Russia may privatize film

Mosfilm topper warns of 'destruction' of nation's cinema

MOSCOW — Russia’s film world is awaiting two decrees from President Vladimir Putin that could boost — or, according to some, destroy it.

One decree will create a new federal body, Russian Film Exhibition, bringing together state-owned cinemas and property from municipal ownership to encourage exhib opportunities for local product.

The second, controversial, legislation will privatize studios. Its main target, Mosfilm, is lobbying against change.

Putin’s decree, which may appear in first draft before the end of March, is likely to see the state keep a 51% controlling share in studios, with full privatization coming later, perhaps within a year.

Mosfilm director Karen Shakhnazarov has already warned that it could be the “destruction of Russian cinema.”

Studio is one of the few that has weathered the chaos of the last decade in Russia. Mosfilm argues that because it funded three pics a year and stayed afloat after state financing dried up, it should be treated differently from other undisputed money-losers.

Studio has proposed its own plan for the future of Russia’s industry, which it claims the new legislation ignores.

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