only by the location and are not so committed to the charitable cause; they often want to just come to visit Monaco.
In addition, this event would not happen at all without loyal sponsors. Therefore we are always very grateful for the support that we receive from them over the years and delighted when new sponsors joins us.
On what criteria do you select a film to participate in the film festival?
During the year together with the jury, we watch many films, selecting the best to participate.
On our official website www.monacocharityfest.com we have an application form, which anyone can submit with a link to the produced movie. I also have a good network in the cinema industry and sometimes my friends send me teasers to introduce some very good work and then I personally invite these film-makers to take part in the festival. Most important for us is the soul of the movie, the significance of the issue it captures and of course how the viewer reacts to and analyses it.
Could you share with us any news about the 2017 Festival Programme and participants?
MCFF is an international event attracting movies from all over the world, but this year we have a few firsts and I am very proud about this.
The new countries taking part are Nigeria, Georgia, Norway, Israel, Kirghizstan and Lebanon. Traditionally, Russia will be presented too, along with France, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Poland, Turkey and India. Some of our participants are award-winners of the top world festivals such as the Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance, Berlinale. We also have some Oscar nominees and some particularly young yet hugely talented film directors.
We will show an amazing short film from Norway about unisexual love and tolerance and there will also be a trilogy dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. In addition we have a documentary about people living on the Syria-Lebanon border from a well-known French film director and also feature a sunny comedy from Nigeria as well as strong productions from Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. What's more, there is a very sensitive debut-movie from Russia about a hero of our times in a wheelchair - all part of an extensive programme for this year.
Besides the competition participants, we also invite guests of honour, who are well-known movie-producers as well as philanthropists. Last year our guest of honour was Nelson Mandela, the grandson of the legendary Nelson Mandela, who spoke about the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa. This year we present a special screening of the charity foundation Malaika, which was founded by model and philanthropist Noella Coursaris Musunka.
Vladimir Khotinenko, the outstanding Russian producer is our guest of honor and will receive a special prize for “Contribution to the Russian cinema industry”. In the special screening category we will present his famous movie “Muslim” , which is known as the classic of the Russian cinema.
The guest of honour from Russia is the famous film director Vladimir Khotinenko who will be awarded the distinguished Prize ‘Contribution to the Development of Cinema’. In the Special Screening Category we will present his film, ‘The Muslim’, a classic amongst Russian movies.
How can you get tickets to the movie premieres?
Entry to the festival is free; this is our policy.
Every tourist, guest or resident of Monaco can attend by getting the accreditation in advance on our website www.monacocharityfest.com.
Monaco charity film festival is supporting the Virlanie Foundation in the Philippines. Could you tell us more about this foundation, its mission and its connection to Monaco?
The president of MCFF, Mr. Vicente Zaragoza is from the Philippines and moved to Monaco in the 90s. The founder of Virlanie Foundation - Mr. Dominique Lemay is French, who carried out research in the 80s in Manila on the problems of homeless children and set up the Virlanie Foundation in 1992. It is now one of the biggest charity foundations in the Philippines. They met in the field of charity and in their work to help the needy and that is how http://monacocharityfest.com developed its aim and mission to help poor children around the world.
Every year the festival team travels to Manila to children's orphanages, built or reconstructed in part thanks to the funds that were collected with the support of the friends and donors of the Festival, as well as the donations that we collect during the auction at the final gala evening and the awards ceremony.
To find out more about the Monaco Charity Film Festival or to obtain free tickets visit www.monacocharityfest.com