Alina Rudnizkaja
Alina Rudnizkaja belongs to the so-called ninth generation of Russian documentary filmmakers, a film history classification which begins with Sergei Eisenstein. The Swiss film scholars Reto Bühler and Jörg Hüssy believe that the common trait of this newest generation of Russian documentary filmmaker is “the ability to also allow the great questions of human existence to shine out from behind precise everyday observation.”

Alina Rudnizkaja’s films focus on documenting daily life in the New Russia. They show a society undergoing radical change. Her narrative structure is rooted in the tradition of classic Soviet documentary films on the one hand, but expands this to a level of intimacy unknown until now. Her camera positions itself close to the protagonists and appears to be such an integral part of what is being portrayed that many viewers doubt the authenticity of the filmed moment. “Many people ask me if my films include any staging. But no, there isn’t. It’s all documentary.” (Alina Rudnizkaja)

Alina Rudnizkaja’s thirteen documentary films to date have earned over thirty prizes and were screened worldwide at important festivals such as the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the London Film Festival, Transmediale in Berlin, and the Silverdocs Festival in the United States. In 2005, with Civil Status, Alina Rudnizkaja enjoyed great international success for the first time. The film won fourteen festival prizes. Among other honors, it was awarded first prize at the short-film festival Oberhausener Kurzfilmtage and received the ecumenical jury’s Special Mention Award. In Stuttgart and at the Interfilm Berlin Festival, the film was selected Best Documentary Film. Her first films, Letter and Communal Residence, had already made the filmmaker known beyond Russia’s borders and received multiple awards. In Germany, Amazons (2003) was shown at the Werkleitz Biennale in Halle, the Documentary Film Festival in Kassel, and the international short-film festival in Oberhausen. In 2004, her portrait of the band TATU was awarded the “LAVR” as Best Russian Documentary Film. Her feature film debut, currently in post-production, is entitled Blind Movie.

The filmmaker born in 1976 grew up north of the Artic Circle in the Russian harbor town of Murmansk. She came to St. Petersburg to study engineering at the University of Aerospace Technology. After concluding her studies, she enrolled at the University for Culture and Arts in the same city and studied scriptwriting and directing. Her successful student films made her first television network commissions possible: Driving Mad and Communal Residence, two short films for the TV series Petersburg 2003. Since then, she works for the time-honored St. Petersburg Documentary Film Studio, where film legends such as Alexander Sokurov and Pavel Kogan have worked. Founded in 1918, this studio is one of Russia’s oldest state-run film production facilities, and even today a large number of the country’s documentary films are produced here. Alina Rudnizkaja lives and works in St. Petersburg.
In Vixen Academy (2008), the filmmaker creates the portrait of a course for young women determined to achieve more love and power by learning how to effectively apply their charm. Their efforts seem absurd and tragicomic at first. They dance in their undergarments, study lascivious eating habits practiced on bananas, and take turns throwing their arms around the course instructor’s neck. But then, behind their bodily contortions, the social and personal reasons for their efforts shine through. In Civil Status (2005) as well, Rudnizkaja observes everyday errors and entanglements, but this time in a registry office. The all-female personnel ends up altering the feelings of engaged and just-divorced couples, and of people lost in the bureaucratic machinery. Besame Mucho (2006) describes the rehearsals of an all-female choir in rural Tikhvin, preceding a visit from a group of Italian diplomats. In Amazons (2003), Rudnizkaja focuses on a group of young, urban amazons who keep horses in midtown St. Petersburg and accept no men into their ranks.
Rudnizkaja’s documentary films are usually between twenty and thirty minutes long. Since financing films of this format is becoming increasingly difficult, during her stay in Berlin the filmmaker intends to concentrate on the material for a longer documentary. The True Blood project will be co-produced by a Lithuanian firm.