The Awards ceremony took place on 5 December at the Royal Theatre Haymarket, one of the oldest theatres in the UK. The ceremony was a theatrical performance based on Shakespearean “Tempest”. Created by Oliver Bennet and Vladimir Scherban, founders of the HUNCH Theatre, “The Tempest and the Unicorn” starred actor Danila Kozlovsky, writer Alexander Tsypkin, singer Lina Maxine, pianist Stephen Ridley, and actors Ben Fox, Oliver Bennett and Maxim Korbun.
“I’ve always loved attending the Golden Unicorn Awards, both as a winner and as a guest of the ceremony," said Danila Kozlovsky. It is great that there is a platform where contemporary Russian cinema has a unique chance to be presented to an international audience. It is a chance for my colleagues to receive a direct response and recognition from foreign audiences. And, of course, it's cool to be on stage in England and in the heart of West End to perform a Shakespeare play in such an improvised production.”
The Golden Unicorn Awards is an annual event reflecting the cross-cultural mission of the Russian Film Week Festival; building a bridge between the English-speaking world and the Russian people. The original unicorn statuettes made of Bohemian crystal glass, containing 24-carat gold leaf, were given to winners in nine nominations.
Filip Perkon, Founder and General Producer of the Golden Unicorn Awards, said: “I am excited and intrigued to try this new format that we invented, an awards ceremony mixed into a play. It is a true celebration of culture and the arts. It is experimental and it is entertaining, but we are all about breaking the status quote and innovating. Perhaps it’ll be our new format, but only time and our audiences will tell”.
Anna Smith, a renowned British film critic and President of the Jury said: “It’s been my honour to chair the awards this year, and a real treat to devour so much contemporary Russian cinema. I have been hugely impressed by the talent on display behind and in front of the camera. I have genuinely laughed and cried at these contenders. The filmmakers have approached tough subjects - from politics to gender based violence - sensitively, and balanced dark and light deftly. We could be in a new golden era for Russian cinema!”
Theatre director and author of the play, Vladimir Scherban said: "This is a one-off performance, based on “The Tempest”, the last play and creative message of the classic. The choice is not accidental. It is not just that Shakespeare is the main author of the island we all live on. It is also the fact that “The Tempest” was written during the plague, but its creators found the strength to keep working. Another reason is that Shakespeare is practically a Russian author. In Soviet times, it was through him that many creators could freely reflect and express their thoughts. It is all even more important that Danila Kozlovsky, who plays Hamlet in Russia in his native language, has now read Shakespearean poetry in the author's homeland and in the original language. Oliver and I have long been in love with the Russian classics and have been doing it in Britain, so we were interested in getting to know contemporary Russian cinema. Our performance is a mix of all genres, a festival of all art forms, a celebration of art, inspiration and creativity, symbolised by the Golden Unicorn.”
The full list of the international jury: https://www.goldenunicornaward.com/jury?year=2021.
The Russian jury was chaired by Alisa Khazanova (actress, director and producer), joined by director Oleg Asadulin, actress Ieva Andreevite and Denis Kataev - journalist, presenter and screenwriter. The Russian Jury judges foreign films with Russian connection and documentaries about Russia.
Alisa Khazanova, Chair of the Russian Jury, said: "I think it's a very important and interesting story to work with the 'Russian cultural code'. There is a new round of interest in Russian history and in people who come from the Russian creative environment. It was interesting for me to watch films where there is an attempt to understand and assimilate the space of dialogue between different cultures.”
The winners of the Golden Unicorn Awards 2021:
Best Film - Captain Volkonogov Escaped, by N. Merkulova, A. Chupov;
Best Screenplay - Captain Volkonogov Escaped, by N. Merkulova, A. Chupov;
Best Debut - Next Station: Russia, by I. Sosnin;
Best Short Film - Promises, by L. Vlad;
Best documentary - Far Eastern Golgotha, by Julia Sergina;
Best foreign film with a Russian connection: Bloodsuckers, by Julian Radlmaier;
Best foreign documentary - Bless you, by T. Chistova (Poland);
Best Emerging Talent - Polina Gukhman (Masha);
Best Actress - Svetlana Khodchenkova (Another Name);
Best Actor - Yuri Borisov (Captain Volkonogov Escaped);
Best Animated Film – Secret Magic Control Agency, by A. Tsitsilin;
Best Russian Actor in an International Project (The Casting Bridge Award) - Alexander Kuznetsov.
Awards Ceremony gathered leading business people, celebrities and film industry elite. Among them were:
- film critic Anna Smith (head of jury, host of Girls on Film podcast),
- actor Steven Furst (a.k.a Lennie Biege),
- actor Danila Kozlovsky (directors James Hacking, Tom Lawes and Jake West,
- composer Gabriel Prokofiev,
- musician and Russian rock-legend Boris Grebenshikov (a.k.a BG),
- actress Simona Brhlikova (a.k.a. Simona Roman, principal actress in Gallowwalkers against Wesley Snipes),
- actress and director Alisa Khazanova ( Middleground, The Woman in Black and Tale in the Darkness) ,
- actress Oksana Akinshina (Lilya 4-Ever, The Bourne Supremacy and Hipsters),
- writer and scriptwriter Alexander Tsypkin ( first Russian Netflix series “Anna K”, based on “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy),
- director Oleg Asadulin (Green carriage, The Ship and The Presumption of Guilt),
- writer and scriptwriter Dmitry Glukhovsky (Text, The Outpost Korea and Metro 2033),
- actress Ieva Andrejevaite (Killing Eve),
- actress Vera Graziadei (Peep Show, The Deep),
- Liz Brewer (reality-based series Ladette to Lady),
- Actress Alena Chekhova (I am Dad Moroz, I am Drakon)
Photos of The Golden Unicorn Awards 2021:
The Golden Unicorn Awards "21 Red Carpet (@savcaoleg) | Flickr
Official after party at Rockwell:
More information about the Golden Unicorn Awards is available at https://www.goldenunicornaward.com
Sponsors and Organisers:
Filip Perkon (Perkon Productions Ltd.) founded Russian Film Week and The Golden Unicorn Awards in 2016.
Co-organizer of the Russian Film Week and the Golden Unicorn Awards 2021 - Synergy Corporation.
Sponsors– Gazprom Marketing & Trading and Blavatnik Family Foundation.
Opening and Online Partner - Kaspersky.
International Press and Outreach, Elena Leo at email@example.com
Russian-speaking press in UK, Maria Razumova firstname.lastname@example.org
Russian-speaking press in Russia, Elena Slatina email@example.com