Message To Man (32)


18 Jan 2023
Call for entries

20 Aug 2023
Festival closed

01 Sep 2023
Notification date

20 Oct 2023
28 Oct 2023


Griboyedov Canal Quay, 27,  191186, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, Russia

Festival description
Short film festival 40'<
Feature film festival 120'<

Festival requirements
 Film festival
 Music Video
 Any Genre
 Any Theme
 Has submission fees
 International Festival
 Physical Location
 January 2022
 Production countries: Any
 Shooting countries: Any
 Director nationalities: Any
 Debut Films 
 School projects 
 Short Films  40'<
 Feature Films  120'<
 Any language
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Photo of Message To Man
Photo of Message To Man

Photo of Message To Man
Photo of Message To Man


Festival start: 20 October 2023      Festival end: 28 October 2023

The 33rd International Documentary, Short and Animated Film Festival Message to Man will take place on October 20 – 28, 2023 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The history of Message to Man Festival spans three decades of documentary films, short feature films and animation. The Festival was founded in 1989 in Leningrad by director Mikhail Litvyakov. Today, he is the Honorary President of Message to Man. Alexei Uchitel – director of documentary and feature films, People’s Artist of Russia – became President of the Festival in 2010.The Festival brings thousands of spectators to the city’s cinemas. Three competitions constitute the central part of the Festival’s programme. Full-length and short documentaries, feature and animation films compete on equal footing for the Grand Prix of the International Competition.

“The 32nd Message to Man International Film Festival, held in October last year, demonstrated the most important thing: our audience remained loyal to us, and it even increased. It may seem that tens of thousands of viewers in a multi-million city is not that much. But then again, you don’t need much salt to get the taste right. And if the salt loses its potency, how do you make it salty? Pardon me for the lofty quote, but let’s not forget the evangelical meaning that our festival’s founder, documentary filmmaker Mikhail Litvyakov, put into the word ‘message’.

There are still people in Russia for whom it is important to feel that they and their city are part of global cultural process. And there are artists who combine originality with the ability to see universal things in local matters. Such as director Alexei Fedorchenko, who was awarded our prize for artistic contribution. Or Larisa Sadilova, who became a member of the international jury. And there are people in the world who are willing to support us, such as Chairman of the Jury, Vuk Mitevski; from the hands of Aleksey Uchitel he accepted a prize on behalf of the Mitevski family clan – the leaders of European auteur cinema.

After screenings, many viewers said: ‘We did not believe that was possible.’ In fact, we did not believe it ourselves. Yet, the possibility remains,” – says Alexei Medvedev, programme director of the Message to Man Film Festival.

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.



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, 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, finished 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).


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, 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.


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

Submissions to the National Competition are free of charge.

Entry fee for submission to In Silico Experimental Competition is Eur 5.

Entry fees for submission to the International Competition are as follows:

– Eur 20 for feature length documentary films (40-120 min);
- Eur 10 for fiction shorts (up to 30 min);
- Eur 7 for documentary shorts (up to 40 min);
- Eur 7 for animated shorts (up to 30 min).

The fee is to be paid via online platforms. Submissions to the International and In Silico Competition are not valid before the payment is received.


Fill the Entry Form on our website or
Via Festhome.

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 2 (two) weeks prior to the event.

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.


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 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.

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.


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.

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

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.


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.


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 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.


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.

Look forward to seeing you at the Festival!



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