Russia pic biz woos Europe

'Return,' 'Koktebel' make marks on int'l fest scene

MOSCOW — Russia’s film industry is trying to set up more co-productions with Europe, according to Sergei Lazaruk, head of the cinema support department of the Ministry of Culture.

Following a preliminary round-table held during this year’s Cannes Film Festival, contacts continued at the first meeting of the European Producers’ Club during last week’s Moscow Film Festival.

About 20 Russian producers came along for one-to-one discussions with potential foreign partners.

Along with Lazaruk, European Film Academy (EFA) prexy and Moscow fest jury member Humbert Balsan attended the meeting.

Russian cinema is doing well on the international fest scene thanks to “The Return” and “Koktebel,” the task is how to make this continue.

Russia has been negotiating to join Eurimages, the Council of Europe organization that is a catalyst for co-productions, but the local industry’s changing circumstances means that Russia’s estimated annual membership fee has risen from around $300,000 to about $1.5 million.

Lazaruk admitted that the fee hike makes it hard for the culture ministry to clear the proposal with the finance ministry.

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