Russian producers slash pay

Association recommends ceiling for cast, crew

MOSCOW — Russia’s powerful new television and cinema producers association has recommended a ceiling on thesps’ pay among limits for seven categories of actors and crew as the economic crisis worsens.

The org., set up late last year by the top 18 TV and film production companies in Russia (more than 80% of the biz), wants to set an upper limit of $2,300 per filming day for stars such as Konstantin Khabensky and Sergei Bezrukhov (“Day Watch,” “Irony of Fate”).

Wage inflation in Russia’s booming movie business had pushed day rates for actors up to between $1,000 and $7,760 by last year.

Scriptwriters would be paid no more than $18,000 for features, $8,000 for made-for-TV films and $2,500 for mini-series episodes. Technical and other crew fees would range from $1,130 to $1,700 per day.

Yuri Sapronov, general director of Russian World Studios, said on average actors and crew could expect to be paid three times less than they were used to before the financial crisis.

The association sees the deep cuts in wages as a necessary response to sharply reduced fees television channels are willing to pay for original series.

Production companies that last year could expect up to $280,000 for an average series are now being offered less than half that.

Producers foresee the value of the domestic TV production market, worth around $600 million-to-$800 million last year, returning to 2006-2007 levels when the market was worth $400 million-to-$500 million.

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