Russian Film Industry Insiders Condemn Idea of Banning Hollywood Fare

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Fyodor Bondarchuk

They say that a ban would lead to a massive closure of film theaters

Russian producers and theater owners are warning that a total or partial ban on Hollywood films, which has been discussed by some senior government officials, would lead to a "business catastrophe" for the film theater sector.

"If US films are completely banned, all theaters will close down the next day, as they will incur huge losses," producer Sergei Selyanov said during a panel discussion devoted to the issue at the St Petersburg International Media Forum on Thursday.

"If a 50 percent quota for local films is introduced, theaters will close down in a month," he went on to say. "And if there is a 30 percent quota for local releases, some theaters will last for a year and some, probably, for a couple years, but no new theaters will open."

According to Paul Heth, general director of Karo, Russia's second largest cinema chain, the introduction of quotas for local films would lead to a "business catastrophe," and theaters in Russia's smaller cities and towns would be the first casualties.

He added that the film theater sector in Russia is already under pressure as theaters have to compete with VOD, cable television, internet and pirates.

Producer and director Fyodor Bondarchuk said the Russian filmmaking community is generally against a ban on Hollywood films.

"Probably, there are filmmakers who support calls [for limiting access of Hollywood films to Russian screens], but I don't know any of those in person," he said. "Calling for steps of that kind is wrong."

Meanwhile, some in the Russian filmmaking community have supported the idea of a ban on Hollywood films. Last month, veteran directors Stanislav Govorukhin and Yuri Kara spoke for limiting Hollywood releases in Russia.

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