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Russia Rethinks State Funding for Film Production

Russian Cinema Fund must recoup more coin from successful local films

LONDON — Russia is set to double its support for local production by 2017 as the government’s 2013 reforms of the film funding mechanism begin to bite.

Russia’s Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky aims to up the amount of money recouped from successful local pics, with the coin reinvested in the Russian Cinema Fund.

Medinsky said that 1.2 billion rubles ($36.1 million) would be recouped this year. Government funding for film production in 2014 will be just below 6 billion rubles ($181 million), divided between the Cinema Fund and the Ministry of Culture.

By the start of 2017, the Cinema Fund would have doubled the size of its current budget of 3 billion rubles ($90.3 million), with half coming from the state and the other half from recoupments.

Medinsky said that the Russian Cinema Fund would receive around 60% of the total film funding budget, with the rest distributed by the Ministry of Culture.

The Cinema Fund underwent a make-over last year with Anton Malyshev taking charge as executive director, and a change to its mission objective. It was relieved of its obligation to back socially-relevant pics, and instead it was tasked with producing commercial hits.

Denis Molchanov, deputy chief of staff of the government executive office, explained the logic of the change to Variety: “The Cinema Fund is an economic agent of the government. It had to be relieved of its social functions — films with a social importance but limited commercial potential — and given a purely economic function, turning cinema into an industry that supports itself and no longer dependent on state hand-outs.”

Recent recipients of Cinema Fund coin include Alexey Uchitel’s Toronto fest player “Break Loose” (pictured).

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