About us


Buta Films company celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2016.

The company has a special experience in organizing international events and working at international film projects. Its distinctive feature is love towards the East and understanding of historical, cultural and mental background of Islamic countries of Central Asia and the Middle East. Currently the company is working on the following projects: City of Strangers (dir. by Vadim Perelman), TV series The Era of Nobels, and a sitcom Mourningville.

CEO: Maria Ivanova


2016, October

Buta Films are organizing the first festival of Russian cinema in Lebanon “5 years in 5 days”. The festival is taking place in Beirut on October 24-28. We're set to show the best Russian films over the past 5 years. The project supported by the Russian Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lebanon. the Lebanese Ministry of Culture has offered the festival its patronage.

2016, September

The premiere of Fleeing the War (Syria, Lebanon, Germany, Russia)a documentary film about Syrian refugees, written, produced and directed by Maria Ivanova.

2016, June

Buta Films acted as bilateral partner of companies Central Partnership (Russia) and Empire (Lebanon) while releasing the first Russian film in the Middle East – The Crew. On June 21, the film premiered in Beirut and in UAE and it will be distributed in 9 countries across the Middle East.

2016, April 

A full-house screening of two of the best contemporary Russian short films Salamanca and The Last One in Lebanon at the USEK University (Lebanon) and the film production master-classes for USEK university students.

2015, September

In September 2015, we initiated and organized an exhibition of a 9-year-old autistic painter Marcus Martinovich, in collaboration with the charity fund A Step Together for children suffering from cerebral palsy. In the framework of the exhibition, the organizers held an auction and sold many of the painter’s works. The idea of the event was that a young child helps disabled children.


A 100-day BUTA Festival of Azerbaijani culture and arts in London, held from November 2014 to March 2015. 25 events at the best venues of the city: Royal Albert hall, Saatchi gallery, Barbican, Curzon cinema, Ronny Scot's club, Southwark Cathedral and others. Exhibitions, concerts, film screenings, theatre performances, ballet and even a quest. The London Royal Orchestra acted as the official orchestra of the festival. The participants and festival guests: Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo, Nino Katamadze, Keiko Matsui, Shlomo Mintz, Andrei Konchalovsky, Akram Kan, Gidon Kremer and many others.


Our short film The Last One (Russia - Azerbaijan) is selected into the Cannes Film Festival. The film was screened at about 70 international film festivals around the world and received 9 awards.

2006 - 2014

Production of documentary films commissioned by the First Channel, Russia K Channel, the Fifth Channel – St.Petersburg. Among notable works there are: Joseph Brodsky: A Conversation with a Heaven Inhabitant, Garik Sukachov. An Honest Talk, Vladimir Spivakov. Because I love, Muslim Magomaev. Heart on the Snow, Yury Olesha Nicknamed Writer, Joe Dassin,Mireille Mathieu, Salvatore Adamo. From Paris with Love, Maris Liepa. I want to dance for one hundred years, Agnia Barto. Reading between the Lines and many other works – about 100 films and TV programmes in total.



A TV programme The Right to be Happy about children with disabilities. The program has been recognised in award ceremonies as being the best TV programme in Russian television. In 2013, the program received the ‘Grand Prix of Integration’ at the third International Festival of TV and Radio Programmers. This year, the project received the prestigious ‘Best TV Program’ award at the ‘Uniting Words with Kindness’ ceremony.



Maria Ivanova
CEO and Festival Director

Born in Moscow, producer Maria Ivanova (33) graduated from Moscow State University’s Faculty of Journalism, with a degree in Advertising and PR. While graduating, she secured her first professional role at a popular Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets as a reporter, and in 2003 began working with a major television production company ATV as a TV journalist.

In 2006, Maria launched an independent production company Studio Project TV, under which she produced documentaries for Channel One, Channel Five (Saint Petersburg), as well as for Russia’s Culture Channel. During the seven years that Studio Project TV was active, it produced over 90 documentaries and television programs.

As testament to her achievements in both TV and film, Maria’s productions have received numerous nominations and awards. The documentary Jozef Brodsky. Conversation with God was nominated for two awards at the TEFI Prize; and most notably, in 2012, Studio Project TV received the government STRANA TV Prize for the documentary Garik Sukachev. A rhinoceros without skin

In 2012, Maria Ivanova began her collaboration with the emerging producer Nasib Piriev from Azerbaijan, and Studio Project TV was renamed Buta Films. In its first two years, Buta Films has produced documentaries and held cultural events. The production company engages in co-production with both Russian and international productions, and most notably Buta Films has produced a short feature, The Last One (Sonuncu), which follows the story of the last WWII veteran. In 2014, film Sonuncu (a Russian-Azerbaijani co-production) was included in the Official Selection of the 67th Cannes Film Festival and selected as one of the 8 Best Short Film nominees worldwide. The Last one participated in 60 international film festivals and received 9 awards.

Kate Pirogova
Executive producer of the Festival

Kate is a Moscow-based event producer focusing on film and music. After graduating from the Faculty of Foreign Languages of the Moscow State University in 2012, Kate joined the team of the international festival of independent film ‘2morrow’ as guest and volunteer coordinator (three years later, she became the festival’s line producer).

In 2013, Kate started working as guest and volunteer coordinator of Beat Film Festival, a major Moscow-based documentary film festival about new culture.

A year later, Kate became the main competition coordinator for the national debut film festival ‘Dvijenie’ [‘Movement’], based in the Siberian city of Omsk, and in 2015, she joined the guest & hospitality team of the main Russian national film showcase Kinotavr.  

In 2015, Kate started working as the manager for award-winning Russia and France-based composer Alexei Aigui and his Ensemble 4’33’’.

In 2016, Kate is the executive producer of the First Russian Film Festival in Lebanon, and continues working for Beat Film Festival, ‘Dvijenie’, and 2morrow.



General Producer of the Festival
Maria Ivanova maria@butafilms.ru

Executive Producer of the Festival
Kate Pirogova kate.pirogova@gmail.com

Russian Cultural Center in Beirut
Lebanon, Beirut
Rashide Karame str.
Tel: +961 1 790212
Fax: +961 1 799316