Russian Filmmakers Express Concern Over New Shooting Permit Procedure in Moscow

The proposed permit-issuing system would apply to both foreign and local productions, and give authorities the power to abruptly cancel shooting at any time.

MOSCOW – Russian filmmakers are concerned about a proposed new procedure for obtaining permission to shoot in Moscow.

According to the new process, proposed by Moscow’s regional security department, applications for filming in the Russian capital are to be submitted at least 30 days to 45 days prior to the shoot, depending upon the location, while local authorities would be able to revoke permits at any time.

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Filmmakers say they are concerned that the procedure, if adopted, would make filming in Moscow almost impossible. “Shooting in Moscow would basically stop,” Yuri Sapronov, general director of Russian World Studios (RWS), told The Hollywood Reporter. “[The proposed new procedure] is rubbish. The people who came up with it know nothing about film production. I don’t know what the reason for all that is.”

Sapronov said he agrees that film crews must not create problems for the city, but, at the same time, their interests should also be taken into account given that film production brings cash to the city’s budget.

The proposal would also make the application procedure more complicated, as film crews would have to provide very specific information about scenes they intend to shoot, while applications would be considered by several agencies, inevitably leading to more bureaucractic snafus. The new procedure would apply to both local and foreign film crews.

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While Moscow already is a difficult location for shooting due to extremely high costs, the new permit procedure could force film crews to look for locations in the country’s other cities, particularly St. Petersburg.

“Film crews would just go elsewhere,” Sapronov said, adding that RWS wouldn’t suffer from the new rules as it has a large studio complex in St. Petersburg. “They tried to introduce something similar in St. Petersburg three years ago, but it didn’t work out,” he concluded. “So, we would welcome everyone at our studio there.”