VGIK welcomed Stephen Kijak (USA), a well-known American documentary filmmaker
His film We Are X on the cult Japanese heavy metal band 'X Japan' and its founder, the composer and musician Yoshiki Hayashi, was premiered in Moscow during the Beat Film Festival, a new festival of films on music and modern culture.
Stephen Kijak directed a number of documentaries about celebrated musicians including Scott Walker – 30 Century Man (co-produced by David Bowie), Stones in Exile (a music film about 'Rolling Stones'), and We Are X, his most recent film made in collaboration with John Battsek, a renowned British Oscar-winning producer. Stephen Kijak participated in major independent film festivals such as the Brussels Festival of European Film, the Hampton International Film Festival (Best Documentary Prize, 2002), the Cannes Directors Fortnight (Quinzaine des réalisateurs), and the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, the largest American showcase of independent cinema.
Head of the VGIK International Affairs Department T. F.Tursunova familiarized the guest with VGIK's history and the outstanding graduates among which there are a lot of famous and esteemed names. Visiting the Sector of Russian Film History, Stephen Kijak was greatly impressed by the amount of material kept in VGIK. In his opinion, all this is a priceless source of research into Soviet and Russian film history.
The director got acquainted with the Departments of Directing and Acting and even managed to watch an extract from A. Chekhov's Uncle Vanja performed by the 3d-year students of the Acting Department. Stephen Kijak also visited the Production Design Department where he was introduced to its dean, V.V. Arkhipov. The guest shared his impressions about the student works.
At the VGIK Students Studio, Mr. Kijak noted the abundance of newest technical equipment similar to that used by professional studios in Los-Angeles. Seeing the well-equipped VGIK sound stages, Stephen Kijak said that VGIK students have great opportunities for implementing their artistic ideas.
In the end of his visit the guest surveyed the Museum of VGIK where he was particularly impressed by the rare cameras of the Soviet epoch used for teaching students. Stephen Kijak remarked that he was quite satisfied with his first visit to Moscow, the successful premiere of his film We Are X at the festival and his acquaintance with VGIK. At the same time, he noted the difference in the teaching methods between American and Russian film schools. To his view, VGIK education is far more academic and versatile and evidently VGIK plays an important part in the Russian film history development.
Stephen Kijak expressed his wish to return to VGIK to conduct master-classes and meet our students.
Stephen Kijak's visit to Moscow was organized with the support of the American Embassy in the Russian Federation.
The material is prepared by the VGIK International Affairs Department.