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Russia’s Kino Fund widens scheme

Four more shingles to receive funding

SOCHI, Russia — Russia has expanded the number of companies that receive annual multi-million dollar grants from the national film fund from six to 10.

Alexander Rodnyansky’s Non-Stop Prods., Roman Borisovich of Koktebel Film, Alexey Uchitel’s Rok Film and Renata Davletyarov’s Real Dakota will receive around $4 million each under a new formula announced by Kino Fund head Sergey Tolstikov.

They join six companies, including Sergey Selyanov’s STV and Nikita Mikhalkov’s Trite Prods., that already receive around $6.5 million a year each. Igor Tolstunov’s company Profit has withdrawn from the scheme.

The news about the funds, provided by the economic development ministry, was announced by Tolstikov during Russia’s Kinotavr Film Festival, which closed Sunday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Its top award went to helmer Pavel Ruminov’s “I Will Be Around,” a low-budget social drama about a mother dying of cancer who gives up her young son to surrogate parents.

Rodnyansky, who is also prexy of the fest, welcomed the increased funding that would, he said, bring in more scope for indie films.

“The money is designed to enable companies such as mine to produce three movies a year,” Rodnyansky told Variety.

“We plan to produce the next film by Andrey Zvyagintsev (“The Return”), which will be a socially critical project, and are also now in post-production on a thriller made by Renny Harlin in Russia with a Russian crew. We’ve also a satirical comedy in the line up.”

Rodnyansky added that the funds would part-finance the projects with other money making up their budgets.

Tolstikov said the fund was an evolving institution and that there was still a need for greater transparency and scrutiny of their distribution.

More than 300 socially significant projects had been submitted for approval this year, of which only 20-25 would be supported, he added.

The Kino Fund, introduced three years ago, replaced public funding on a project-by-project basis. The current system, designed to encourage recipients to work with other producers, has been criticized for being open to corruption and locking out smaller independent producers from coin.

Sam Klebanov, who distributes international indie fare through his boutique label Cinema Without Frontiers, said the expanded lists of companies still failed to address inequalities in the distribution of public funds.

Kinotavr was the venue for the announcement of a slew of new international movies that will be distributed by a new venture Berlin-based A Company Russia has set up with Rodnyansky.

Titles include Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski siblings’ “Cloud Atlas”; Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete 2” and “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”; and action movie “The Guardian,” directed by and starring German Til Schweiger. Tykwer and Schweiger were in Sochi to promote the line up.

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