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Private Film Fund Launches in Russia to Finance Co-Productions

The $130,000 annual revolving fund will help fill the gap left by the Russian government's recent decision to cut off support to co-producers.

MOSCOW – A new privately backed Russian film fund launched Saturday in St. Petersburg.

The P.O.V. Film Development Fund -- part of the new Northern Seas Film Forum business platform that will launch at the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in September -- is designed to help Russian producers participate in international co-productions.

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The $130,000 fund will back four or five Russian co-produced projects this year, based on competitive bids for funds from producers for full-length feature projects.

Seen as a partial response to the closure earlier this year of the international department of the state Cinema Fund -- which over the past two years had spent around $6 million a year supporting Russian co-productions -- the funding decisions will be made by a committee that includes Sergey Selyanov, one of Russia's top indie film producers; Artem Vasiliev of Metrafilms; Jani Thiltges of Samsa Film and head of studies at producer training body EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs); Riina Sildos of Amrion and the Baltic Event (the industry platform of the Tallinn film festival) and Jean-Christophe Simon of Films Boutique.

Cash will be paid out of the revolving fund from the first day of principal photography for backed projects.

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The Northern Seas Film Forum is designed to bring together filmmakers from an arc of countries that border the Baltic and other northern seas, including Russia, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and Poland.

The platform will include pitching sessions, presentation of co-production projects and works in progress.

The event, Sept. 11 to 15 in St. Petersburg, will include the Baltic Bridge East by West (B'EST) event, organized by Estonia's Baltic Event, Rfilms and CTB Film Company in cooperation with EAVE and the EU's MEDIA Mundus program. B'EST brings together 10 producers with feature projects from the EU, CIS countries and Georgia, where they will be given development help and advice from top producers, script doctors, lawyers, sales agents and other consultants. The organization also runs the Tallinn film festival in late November.

New film projects from the Netherlands will also be presented by the Holland Film Meeting.