Russia's Gorky Studio Adopts New Development Strategy

The privatization of the Moscow-based studio complex is no longer being considered.

MOSCOW -- Moscow’s Gorky Studio, one of Russia’s oldest film studio complexes, has adopted a development strategy aimed at turning it into a profitable enterprise, while the government is to keep control of the studio.

The statement released by the studio contains few specifics, and a spokesperson for Gorky Studio wasn’t able to provide any further details at this point. However, one thing that is clear is that privatization of the studio complex, which was discussed for several years, is now out of the question.

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The strategic development program for the period between 2013 and 2023 stipulates the creation of the national center for children’s and family cinema. Back in the Soviet era, Gorky Studio operated – similarly to other film companies – as both a studio and a production company, focused on children’s and youth cinema

“The creation of the center is vital for the continuation of traditions for children’s cinema, which existed in our country earlier, and for bringing that segment up to a new level of development,” read a statement released by the studio. Under the new development program, the studio is to be turned into a self-sustaining company, but no specifics as to how that is going to be achieved were provided.

The situation at Gorky Studio, which was founded back 1915, began to deteriorate in the 1990s when the Soviet Union’s film industry collapsed. While the other major film studio complex located in the city, Mosfilm, gradually regained momentum thanks to efficient management and more up-to-date facilities, Gorky’s assets deteriorated. Currently, the studio has soundstages with a combined area of between 500 sq. meters and 1,000 sq. meters, but they were built in the 1930s and are in need for a major revamp.

Back in 2008, the government planned to sell the studio and put the starting price at $5 million, but when the number of bidders snowballed and there were fears that what they are actually after was the studio’s land – which at the time was worth more than $18 million, - the sale was cancelled.

As of 2011, Gorky Studio is headed by Sergei Zernov, the former head of the culture ministry’s film department.