The Golden Unicorn Awards, coinciding with the Russian Film Week, is a film competition, launched in the UK in 2016, and have become annual since.
By showcasing the most exciting and critically acclaimed Russian films and international films about Russia from the preceding 18 months, the awards and panorama week aims to inform and educate viewers about the richness, depth and variety of contemporary Russian culture and Russian-themed filmmaking, to reach out to audiences above and beyond cultural, social or political barriers.
The festival screens both Russian and co-produced feature films, as well as shorts, documentary and animated films. Alongside film screenings the programme includes a number of satellite events, such as: master-classes by award-winning filmmakers, talks, round table discussions, exhibitions and other entertainment events for filmmakers, distributors and audiences from both Russia and Europe. There is also a number of industry events, designed for professionals from both Russia and the UK to network and foster future collaboration, discuss projects, discover new funding sources, enjoy the benefits of learning from and working with a different culture.
Over 100 of Russia’s most talented directors, producers and actors attend the festival to take part in workshops, Q&As and other events. International film star Olga Kurylenko made a guest appearance and subsequently became a Jury member. BFI, British Council, Russian Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Culture are partners now.
The festival culminates in the Golden Unicorn Awards ceremony designed to recognise excellence in 12 nominations, including a nomination for the Best Foreign Film About Russia or Set in Russia and a Prize for the Promotion of Russian Culture Abroad – as a reflection of the festival’s cross-cultural agenda.
The reason for the name also stems from the festival’s cross-cultural mission: the unicorn is a mythical creature that only appears to the chosen ones and it is found both in Russian and British folklore dating back centuries.
The awards ceremony is held in the format of a Charity Gala - in 2016 it supported the Podari Zhizn/Gift of Life UK foundation; in 2017 – the WWF Save the Amur Tiger Project, and from 2018 - The Naked Heart Foundation.
Each category winner gets a Golden Unicorn statuette. Each statuette is uniquely handmade in Bohemia from the finest crystal glass and 24k gold powder. There are also prizes from sponsors announced separately.
• Best Russian Feature Film
• Best Russian Screenplay
• Best Actor
• Best Actress
• Best Short
• Best Documentary from Russia
• Best Foreign Documentary about Russia or with a Russian Connection
• Best Foreign Film about Russia or Set in Russia
• Best Animated Film from Russia
All entries through FilmFreeway need to pay a small fee for their submissions that goes towards the committee processing times and to eliminate spam submissions.
1. The annual film event Russian Film Week “Неделя Российского Кино” (hereinafter - RFW) held in London, of which the competitive Golden Unicorn Awards “Золотой Единорог" (hereinafter - GUA) are an established awards part, introduces films to the general public and recognises talent the GUA competition.
1.1. The Golden Unicorn Awards nominations are comprised of a selection of films and people, solely selected by the nomination committee, by majority vote, out of a complete set of motion pictures comprised of i) all films submitted through FilmFreeway ii) and ii) the RFW curators (in case of documentaries and shorts).
1.2. The RFW public screening panorama programme is formed by a mixture of three avenues: a) the event administration represented by the General Producer, selects films from the long list formed by the GUA nomination committee or b) selects relevant films at its own discretion deemed important from a commercial, contractual or thematic perspective or c) selected by curators (only in the case of Documentaries and Short films). The resulting set of films is for the purposes of the public screening programme and may or may not coincide with the GUA selections or nominations.
2. GUA mission: to celebrate the best achievements of Russian cinematography in promoting the image of Russia abroad and the best achievements of foreign filmmakers in producing films about Russia or set in Russia.
RFW mission: to facilitate European–Russian collaboration in the realm of film; to promote Russian film to an international audience; to empower international production companies to produce and set films in Russia; to encourage distribution of Russian films in Europe; to provide access for independent international films to be screened in Russia; to stimulate international film-makers to produce Russia-themed titles or films based in Russia.
3. GUA ceremony is held in London, United Kingdom every year in late November - early December.
The RFW is held at at multiple venues in the United Kingdom (information is published annually on the RFW website: russianfilmweek.org).
4. The timings and venues of the RFW programme and auxiliary events are determined by the RFW Organizing Committee (approved by the General Producer).
5. The programme of the RFW includes feature films, shorts, documentary and animated films, produced by Russian filmmakers or co-productions released in the last 18 months prior to the starting day of the RFW; it also includes auxiliary events, such as the Industry Forum for film-makers and distributors from both Russia and Europe; master-classes by famous filmmakers; press conferences, round tables, lectures, exhibitions; entertainment.
6. To participate in the RFW and the nominations GUA nominations film producers should submit feature-length and short, documentary and animated films produced / released in the last for 18 prior to the start of RFW; submitted films should be provided in electronic form or Digital Cinema Package (DCP) format no later than 1st November of the relevant year. All films must have English subtitles.
7. Submissions should be made through the RFW and the GUA FilmFreeway portal. Films sent after the deadline will not be considered.
8. The Nomination Committee (consisting of filmmakers, experts, critics, opinion leaders) the General Producer (depending on the avenue of selection, see point 1.2.) makes the final decision on the inclusion of the film in the RFW programme and reserves the right not to comment on its decisions. Only the Nomination Committee decided the GUA nominations and reserves the right not to comment on its decisions.
9. All films submitted to through FilmFreeway or by way of email need to be submitted by the film representatives in good faith, having a true intention of participating in the RFW and GUA, and having the right to submit such films.
If the decision on the inclusion of the film in the RFW programme and the GUA nominations is made and the applicant receives an invitation, they must confirm their participation and send information and promotional materials, including a short description and the recommended age limits; they need to confirm their right for distribution or indicate the distribution rights holder; materials for the film catalogue are sent in electronic format, including the director and actors photos, stills, trailers, posters in high resolution – are also submitted electronically. Film copies, submitted for public viewing should not contain any promotional materials or advertisements that are not an integral part of the original script.
10. Copies of the films selected to take part in the RFW must be submitted to the Organizing Committee by October of the relevant year in DCP format. Delivery to the UK is agreed upon separately with each individual distribution rights holder.
11. As part of the RFW films may be shown not more than 4 (four) times without the film producer’s written permission.
12. Films selected for the GUA nominations are submitted for deliberation to an international jury consisting of renowned filmmakers, film scholars and critics. The jury should consist of at least five (5) people.
The jury shall not include persons involved in the production or commercial distribution of films submitted for deliberation. All members of the jury shall refrain from making public statements about the films submitted for deliberation until the official awards ceremony, which is held on the last weekend before the RFW closing day.
13. The Organizing Committee makes the decision on the RFW guests and participants invitation, the terms and conditions of their stay and accreditation and reserves the right to invite guests, irrespective of their direct involvement in the creation of participating films.
14. Journalists, covering the RFW and the GUA ceremony should fill in an accreditation form on the RFW website. The Organizing Committee reserves the right to refuse the media representatives accreditation or withdraw accreditation without explanation.
The Organizing Committee reserves the right to be invite individual members of the media to cover the events at its own expense or with partial payment of expenses.
Accredited media representatives, regardless of who pays for their arrival and accommodation, commit to attend all press conferences and to inform the Organizing Committee beforehand which film shows or other activities they choose to attend.
15. Participants, guests and media representatives accreditation takes places and passes are issued at the following address: the RFW counter at the Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent Street, Marylebone, London W1B 2U, United Kingdom (information is published annually on the RFW website: russianfilmweek.org).
16. The winners in all GUA nominations will be awarded prizes – the "Golden Unicorn" statuettes and diplomas.
The Golden Unicorn Awards are established in the following nominations:
• Best Feature Film
• Best Screenplay
• Best Foreign Film about Russia or Set in Russia
• Best Actor
• Best Actress
• Best Short
• Best Documentary
• Best Animated Film
• Best Film on Ecology
Special awards (could be amended every year):
• Best Emerging Talent
• Best Contribution to Promoting Russian Culture Abroad
• General Producer's Award
17. Participation in the RFW events implies acceptance of all the RFW and GUA Rules and Regulations.
The RFW Organizing Committee address:
Russian Film Week, Perkon Productions, 61 Stanhope Gardens, London, SW7 5RF, United Kingdom.
Web: russianfilmweek.org / www.goldenunicornaward.com