Moscow Movie Showcase Plans New "Festival Palace"

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Nikita Mikhalkov

The festival has been hampered by the lack of quality venues, event president and Oscar-winning director Nikita Mikhalkov said.

Moscow's international film festival will be housed in a "festival palace" by 2018 after a deal was signed for the construction of the long-awaited new venue, Oscar-winning director Nikita Mikhalkov says.

Mikhalkov, who had long lobbied for the building of an ambitious modern arts center in Moscow to house the festival, which has been hampered by the lack of good venues, said the new multi-purpose building should be complete by 2018 — in time for the festival's 40th edition. The completion date coincides with the 2018 soccer World Cup, which Russia insists it will host regardless of any evidence emerging of corruption in the FIFA process that awarded it the games.

Mikhalkov, whose comments came Friday, the day before the 37th edition of MIFF wrapped with the main award going to Bulgarian director Ivaylo Hristov for Losers, his film about an unfortunate provincial schoolboy, says the new venue would become a hub for festival, film forums, high-profile movie premieres and music events.

"We are very advanced in this regard, there are investors, there is a place and a very beautiful project. We are now in the final stages of signing documents," Mikhalkov told reporters.

"The palace will be very modern, with conference rooms, multiplexes," he added.

Mikhalkov did not put a price on the cost of the riverside project, although two years ago, businesses near the 14-acre downtown site strongly objected to his plans.

The filmmaker, who won the best foreign language Oscar in 1995 for his Stalin-era set film Burnt by the Sun, also suggested the new venue could house Moscow's troubled cinema museum. That is unlikely to go down well with many in Russia's film community, who have not forgotten that the world-class collection of movie artifacts was forced out of its last permanent premises by Mikhalkov when he headed the filmmakers union, which owns the building the museum had long been housed in. Quentin Tarantino — who had visited the museum when in Moscow — was among the international stars that rallied to the defense of the collection, curated by Naum Kleiman.

comments powered by Disqus