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Pussy Riot Documentary Makes Oscars Longlist

Published: December 5, 2013 (Issue # 1789)

  • The documentary by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin debuted at the 2013 Sundance film festival and is in the running for an Oscar.
    Photo: HBO Documentary Films

"Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer," a film exploring the characters behind Russia's most talked about feminist art collective, has made the longlist for Best Documentary in the 2014 Academy Awards.

Fifteen of the 147 films originally considered are still in the running. The list will be narrowed down to five in January with the winning film to be announced at the awards show on March 2.

The documentary introduces viewers to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, the three women whose 40-second "punk prayer" in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in February 2012 led to convictions of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and two-year prison colony sentences for Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina.

The trial drew condemnation from the international human rights community but the band found little support in Russia, where only 6 percent of respondents said they sympathized with Pussy Riot in a September poll conducted by the Levada Center.

Directed and produced by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, the film employs footage of the trial and other Pussy Riot protests in addition to interviews with band members, the defense team and their families.

Other documentaries still in the running for the Oscar include the Danish genre-bender "The Act of Killing," Canadian actress-turned-director Sarah Polley's "The Stories We Tell" and "The Square," a tale of political activism in Egypt.


Times Talk


Thursday, Apr. 24

Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegation’s visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.

AmCham’s Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.

Friday, Apr. 25

Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finland’s Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from

Saturday, Apr. 26

At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping mall’s Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.

Sunday, Apr. 27

Families shouldn’t miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.

Monday, Apr. 28

The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBA’s Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.

Tuesday, Apr. 29

Improve your English at the British Book Center’s Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.