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Members of Russian Film Industry Discuss Future of Co-Productions

A lack of transparency and incentive schemes hamper the development, say panelists at a Forum Russia event on Saturday.

MOSCOW – Co-production is a promising area for the Russian film industry, but several issues need to be resolved before the country becomes a full-fledged participant in the international co-prod market, acknowledged participants in the panel discussion “Co-Production: How To Find A Common Language” at the Forum Russia 2012’s event “Investment in Film, Television and New Media” in Moscow on Saturday, Feb. 4.

According to moderator Yelena Romanova, director of the international department at the Russian cinema fund, potential gains for the Russian film industry are enormous, but so far, insufficient transparency of the market, lack of incentive schemes and an insurance system, legislative differences and language barriers are hampering the development of the field.

Still, she added, between 25 and 30 co-productions projects are to apply for government support this year.

“The number of co-productions [involving Russian partners] is on the rise,” said Leonid Demchenko, Russia’s representative at Eurimages. “Last year’s most significant event was Russia’s joining Eurimages.”

Demchenko added that all the projects with Russian participation submitted to Eurimages last year, were granted support.

Eurimages was an especially important step, given that Russia has mutual co-prod agreements with only a handful of countries, particularly France, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany and Canada.

There is some progress towards providing incentives to foreign film crews shooting in the country, as well, although it is slow. “So far, Russia has only one type of incentives – the return of value added tax on Russian expenses,” said Alla Nagis, a partner at King & Spalding.

Meanwhile, despite obstacles in the way of development the co-productions segment, foreign producers look at Russia as a potentially interesting market. “Russia is a place where we would very much like to produce,” said Sandra Stern, COO at Lionsgate Television.