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Phillip Bergson

Writing about Films and Festivals.


Film Critic, UK, member of Fipresci


Winner of the Student Journalist of the Year competition in the UK weekly New Statesman, as a Classics Scholar Phillip Bergson then founded the Oxford Film Festival and, on graduating, was selected by "The Sunday Times" as a 'New Critic' and in the same week began broadcasting on film for many BBC Radio programmes. A contributor to the "Times Literary Supplement", "TES", "Screen International", "Film Bulletin", "Film a Doba" inter alia, he also worked for the "European Script Fund", has scripted shorts and features (that have been produced and released) and, fluent in eight-and-a-half languages, currently programmes and advises several international film festivals. At the National Media Museum in his native Yorkshire, he created the "Eurovisions" project, to promote classic and contemporary European cinema.

As a Jury Member



Russian about Town


It could hardly be a more topical time, given the international brouhahas in the media about Soviet cyberhacking and the alleged,well-funded if unsubtle  interference of Putinistas in elections around the globe for a second Russian Filmweek to be unleashed on an unsuspecting London.....the Brexiting metropolis whose only daily newspapers are now owned by a Russian plutocrat who also happens to run  the only full-time local TV  channel(which,incidentally, currently programmes consistently  the best of British and other classic feature films morning,noon and night,having  access not only to  to the  back catalogues of the legendary Ealing Studios but also,it seems, Studio Canal's entire English-language feature acquisitions).There has been a long tradition of screening and appreciating film productions from Russia in the British capital.The first film societies here premiered Battleship  Potemkin and other silent classics,and all through the Cold War years masterpieces of the 1940s and 1950s and festival award-winners from Moscow and the Republics were staple fare in art-house cinemas across the city.The early London Film Festivals regularly launched notable features, and the National Film Theatre often presented seasons of Russian cinema with carefully selected (and supervised) cineastes in attendance,and sundry film critics were often feted at vodka-fuelled receptions in the Embassy near Notting Hill Gate. British Council tours often shepherded local  film-makers and journalists to film-weeks across all the Russias.Before the Fall of the Wall, yours truly organised the first Soviet Film Week in Oxford, attended by the legendary Lithuanian actor Donatas Banionis, star of Solaris, and as a People's Hero permitted to travel briefly abroad (without any cash at all) with a fellow director, in those Former Happy Times when the Baltics belonged to the Soviet Empire.

With the change of political regimes,and of the name of the country, Russian film-making has had to battle with market forces and is less able to rely on state financing, but nevertheless new generations of film-makers have found fame at foreign festivals and increasingly won paying audiences domestically as well as abroad.For some years there was a boutique annual survey of new Russian films presented each winter in an art-house miniplex close to Piccadilly Circus, which was perked up last year by Filip Perkon and relaunched as a new event, with well-attended premieres, parties and events around the West End and even out of town,and now his 2nd Russian Filmweek has spectacularly mushroomed from five to 19 venues,and brings some 70  films and 100 professional guests from Russia  to England from 19th to 26th November 2017, with a host of new sponsors(including a sparkling blue wine from France),screenings,parties,panels,gala dinners,awards,and exhibitions.

Phillip Bergson