Russian Forum Participants Discuss State Film Funding

The existing model needs improvement, panelists say on Saturday in Moscow.

MOSCOW – Participants in the panel discussion on state funding at the Forum Russia 2012’s event “Investment in Film, Television and New Media,” held in Moscow on Saturday, Feb. 4, agreed that the existing model for funding the film industry by the government needs to be gradually improved, with more producers getting access to state cash.

“If there is no state support for the Russian film industry, it will be reduced to the size of that in Liechtenstein,” said Renat Davletyarov, president of the Russian producer’s guild and an outspoken critic of the funding system introduced two years ago, under which, the lion’s share of state cash goes directly to the “market leaders,” seven production companies appointed by the new body, the state cinema fund.

Davletyarov called the decision to provide funding to the market leaders “collusion,” but noted that “the model is beginning to be reformed.”

“We cannot exist with this ‘paradise of seven’,” he added.

Anna Krutova, vice president of STV, one of the “big seven” companies, dismissed Davletyarov’s accusations of collusion. “The [cinema] fund was created thanks to the efforts of the market leaders, plus two to three more companies, and its arrival meant extra cash for the industry,” she said, adding that despite state support, STV invests 60% to 70% of its own money in film production.”

She noted, though, that more production companies need to receive access to state cash. “The ‘market leaders’ model needs to be developed, and there are 12 to 15 worthy companies that needs to be added [to the list of state cash recipients],” she said.

According to Nikita Trynkin, managing director of Bazelevs, state support provided through the ‘big seven’ system has been much more effective than other funding channels. He concluded that the overall efficiency of the existing funding model is yet to be proven.

“The model was initially adopted for a three year period, and a year and half has passed so far, so the remaining year and a half should bear some fruit,” he said.