Moscow Museum Chief to Stay On After Culture Minister Vowed to Build Permanent Home for Movie Collection

7:43 AM PST 07/26/2013 by Nick Holdsworth

The founder and director of the Russian institution had faced dismissal but gets a year-long contract extension, during which time he can find a successor.

WROCLAW, Poland -- The founder and director of Moscow’s famous Cinema Museum has been told his job is safe for another year after culture minister Vladimir Medinsky pledged to build a permanent home for a "world class" collection of vintage films and cinema artifacts.

Naum Kleiman, 75, who had faced dismissal within two weeks, was told his contract as curator for a collection of 400,000 objects associated with a century of Russian and world cinema would be extended through July 2014.

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During that time, plans to build a permanent home for the museum, currently located at Moscow’s Mosfilm Studios, would be drawn up, Kleiman was told. "Medinsky promised to build a new home for the cinema museum," Kleiman told The Hollywood Reporter. "That's the first time the future of the museum has been guaranteed in this way."

The contract extension will allow time to find a suitable successor to carry that project forward, said Kleiman.

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"Really, I need a successor who is younger and much more oriented toward construction and money," he explained. "This gives me the chance to name someone who will be my successor."

He added: "At last [the Ministry] has recognized the importance the museum plays in preserving world heritage."

Kleiman’s reprieve and news of plans for a permanent home for the museum came after a campaign by leading Russian directors, producers and filmmakers on his behalf. An open letter to Medinsky, signed by producer/director Fedor Bondarchuk, producer Sergey Selyanov, directors Alexander Sokurov and Sergey Solovyev and Konstantin Ernst, head of Russia’s top national TV station, Channel One and others, noted that a generation of Russian filmmakers have been nurtured by Kleiman and the museum.

Russian news Friday reported that a new board of trustees will be appointed to oversee the creation of a new home for the museum with Ernst likely invited to chair it.

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