Russia's Lenfilm Studio Tries to Get Back Rights to Movie Library

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Nikita Mikhalkov

That would bring extra revenues to the studio, which is undergoing a major upgrade.

MOSCOW -- Lenfilm’s chairman Fyodor Bondarchuk is trying to supplement the studio’s revenues by getting back the rights to its movie library.

Bondarchuk, who was appointed to head the struggling St Petersburg-based studio a year ago, has asked Nikita Mikhalkov, chairman of the Russian Filmmakers’ Union, to help resolve a situation in which Lenfilm isn’t being paid royalties for movies from its library.

Back in Soviet times, Lenfilm operated as both a studio and production company and produced dozens of movies, many of which are still broadcast on television and available on DVD and online video services.

However, under a law enacted in early 2012, all rights to films made in the Soviet era by several state-run studios, including Lenfilm, were transferred to the national state archives, Gosfilmfond, and the studio no longer receives any royalties. Lenfilm’s management said it would try to change that practice, especially in a situation when the studio needs cash for a major upgrade.

Earlier, Lenfilm’s general director Eduard Pichugin said that Gosfilmfond wouldn’t mind sharing revenues with Lenfilm and pay to it up to 70% of royalties it receives from the studio’s movie library. However, changes to the law would be required for that.

Lenfilm’s bosses hope that Mikhalkov, who also heads the collecting society RSP, will be able to find a solution.