The 33rd International Documentary, Short and Animated Film Festival Message to Man will take place on September 21 – 30, 2023 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Festival is organized with the support from the Ministry for Culture of the Russian Federation, the St. Petersburg City Administration, the Committee for Culture of St. Petersburg, the Russian Filmmakers’ Union, and the Federal Foundation for Social and Economic Support of National Cinematography and is held annually.

The Festival is held under the supervision of the Non-Commercial Partnership for the Promotion of Cinema and Theatre MESSAGE TO MAN.



  • Full-length documentary films (from 40 to 120 minutes)
  • Short documentary films (up to 40 minutes)
  • Short and animated films (up to 30 minutes)

All films must be completed after January 1, 2022. The production date is determined by the copyright notice indicated in the film or on the video copy. English subtitles are required for all films with spoken dialogue, unless English is the language of the film.


  • Short experimental films (no longer than 20 minutes) in any genre, which are technically suitable for screening in a regular cinema and were produced after January 1, 2022.

The production date is determined by the copyright notice indicated in the film or on the video copy. English subtitles are required for all films with spoken dialogue, unless English is the language of the film.


  • Documentaries (up to 120 minutes), directed by Russian filmmakers or/and produced (co-produced) by Russian producers, completed after January 1, 2022.

For Russian-speaking films selected into the competition English subtitles are required. For films made in other languages Russian and English subtitles are required (only Russian subtitles if the film is made in English).

JURY and prizes

Selected films for each category are to be evaluated by the jury that consists of leading Russian and foreign cinema experts – directors, producers, cinematographers, screenwriters, cinema scholars, and film critics – a minimum of 3 persons in each jury category.

Jury members vary each year. Individuals who participated in the production or commercial distribution of any of the films in the competition program cannot become part of the jury. All jury members are obliged to avoid making any public statements about films in the competition program, including but not limited to referencing and/or giving direct links to winning films, publishing references to, reviews of the winning films and/or any other links directing to winning pictures in open sources before the official award ceremony and winner announcements.

In 2023, the winners of the 33rd Message to Man International Film Festival will be awarded in the following categories:

  • Golden Centaur Grand Prix and 3,000 USD prize for Best Film: awarded by the International Competition jury
  • Three Centaur Prizes in separate categories and 1,000 USD along with each prize: awarded by the International Competition jury
  • Centaur Prize and 50,000 RUB for Best Documentary Film in the National Competition: awarded by the National Competition jury
  • Jury Centaur Prize and 30,000 RUB for a film in the National Competition with explanatory wording: awarded by the Jury of the National Competition
  • Jury Centaur Prize and 1,000 USD in the In Silico International Competition for the Best Experimental Film.

In addition, special prizes and diplomas from the Festival’s jury, organizing committee, partners, sponsors, and various public organizations can be awarded.


Submissions will be accepted from January 18, 2023 to June 18, 2023 (for films that are to be finished in 2023 rough cuts may be submitted for selection).

There is no fee for submitting an application for participation in the National Competition.

Entry fee for submission to the In Silico Experimental competition is 5 EUR. 

To apply for participation in the International Competition, you must pay a fee in the amount of:

20 EUR for full-length feature films (40-120 min);

10 EUR for short feature films (up to 30 min);

7 EUR for short documentary films (up to 40 min);

7 EUR for short animated films (up to 30 min).

Payment is made through the websites of online platforms when applying through these systems. The application is considered incomplete if there is no corresponding payment and in this case will not be considered by the selection committee.


  • Fill the Entry Form on our website or
  • Via online platforms:

The list of films selected for the competition programme will be published on our website no later than 2 weeks before the Festival.

The producers and creators of the selected films will be notified in advance by email. The Festival does not pay license fees for screening films selected for the competition.

The decisions of the Selection Committee are final and non-negotiable. Thank you for your understanding.


Screening copies of selected films should be delivered to our office by July 20, 2023 via the Internet. In order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection COVID-19, only digital media are accepted for screening in 2023. If the copy is not received by this deadline, then the Festival shall remove the film from the programme.


Accepted screening formats: DCP (preferred) or HD files (Apple ProRes). The detailed technical requirements and instructions will be sent to the copyright holders of selected films individually. The screening copy must have burned-in English subtitles unless English is the original language of the film.


Directors, whose films have been selected for the programme, will be invited to attend the Festival. If the director is not able to attend, his or her invitation may be transferred (with the approval of the Organizing Committee of the Festival) to another member of the film crew.

The Festival will supply the representatives of the competition films with an invitation to receive free visas and hotel accommodation for three nights. Unfortunately, as a rule, the Festival cannot cover the travel costs of participants; however, in some cases, this possibility will be considered on an individual basis.

Traditionally, the Festival reserves the right to invite distinguished guests, participants in non-competition screenings, theatre and other programmes, workshop leaders, leading actors from pictures screened at the Festival, media representatives, and representatives of various cultural organizations. Accommodation and travel coverage is to be discussed and agreed upon on a case-by-case basis.


The Festival may use excerpts from competition films (up to 10% of the length of the film, but no more than three minutes) to promote the Festival on television and the Internet.

The Festival has the right to show a film that has been selected to be included in the programme up to three times during the Festival.


By sending your electronic application to participate in the Message to Man Festival (through the Festival website, or through Festhome / FilmFestivalLife / FilmFreeWay, or other authorized resource), or by completing a paper copy of the application, you certify that you are an authorized representative of the film’s rights holder and agree in full to the above paragraphs of these Regulations.

SPECIAL PROGRAMMES and special screenings

Special programmes are established and compiled by the Organizing Committee of the Festival. The number of special programmes for each year is determined by the Organizing Committee based on the Festival’s current needs and capabilities.

The films selected for special programmes and special screenings of the festival are to be handled by the programme’s curator and the rightsholder of the films. The payment of screening fees is to be carried out by the Festival upon receipt of the invoice sent by the rightsholders. Screening fees are not established and can vary in each individual case.  

Transportation of the copies for the special programmes and special screenings during the Festival is covered by the Festival. Expenses for insurance of the copy in the period between receiving the copy and returning it, as well as expenses for the copy return, are covered by the Festival.

The return of the film copies to their rightsholders is carried out within three weeks after the Festival’s official closing date.


Authors of the films selected for special programmes and special screenings are invited to present the film at the Festival. The Festival provides representatives of the special programmes and special screenings films with a visa, plane or train tickets and hotel accommodation for the period of the special programme or special screening within the Festival.


The Festival’s Business programme consists of exhibitions, talks, round tables, workshops and masterclasses that might include out-of-competition screenings of fiction feature films, as well as other cultural events that are part of the Festival’s program.

All guests of the Business Program are invited by the Festival and transportation, accommodation and visa support expenses are covered by the Festival.

See you at the Festival!