Russia’s Culture Ministry to Hold Open Pitching Sessions for State-Submitted Film Projects

7:56 AM PST 07/18/2013 by Vladimir Kozlov

The institution tries to make the process of selecting films that receive government funding more transparent.

ODESSA, UKRAINE - In a bid to avoid allegations of corruption and unfairness, Russia’s culture ministry is to hold open pitching sessions for film projects submitted for state support.

The culture ministry, which has the main say on which projects are to obtain government funding, said that the pitching sessions are to be held in Moscow on July 23-26. They are to be divided into separate sections for documentaries, first features, children’s films and "auteur and experimental films."

Among projects submitted in the latter category are Leviaphan (Leviathan) by Andrei Zvyagintsev, Dorogoi Gans, Mily Pyotr (Dear Hans, Dear Pyotr) by Alexander Mindadze, as well as new films by Valeria Gai Germanika, Andrei Proshkin, Ivan Vyrypayev and other established directors.

In total, the ministry has pre-selected 69 feature projects and nine documentaries for the pitching sessions.

Previously, producers and directors never had the opportunity to publicly pitch their projects, which led to numerous complaints and allegations of the ministry’s unfair decisions and even corruption, although no evidence of any wrongdoing has ever been made public.

For many years, the Russian film sector has heavily depended on state cash, and the lion’s share of movies produced in the country is partially or fully financed by the government. This year, the government is to disburse 2.3 billion rubles ($71 million) to local filmmakers.

Incidentally, in neighboring Ukraine, a practice of public pitches for film projects applying for state cash was established two years ago and has been praised by local producers.

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