Film on victims of sects shown in Moscow

Moscow, August 30, 2016


A scene from the film. A scene from the film.

The film Close to Us by Archpriest Alexander
Novopashin was shown on August 29 as part of the fifth
“We will Live on!” Moscow festival of national
cinema. The movie describes how people fall into
totalitarian sects and who is usually behind such

For the film director, Fr. Alexander Novopashin, this is
already the second full-length film – the first
devoted to the issue of drug addiction.

The film Close to Us was presented to Moscow
viewers by actor Yury Belyayev who took part in both of
the director’s projects. “It is a kind of a
warning rather than a film for entertainment,” he
said. “The issue in this narrative is very complex
and difficult. I have a personal link to this story: a
relative of mine, a woman, got into a sect of this kind
which poses as a denomination. And for ten years none of
our relatives have been able to help and save her.”

Belyayev characterized both films made by the archpriest
saying, “they are preventative.” And he added:
“Fr. Alexander and I have been to many cities with
both motion pictures. After showing the film we normally
communicate with the audience for several hours. And every
time it appears that there is at least one person in the
movie theater who was a victim to either drug addiction or
totalitarian sects. Only the Russian Orthodox Church is
trying to struggle with this…”

The actor noted that the film’s primary aim is to
tell people that they are not alone: “The movie
gives you the understanding that there will always be
people who will support you; you need only to find
them… Please, do not think that your problem is

Donations given by private individuals and funds provided
by parishioners of the Novosibirsk St. Alexander
Nevsky’s Cathedral (where Archpriest Alexander
Novopashin is rector) were used for shooting both
pictures. Those worked on the movies did so on a voluntary
basis. Such famous actors and actresses as Ilia Lyubimov,
Yekaterina Vilkova, Arina Marakulina, and Denis Beresnev
acted in the film Close to Us. All of them are
parishioners of Moscow churches.

Meanwhile, Yury Belyayev has complained that too few
people are concerned about the problems that the
priest-director Fr. Alexander Novopashin exposes in the
film. “I am still a member of the Union of
Cinematographers of the Russian Federation,” he
said. “The social tasks which a priest who has no
special education is currently undertaking have never been
set before our Russian filmmakers at any meetings or round
tables. That is surprising, but it appears that we, film
production workers, have no social responsibilities
towards you, our viewers. It really surprises me! That is
why the archpriest’s invitation was not only a kind
of obedience for me, but also my longing for a social
element in cinematography.”

The actor has advised those who suffer from the
destructive effects of sects or from drug addiction to
seek information and appeal for help, particularly through
the website of the St. Alexander Nevsky’s Cathedral
in Novosibirsk.

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