Belarusian Film "Crystal Swan" to be Shown at Karlovy Vary Film Festival

Darya Zhuk's full-length debut called "Crystal Swan" will have its world premiere at KVIFF – the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic. KVIFF is Central and Eastern Europe’s most prominent A-list film festival. The film by a Belarusian female director will take part in – and open – the festival’s East of West section.

Хрусталь фото 2.jpgPhoto by Igor Сhyshchenya

Set in Belarus in the 1990s, "Crystal Swan" follows a young girl who works as a DJ. Her dream is to emigrate to America. And yet, due to an unfortunate mistake in the visa application, she has to spend a week in a small mill town, so as not to lose her chance to make her "American dream" come true. The film offers a wide panorama of life in the 1990s: a world of underground youth raves, spontaneous unregulated markets, young people longing to leave the country for good – and the life of the province, seemingly frozen in time.

The whole of the filming took place in Belarus. "Crystal Swan" was a joint Belarusian, US, German and Russian production with an international film crew involved. The film starred Alina Nasibullina ("How Viktor "The Garlic" Took Alexey "The Stud" to the Nursing Home”), Ivan Mulin ("The Junior Team"), Yanka Kupala Theater actress Svetlana Salei and a number of other actors.

While still in its production stage, the film attracted the attention of international film professionals. "Crystal Swan" was presented at international festivals in New York (USA), Cottbus (Germany) and Tallinn (Estonia). At the latter festival, the film was awarded a prize for the best film project.

Дарья Жук.jpgPhoto by Igor Сhyshchenya

Director Darya Zhuk was born in Minsk. She studied and now lives in the United States. She has graduated from Harvard and Columbia universities, worked for the HBO channel, made several short films which became international film festival participants and laureates. One of them, "The Real American", was awarded a Diploma of the Minsk International Film Festival "Listapad" in 2015.

In an interview with "Sovetskaya Belorussiya – Belarus' Segodnya", the director said:  long-cherished dream of mine has always been to make a film on my generation – the 1990s young people. Yet, everything I would see on the screen, well, "Brother" or "Brother-2", for instance, did never strike a chord with me, it was all alien to me, just didn’t agree with my perception of it at all. It did seem to me we had had a very different, marvellous, youth. A youth full of illusions, yet filled with losses of various kinds. Still, it was a very interesting time back then".

The 53rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will be held from June, 29 to July, 7. Among the films that have previously participated in the film festival are recognized legends such as "Brothe"", dir. Alexei Balabanov, "Amélie”, dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, "Arrhythmia", dir. Boris Khlebnikov, and a multitude of others. By the present moment, Belarus’s latest appearance within the festival’s competition program took place back in 2004 – with "Mysterium Occupation", dir. Andrei Kudinenko.

In Belarus, "Crystal Swan" is likely to be released in September.