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WHY: Russia remains a challenging location for foreign producers despite growing signs that local studio chiefs are keen to attract more international business. The country has no specific tax breaks aimed at foreign co-productions, but a range of bilateral agreements allow joint projects with Canadian, Italian and Bulgarian producers to count as national projects and tap annual state film support funding worth $160 million from 2010. Co-prod pacts are pending with France, Chile, Venezuela, India and Germany.

BONUS: Russian World Studios — a company active in Russia for the past 10 years — has opened the territory’s first purpose-built studio complex in St. Petersburg. With backing from an alliance with JFSC Sistema, Russia’s biggest consumer-oriented private sector company, RWS is in talks with a number of U.S. producers to co-finance projects at the new $250 million facility.

HOT SPOT: St. Petersburg, according to RWS and Sistema — which predict annual revenue of $200 million-$300 million from their new studios there. RWS co-founder says the company can draw on qualified crews from as far afield as the Baltics and the Balkans to supplement local talent when needed and notes Sistema-owned hotel company Intourist can help with accommodation for overseas production crews.

SHOT THERE: “In Tranzit,” “Captivity,” “You and I,” “Quantum of Solace”

LINKS:

Russian Ministry of Culture: mkrf.ru

Mosfilm Studios: mosfilm.ru

Russian World Studios: rwstudios.ru