KAZAN -- The International Festival of Muslim Cinema has opened in the capital of Russia's Republic of Tatarstan, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir and Russian Services report. Organizers say that although the Kazan event has "Muslim Cinema" in its title it is open to films by directors of any faith who promote general human values.
The festival, scheduled to last till September 11, will screen films from countries including Bosnia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Russia.
Directors from Australia, France, Germany, and the United States have also brought films to the festival.
Vladimir Nikolayev of Tatarstan's Ministry of Culture told RFE/RL that the festival’s motto is "Via dialogue between cultures to a culture of dialogue." Nikolaev described the festival as one of the most important events of the year.
Thirty-nine short and feature films, documentaries, and animated movies were accepted for the festival. Another 15 films will be screened out of competition.
Two festival sections -- "Made in Tatarstan" and "Made in Uzbekistan" -- will showcase films by Tatar and Uzbek directors. Next year Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan will be presented in the festival's separate sections.
Another separate section of the festival called "Smaller Festival" will present 32 films made by young directors or those just starting out in their career.
The director of the "Smaller Festival" sidebar, Kuzma Morozov, told RFE/RL that the number of young directors sending their work to the event is growing every year.
Until 2009 the annual festival was called "The Golden Minbar," but organizers later dropped that name because of a copyright dispute.
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