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Moscow fest tries St. Pete

Move sets off discussions

MOSCOW — A plan to move the Moscow Intl. Film Fest to St. Petersburg next year to celebrate the city’s 300th anniversary is causing consternation.

MIFF prexy Nikita Mikhalkov (helmer of “Burnt by the Sun”) has suggested holding the event there, kicking off July 9, later than its normal end-of-June run. But it’s unclear whether Mikhalkov intends to move the whole fest or only a part if it.

Industryites doubt whether St. Petersburg could host the event, both in terms of size and quality of cinemas and the availability of hotel rooms.

“If the Moscow festival has at last proved that it can organize programs professionally, without the schedule changes which marred so many recent editions, it is strange that it should consider transferring to another location, where difficulties will arise again,” one film observer told Daily Variety.

The idea may also be nixed by international fest regulatory body the FIAPF. This year’s fest wrapped June 30.

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