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Veteran Russian directors Karen Shakhnazarov and Marlen Khutsiyev have been included in a working group charged with developing a code of ethics for the Russian film industry, an idea originally suggested by President Vladimir Putin.
The working group was formed under the auspices of the Russian Union of Filmmakers and also includes, among others, producer Leonid Vereshchagin and film critic Kirill Razlogov.
Putin originally mentioned the idea at a meeting with filmmakers about a year ago, suggesting that it could improve the quality of local films and curb violence on Russian screens. More recently, he invoked the example of the Hays code, the strict censorship program used to regulate the content of the U.S. film industry from 1930 to 1968.
Meanwhile, it is not clear how the ethics code is supposed to work and inter-relate with the existing Russian rating system. The Hays code was replaced by the rating system similar to what Russia has now. Moreover, the Russian system was made stricter last year following a legislation aimed at protection of children. As a result, many movies are released with age restrictions “16+” or “18+.”
The Russian film community is apparently divided on the necessity of the code of ethics. Rinat Davletyarov, head of the Russian guild of producers, stressed that the Hays Code coincided with Hollywood’s “Golden Age.” Meanwhile director Andrei Proshkin, who heads KinoSoyuz, an alternative union of filmmakers, ridiculed the idea, adding that the existing legislation is sufficient to deal with ethical issues.
The deadline set by Putin for developing the charter is Oct. 1, 2013.
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