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Russia’s culture ministry has announced that it is cancelling last year’s controversial regulation under which exhibition licenses were required not only for theatrical releases and TV airings, but also for all festival screenings.
As a result of the regulation, Russian festivals have been unable to screen some films they intended to.
Grigory Ivliyev, deputy culture minister, was quoted by the online newspaper Gazeta.ru as saying that his ministry has responded to numerous requests from local festivals and filmmakers to make festival screenings exempt from the mandatory exhibition license requirement.
The regulation stipulating that no film could be publicly screened in Russia without an exhibition license came into effect last July alongside another controversial piece of legislation, which banned profanity in movies.
But while the profanity regulation had been announced earlier, local festivals were taken by surprise by the news that they would now have to present an exhibition license for every single film they were going to screen.
Even though the license fee of 2,000 rubles ($30.5) was symbolic, the application procedure was complicated and the issuing of a license took a long time.
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