Dear Film Enthusiasts,
In the light of information received by the Committee about the number of delegates registered so far for UNICA 2015 and the reasons given by those not coming, it is important for me to send you this message.
The team of local organizers can finally breathe easily since the Committee for Cultural Affairs of the City of St. Petersburg has provided them with financial assistance to the amount of 3,000,000 rubles. The financial framework of our festival is thereby absolutely guaranteed.
I am aware that our festival this year takes place under rather special circumstances and I could understand any film-friend who, for his own reasons, believes he must avoid participating at St. Petersburg.
I fully understand those who say it is too time consuming and too expensive because of visa formalities, the cost of airline tickets and hotel rooms, plus a convention card charge of € 250.
The counter-argument is that because of the continued weakness of the rouble, the prices for hotels and congress card has dropped, since these are paid in roubles in Russia. Moreover, in the larger hotels, the price of the room can be paid by means of a credit card.
However I have less sympathy for those whose refusal is based solely on the current international political situation. It should be noted that a relaxation of tension is anticipated in the near future rather than an increase. Secondly, we should not punish our Russian friends, and especially the organisers of UNICA 2015 because they bear no responsibility for the current political situation.
We will no doubt be received by charming and attentive hosts gathered around Nina Zaitseva. For my part, I am absolutely sure that UNICA 2015 will take place in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, with many high points for film, culture and tourism.
In addition the city of St Petersburg is certainly a beautiful
city, which by itself is worth the trip to the shores of the Baltic
Sea. In any case UNICA and its participants are welcome in Russia,
as evidenced by the scale of the financial assistance provided by
Hesitations and reservations of a political nature are unnecessary.
Even at the height of the years of the so-called "Cold War", no convention or UNICA festival was impeded or prevented because of the political and military tensions of the time, either from the west or the east.
So let’s go on together to St. Petersburg!
Luxembourg 30th March 2015
Georges Fondeur, President