Russian helmer dislikes privatization plan

MOSCOW

Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov has resigned from the board of directors of St. Petersburg’s Lenfilm studios in a clash over plans for its redevelopment.

Sokurov, appointed last month after producer and director Fedor Bondarchuk was named chairman of the state-owned studios, said it was pointless remaining on the board as his ideas were being ignored.

Bondarchuk and new studio head Eduard Pichugin, along with other members of the board, which includes director Aleksey German and producer Sergey Selyanov, are backing a plan to create a semi-privatized producers’ center, where funds to restore the studios, founded in 1918, will be raised by attracting paying projects to the facility.

Sokurov, whose highly intellectual films have won numerous international awards, including best screenplay in Cannes for his 2002 study of Hitler, “Moloch,” favored borrowing money to restore the studios. He aimed to finance the debt by asking the government to return the rights to scores of Soviet-era classic films produced at Lenfilm.

In his resignation letter to the ministry of culture, Sokurov said his plan — backed by St. Petersburg-based producer and fellow board member Andrey Sigle — had been ignored by the board.

Sokurov said that neither he nor Sigle had been invited to a recent board meeting at which the producers center was approved.

The future of Lenfilm has been subject of intense discussion for two years with those backing continued public ownership frequently clashing with supporters of a privatized future.

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