Russia's Cinema Fund Drops Four Studios From State Financing Scheme

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Nine companies will get a chance to pitch for a total $53 million in state funding.

MOSCOW – Russia's cinema fund, the country's main film industry funding body, has announced an annual list of "industry leaders" -- film production companies that will be entitled to the lion's share of government cash earmarked for the movie sector this year.

In 2014, the number of local "majors" has been reduced to nine from 13 last year. Rekun, Real Dakota, Strela and Rok were taken off the list, while no newbies arrived.

Nikita Mikhalkov’sTriTe, Fyodor Bondarchuk’s Art Pictures, Alexander Rodnyansky’s Non Stop Production, Igor Tolstunov’s Profit and the film arm of the country’s largest TV station Channel One, as well as STV, Central Partnership, TaBBaK and Enjoy Movies, are entitled to $53 million (1.9 billion rubles) between them.

However, due to changes to the state funding system adopted last year, only $33.6 million (1.2 billion rubles) is to come as non-repayable subsidies, while the remaining $19.4 million (700 million) is to be allocated to the film companies as repayable loans.

In addition, the cash won't be equally divided between the "industry leaders," as was the case until last year. Instead, they will have to submit specific projects for funding consideration and later defend them at open pitching sessions. Based on the project proposals and pitching session performances, an expert council will suggest projects for non-repayable subsidies and loans.

Last year, not all "majors" were able to collect state cash under that system. The application deadline is May 16, and funding decisions are to be announced in the fall.