Russian fest Kinotavr set for low-key event

Co-owner, major sponsor pulled out six weeks ago

MOSCOW -- Russia's main film festival Kinotavr kicks off June 6 in the Black Sea resort of Sochi with the premiere of "Moscow, I Love You," a collection of short films about the Russian capital, shot by established local directors, including Yegor Konchalovski and Vera Storozheva.

The 21st edition of the festival is being staged amid financial problems and a sharp decline in local film production in the wake of a global economic downturn.

The festival's co-owner Igor Tolstunov and the headline sponsor mobile phone operator Vimpelcom pulled out six weeks ago, forcing the remaining owner Alexander Rodnyansky to personally cover most of the cost.

During last year's festival the selection committee admitted that it would no longer have that many films to choose from -- which has already had an impact on this year's festival lineup with the majority of movies chosen for the official competition made by first-time or little-known feature directors.

Among the festival's anticipated titles is "Schastye Moye" (My Joy), the feature debut by documentary filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa, which unspooled at the Festival de Cannes last month.
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