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Embattled Russian Filmmaker Wins Russian Best-Director Honor

The film Leto (Summer) by director Kirill Serebrennikov has won the 2018 White Elephant award for best direction from the Russian Cinematographers Union.

The prize was announced on January 11.

Leto tells the story of the relationship between a young Viktor Tsoi, later a co-founder of the Soviet rock group Kino, and Maik Naumenko, the leader of the band Zoopark.

Serebrennikov worked on the film while he was under house arrest while facing charges of embezzling some 130 million rubles ($1.9 million) of state-grant funding. He was arrested in August 2017.

Serebrennikov and the other defendants in the case deny any wrongdoing. Dozens of Russian and international cultural figures have expressed support for Serebrennikov and have urged that the case against him be dismissed.

In December, the Russian Association of Theater Critics named Serebrennikov its "person of the year."
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