Russian Director Yuri Bykov Loses Lawsuit to Production Company

A Moscow arbitration court has ruled that "The Major" helmer must pay $68,300 in damages.

MOSCOW -- Russian director Yuri Bykov has lost a lawsuit filed by a production company whose project he quit last year and now must pay $68,300 (2.2 million rubles) in damages.

A Moscow arbitration court has ruled that Bykov, mostly known for his feature Mayor (The Major), which premiered in the Critics’ Week at Cannes last May, violated its contract with a production company called Kinotelefilm, and is to pay damages to the company.

Last year, Kinotelefilm hired Bykov to direct the television series Stanitsa (Cossack Village), which it was producing for Russia’s largest TV station Channel One. In the middle of the shoot, Bykov left the set, and the company said it had to urgently find a replacement.

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“Kinotelefilm made some promises and then it introduced stricter conditions,” Bykov said in a statement made when the lawsuit was filed last April. “I realized that I wouldn’t be able to do that job well, so I wouldn’t be ashamed of it, and I made the decision to quit.”

Bykov also pointed to the fact that the company sued him not immediately but six months later, when the news arrived that he was going to Cannes with his film.

Following the Cannes premiere, Major went on to take part in several local and international film festivals and won the best feature film award at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

The figure of damages is made up by Bykov’s advance, interest on that amount and extra costs incurred by the company for finding the replacement.

Neither Bykov nor Kinotelefilm would comment on the verdict.