History of the Festival


The new president

Alexey Uchitel has officially announced the president of the Festival. Mikhail Litvyakov is an honorary president.


Goodbye film?

For the first time, films on video and digital media are included in the International Competition.


Selection for the Russian competition

Films began to be included in the Russian competition based on the results of the selection, which became possible and even necessary: ​​Russian documentalists overcame the crisis in quantitative terms.


Message from Riefenstahl

The main sensation of the XI Festival is the arrival of 98-year-old Leni Riefenstahl as part of the special program “Documentary films in totalitarian states” (screenings of her films and Dziga Vertov's pictures). The visit gives rise to bitter disputes in society. The city authorities prohibit the demonstration of Riefenstahl's film "Triumph of the Will" in the Aurora cinema centre, but nevertheless, this picture was allowed in the Dom kino cinema centre.

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The Message to Man reaches its quantitative peak: 170 films in an international competition and a debut competition, 50 Russian documentaries in a national competition, 88 pictures in special programs. Total - 308 films from fifty countries.


Since 1994, the Message to Man has been held annually

For the first time in Russia, short-length fiction and animation films are included in the competition - as a reaction to the crisis in Russian documentary and in national cinema as a whole. This measure dramatically increases the number of viewers at festival sessions.


The First Festival

For the first time, the Message to Man runs from January 25 to January 31, 1989: more than a thousand participants, an international film market, and 273 accredited journalists. The success is simply deafening. Natalya Makarova, the prima of the American Ballet Theater, who was allowed to come home at the invitation of the Festival for the first time after emigration in 1970, becomes the star of the film review.


From MIFF to the Message to Man

It was decided to convert the documentary section of the MIFF into the Message to Man. Mikhail Litvyakov was appointed the general director of the new festival by order of Goskino. In its regulations, it was stated: "... with the aim of promoting contacts and the exchange of ideas between cinematographers from different countries, developing in their work the themes of goodness, social justice, and peace."