Russian fund draws 15,000 applications

Filmmakers fight for share of $68 million

LONDON — Russia’s ministry of culture has received more than 15,000 applications for state-funded grants from filmmakers following a shake up in the way public funds are distributed.

The applications — which are due for decision next month — come from projects that fall into debut, documentary, animation, children’s or “author” film categories.

Russia changed the way it spent public money on filmmaking earlier this year, stipulating that eight big production houses would share a pot worth $68 million.

The move lead to outrage from smaller, independent producers used to a system where grants of up to $1 million were available on a project by project basis.

But direct grants are still available for a narrow range of “culturally important” film projects and the applications to the culture ministry fall under that category.

Ekaterina Chukovskaya, deputy minister of culture, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that “ambiguous” boundaries between the categories eligible for grants could explain the large number of applications.

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