Ukraine's Odessa Film Studio Loses Russian Film Crews as Customers

 AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

MOSCOW -- Six Russian film crews have terminated agreements with Ukraine's Odessa studio, as relations between the two countries remain tense following the secession of the Crimea peninsular region from Ukraine to Russia. They canceled shooting in the Black Sea resort city of Odessa out of fear of economic sanctions or even a military conflict.

The studio didn't specify which projects pulled out but said it is likely to have a big negative impact on its financial situation. "Providing services for film crews is our main business," Andrei Zverev, chairman of the board, was quoted as saying by the Ukrainian newspaper Segodnya, adding that the refusal of Russian film crews to come is putting pressure on the studio's business.

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General producer Viktor Nozdryukhin-Zabolotny tried to play the situation down.

"We don't yet know for sure who will come and who won't come to shoot at the studio this summer," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "There are worries [among Russian film crews] and the situation will certainly have an impact, although it is still difficult to see how big it will be."

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Founded in 1907, Odessa studio worked as both a studio and a production company during the Soviet era, having produced several notable features, but since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, it has been mainly focused on renting out studio facilities and equipment to visiting film crews. The studio has been privatized, but the Ukrainian government has retained a share.

Over the last few weeks, Ukraine and Russia have introduced trade restrictions against each other.

Meanwhile, the Russian government recently said it will develop the film industry in the annexed region of Crimea, and its Yalta film studio may become an alternative for Russian crews previously filming in Odessa.

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