Russians ramp up film org

Kremlin ups global pic profile

The Kremlin will launch a new international film promotion body to increase the visibility of Russian films worldwide.

The announcement Wednesday came on the eve of the opening of the Russian Pavilion at Cannes — the second year the Russians have had a presence at the festival.

Based on Sovexportfilm, the existing Soviet-era film promotion organization, the new culture ministry-backed body aims to unite state and private money to fund events and activities to support the national film industry and creative talent in key foreign markets. It’ll draw on European models of state film promotion, including French org Unifrance.

“There is more interest than ever in Russian film, and shooting at Russian locations,” said Aleksandr Golutva, Russia’s deputy culture minister. “This new organization will provide a coordinated and targeted program for increasing that interest internationally.”

Initial financing for the new body will come from existing state film festival support budgets and money earmarked for international “Days of Russian Cinema” events, although the ministry anticipates attracting private money from producers and distributors .

A new culture ministry department is also being set up to support feature and television shoots in Russia and to promote the country as a location to international producers.

Russia has two films in this year’s Un Certain Regard:

“Tale in the Darkness” (Skazka Pro Temnotu) by Nikolay Khomeriki — who won a second prize at Cannes in the Cinefondation section four years ago for his short “Vdvoyom” — is the story of a lonely young woman living in Vladivostok who, after a chance remark, decides to change her life.

Three times Palme d’Or nominee Pavel Lounguine — who won best director at Cannes for “Taksi-Blyuz” in 1990 — has his new $20 million budget “Tsar,” an epic on the life and times of Ivan the Terrible.

“Tsar,” financed by the Bank of Moscow without any state backing, is due for release in Russia on 500 prints in October and in France in December.

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