In Russia, as in many countries, folklore is a part of the people’s tradition and culture. Tales of grandeur and fallen heroes, as well as stories to promote good morals, have been passed down through generations. These tales are often used to teach the younger generation valuable lessons, creating heartwarming family moments around the table as the older family members share the folklores of Russia with their appreciative younger listeners. One mythic character that is found in the country’s folklore, and various versions are found across the world, is the Firebird, or Zhar-Ptitsa.
The Firebird is known to many as the Phoenix. It is a mythical bird that lives in five hundred year cycles, which is able to regenerate from injury and is therefore, immortal. With plumage of red and gold that illuminates its flight, the Phoenix is as much a symbol of divinity as it is of fire and many legendary tales have evolved around its existence. Its most spoken about quality, that has inspired stories of encouragement or been compared to adversities that have been overcome, is that the Phoenix, nearing the end of its life cycle, builds a nest where he sets himself and the nest on fire. From the ashes left behind, a young Phoenix rises, to take the place of the older.
In Russian folklore, the Firebird symbolize a creature of blessing. In some tales the Firebird is a symbol of wealth and of power, and in many stories it is an object that the hero of the tale has been ordered to capture. One such a story tells of a tsar that sends his sons to capture the Firebird, as it would fly across his orchard and eat his golden apples. One son succeeds in grabbing hold of the Firebirds’ tail, but it escapes his grasp and leaves behind one of his feathers. The glow from the Firebird’s feather was powerful enough to light up an entire room. It is also believed to bring hope and relief to the suffering and in need.
The typical role of the Firebird in fairy tales is as an object of a difficult quest. The quest is usually initiated by finding a lost tail feather. We like to think that Moscow Shorts (International Short Film Festival) is like a fairytale where hero filmmakers from all over the world should find the lost Firebird’s feather by winning the monthly competition. At this point the filmmaker hero sets out to find and capture the annual bird trophy.
In other words, each month, the submitted projects are privately screened and judged by a team of experts from both russian and international film industry. The monthly winners are automatically qualified to compete and be screened at Moscow Shorts annual event.
We wish you good luck!