Local industry fears change will disrupt event

MOSCOW — The Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF) is to come under new management.

Long term local administration partners Interfest, headed by Renat Davletyarov, have been jetisonned in favor of a new player.

Results of the annual tender for the work, run by Russia’s Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography (FAKK), were reported today in local business daily Kommersant.

“The documents presented by the new company differed from those submitted by other contenders,” FAKK chief Mikahil Shvydkoi was quoted.

Although Shvydkoi didn’t name the winning contender, the Moscow rumor mill suggests it is Paragon, headed up by Natalya Semina, a company said to be close to both MIFF prexy Nikita Mikhalkov and the Kremlin.

Ill will between Mikhalkov, who is MIFF’s figurehead, and Davletyarov has been an ill-concealed secret among those in-volved in the event in recent months.

The main local concern is that the change of management, coming only three months before MIFF bows, will severely disrupt planning for the event.

Though considerably improved of late, the event has a history of snafus.

Move follows last year’s removal of Kirill Razlogov as chief programmer for MIFF, and the departure of selector and press chief Petr Shepotinik.

With selection continuing to be carried out on a collegiate basis, there are rumors that Finland’s Kirsi Tykkyläinen, from that country’s Kinofond, will be tapped to head up the MIFF selection board.

She has longstanding film links with Russia. But being an outsider in Russian programming territory can prove something of a poisoned chalice.

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