Moscow International Film Festival to Screen Fewer Films Amid Currency Crisis

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Moscow International Film Festival president Nikita Mikhalkov

Its state funding remains the same in rubles but is much lower in foreign currency.

The Moscow International Film Festival is scaling down operations this year, although its government funding in ruble terms remains the same as in the previous years.

The culture ministry announced that it will allocate $1.9 million (115 million rubles) for the festival, the same amount as for the two previous festivals.

But organizers say that because part of their expenses are denominated in foreign currencies and the ruble has lost about 50 percent of its value since last year, they will have to run Russia's main international film event with limited resources.

Programming director Kirill Razlogov was quoted by the Russian daily Izvestia as saying that the festival will be shorter this year and screen fewer films, 150 at most, down from last year's total of 250.

Razlogov added that because of the economic downturn in Russia, finding private sponsors is also going to be a problem. "[The festival's president] Nikita Mikhalkov is looking for sponsors, but I can suppose that due to the overall economic conditions, funding from sponsors could be either one half of what we had last year or almost nonexistent," Razlogov said.

The festival will still run its three competitive sections — features, shorts and documentaries — but the number of films in the feature competition will decrease from 16 to 12.

According to Razlogov, the limited resources are not going to have a negative impact on the quality of festival films, but their geographical diversity will not be as great as it used to be.

The Moscow Film Festival is set to run from June 19-26.