“The Spirit of Fire” is a festival of debut films, and it is particularly important that new talent does not go unnoticed. Any festival award, not only the main one, is an encouragement for the artist to create more, so that after the first film comes the next one, and then one more. That is why we do our best to establish conditions for the films to be evaluated both by a competent jury and the public. It is important to recognise the contribution other members of the crew besides the director: the cast, the cinematographer, and the composer.
In the main category – the International Debut Film Competition – the jury confers awards of three values: the Golden Taiga (with prize money of 600,000 rubles), the Silver Taiga (300,000 rubles), and the Bronze Taiga (100,000 rubles).
In the Russian Debut Film Competition, the awards are given both by the jury and by the audience choice. The Best Director award “Flowers of Taiga Hope” (awarded by the Russian grand jury) this year was named after the founder and the first president of the festival, Sergei Solovyov. The prize money (500, 000 rubles) was provided by a foundation established by the great director’s family. The “Golden Taiga” is awarded to the best film in the Russian competition program by the audience choice.
Another award – “For the Preservation of Cultural Traditions” – was established by “Gazprom Neft”, the festival’s general partner. And there is one more “Golden Taiga”, a personal award of the festival president Emir Kusturica. It can be presented either for a debut film from the competition program, or for contribution to filmmaking.
It is not only directors who get awarded. Two Alexander Abdulov awards go to the best actor and the best actress in a Russian debut film. Thus the festival pays tribute to one of its founders, the vice-president and a distinguished actor. The award for the Best Cinematography in a Russian film in or out of competition is named after Pavel Lebeshev, one of the most famous directors of photography in Russia. The award for the Best Score is bestowed on the director participating in the Russian or international competition programs.
Two awards are presented in the “Debut – Short Film” competition: the Golden Taiga – Short Film and the Silver Taiga – Short Film. Awards are bestowed by a jury composed of film scholars and film critics.
The winner of the Super Short Film competition receives a Small Bronze Taiga award according to the results of an online poll. Online voting determines winners of the festival’s commemorative awards.