Séance, founded by Lyubov Arkus, has been around since 1990. In the course of time the magazine has evolved to its current format: each issue is a thick (around 300 or even 400 pages), richly decorated conceptual volume. Among our recent issues are Faust, dedicated to one of the basic mythical narratives of European culture; Le Tour de France, consisting of articles about, and interviews with, obscure French filmmakers; Utopia, on various projections of the future in cinema and beyond. The texts are written by top Russian critics, scholars, filmmakers and intellectuals of all kinds.
The magazine extends to the internet where we run a website, updated on daily basis. The printed version often overlaps with the blog (all the texts published on paper end up online sooner or later); however, the majority of material that appears on Seance.Ru is created specifically for the website: reviews, interviews, essays, videos and other entries of whatever format.
Apart from that, Séance is also many things. We are active as a publishing house with 60 book titles (as of July 2015) in our catalogue, and counting. We have published scholarly works, biographies, collections of critical essays, scripts and theatre plays. These include Film Glossary, a three-volume encyclopaedia of Russian cinema; Maria Kuvshinova’s Balabanov, the first ever biography of the director Aleksei Balabanov; Mikhail Iampolski’s two works on philosophy of the visual Spatial History and The Spectator. Studies in History of Vision, and others. We have three continuing series: the Directors’ Series (Sokurov, Muratova, Balabanov); Screenwriter’s Library, a collection of 19 books with filmscripts by Aleksei German, Renata Litvinova, Aleksandr Mindadze and many others; and Séance Guide, a yearly account on new Russian films.
Next, Séance organises film-related events—festivals, special screenings, lectures, conferences etc.—in Saint Petersburg and other Russian cities. We have run several retrospectives, starting with the highly successful Stanley Kubrick Festival attended by Jan Harlan; the latest one was the retrospective of Roy Andersson who presented his latest film Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence in person. Our most important project in 2015 so far was the First Balabanov Conference—an academic forum on Aleksei Balabanov accompanied by a series of screenings, a contemporary art exhibition, and even a guided tour. The Conference’s events were held in Saint Petersburg and Moscow; they involved a large number of notable critics, theorists, artists and filmmakers from Russia and abroad and received a huge feedback.
While our main purpose is thinking film, practice is not alien to us. As a production company, Séance was involved in several films; Anton’s Right Here, a documentary by Lyubov Arkus co-produced with CTB company, was officially selected for Venice Film Festival and won national and international awards.
For more information please visit Seance.Ru.