Russia Plans Film Presence in Annexed Crimea Region

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A Ukranian military vehicle in Crimea on March 26.

Among planned steps are a relaunch of local film festivals and reviving a film studio.

MOSCOW -- As Russia strengthens its presence in the recently annexed Crimea, the Russian culture ministry has developed a plan of cinema-related activities for the region.

Vladimir Medinsky, culture minister and loyalist of President Vladimir Putin, suggested that the Yalta film festival in the Black Sea region's main resort town, Yalta, should be relaunched. Speaking at a session of the council for the development of the national film industry in Moscow on Wednesday, he added that a decision has already been made about establishing a film festival in another Crimean town, Gurzuf, and a children's film festival in Yalta.

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According to Medinsky, there are also plans to revive the Yalta film studio. Formed in 1917, the studio did well during the Soviet era and was privatized following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Several companies were later involved in litigations over the lucrative property, while some facilities are still used for film production.

Medinsky added that his agency is determined to complete the first major co-production between Russia and Ukraine in years, Bitva za Sevastopol (Battle of Sevastopol). The first stage of filming was completed in Crimea last fall, but then production came to a halt as Ukraine's national film agency was no longer able to foot its part of the bill due to financial problems against the backdrop of political and economic turmoil in the country. Medinsky said that Russia will complete the World War II movie "with its own resources."