The XXXI International Documentary, Short and Animated Film Festival Message to Man will take place on October 21 – October 29, 2022 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.


International Competition, including:

  • 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 should be made after January 1, 2021.

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.

National Competition of Documentary Films:

  • Documentaries (up to 120 minutes), directed by Russian filmmakers or/and produced (co-produced) by Russian producers, finished after January 1, 2021.

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).

In Silico International Competition of Experimental Films, including:

  • Short experimental films (no longer than 15 minutes) in any genre, which are technically suitable for screening in a regular cinema and were produced after January 1, 2021.

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.


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

There are several juries working during the festival:

  • films nominated for the following categories: ‘Best feature documentary’, ‘Best short documentary’, ‘Best animation’, ‘Best short fiction’, ‘Best debut’. The awards for these categories are given out by the International Jury, who also selects the film that gets the Grand Prix of the Festival.
  • films in the experimental category In Silico, nominated for ‘Best experimental short’. The award for this category is given out by the Experimental Competition Jury.
  • films nominated for ‘Best national film’ and Jury’s special prize of the National competition are to be selected by the National Competition Jury.

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.

Submission Guidelines and Selection

Submissions will be accepted from February 05, 2022 to June 15, 2022 (for films that are to be finished in 2022 rough cuts may be submitted for selection).

Entry fee for submission to the International Competition and In Silico Experimental competition is 5 EURO (short films – up to 15 min), 7 EURO (short documentary films and short animated films), 10 EURO (short feature films) and 20 EURO (feature films 40-120 min) . The fee is to be paid via online platforms (FilmFreeWay, Festhome). Submissions to the International Competition are not valid before the payment is received.

Ways of submitting films for selection

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

The applicant shall cover all postal costs. Submitted materials will not be evaluated or returned.

The list of films selected for the competition programme will be published on our website till September 10, 2022.

The producers and creators of the selected films will be notified in advance by email. The decisions of the Selection Committee are final and non-negotiable.

Shipping, Return of Copies, and Insurance

Screening copies of selected films should be delivered to our office by August 20, 2022 via the Internet. In order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection COVID-19, only digital media are accepted for screening in 2022. If the copy is not received by this deadline, then the Festival shall remove the film from the programme.

Screening Formats

Accepted screening formats: DCP 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.

Invitation to the Festival

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.

By tradition, 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.


International Competition

  • Golden Centaur Grand Prix and USD 3,000 for best film*
  • Centaur Prize and USD 1,000 for best full-length documentary film
  • Centaur Prize and USD 1,000 for best short documentary film
  • Centaur Prize and USD 1,000 for best short fiction film
  • Centaur Prize and USD 1,000 for best short animated film
  • Centaur Prize and USD 1,000 for best debut film**

* If a film receives the Golden Centaur Grand Prix, the best film nomination in a respected category is not awarded (for instance, if an animation receives the Grand Prix, the prize for best animated short film is canceled).

** A debut film is any film produced by a director while a student at a film school, or the first or second film of a director who has not received any special education.

National Competition of Documentary Films

  • Centaur Prize and 50 000 Rubles for best film of National Competition
  • Jury Prize – Centaur Prize and 30 000 Rubles (with motivation)

In Silico International Competition of Experimental Films

  • Centaur Prize and USD 1,000 for best experimental film

The Organizing Committee of the Festival, partners, sponsors, and various social organizations also award special prizes.

Screenings at the Festival and Broadcasts on Television and the Internet

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 five times during the Festival.

Acceptance and Acknowledgement of the Terms

By sending your electronic application to participate in the Message to Man Festival (through the Festival website, or through of one the mentioned online platforms, 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

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.

Various exhibitions, theatrical and musical performances, meetings, and workshops, which provide an opportunity to screen feature films outside the competitions, as well as other cultural events that are an integral part of the Festival’s program can be held as part of the film festival.

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.

Invitation of Special Guests

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.

Business Programme

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!