Eight film companies to get Russian cash

$68 mil shared out on basis of commercial prospects

MOSCOW -- Eight Russian film companies are to share 2 billion roubles ($68 million) in state support under the new system that comes into force this year.

On Friday, Sergei Tolstikov, executive director of the fund for social and economic support for the local film industry, a recently formed agency to administer a lion's share for the government's cash for the film sector, announced companies that will collect state money this year.

Nikita Mikhalkov's TriTe, Fyodor Bondarchuk's Art Pictures, Timur Bekmambetov's Bazelevs, the film arm of the country's largest TV station Channel One, Direktsiya Kino, as well as STV, Profit, Central Partnership and Rekun are to receive 250 million roubles ($8.5 million) each. The selection was based on assessment by the independent research group Movie Research.

"The main criteria was a company's long established record for producing films popular with mass audiences and appreciated by the professional film community," Movie Research's general director told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that each of the selected companies will have to use cash provided by the government to produce at least three feature films, and at least 30% of the films' budget will have to come from private sources.

Meanwhile, companies left out of the scheme questioned the objectivity of the selection criteria. "The fact that RWS was not even included on the list of companies considered by the fund as potential beneficiaries of state support in 2010, is really surprising," Yuri Sapronov, RWS' CEO, told THR.

Under the previous system, state cash went to individual projects rather than film companies.
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