Russian culture czar issues movie edict

Vladimir Medinsky lists types of films state will back

MOSCOW

Russian filmmakers have been told they must make movies on state-approved topics if they expect to get government funding.

Vladimir Medinsky, a Kremlin loyalist who was appointed minister of culture last May following Vladimir Putin’s return as president, says only topics that are in accord with “the strategic interests of the state” should receive federal funds.

The move would reintroduce state micromanagement of filmmaking not seen since Soviet times.

Medinsky recently assumed overall control of state film funding after taking a semi-autonomous production support agency, the Russian Cinema Fund, under his ministry.

A culturally conservative historian, Medinsky has drawn up a list of 12 “socially relevant” topics for films, based on the results of public opinion research he commissioned.

These include pics on Russian history, military victories and heroes, and contemporary issues such as the courage of people living with disabilities, the fight of law and order against terrorism, and evergreen topics such as family, tradition, love and loyalty.

The list, revealed in a letter to government ministers and officials published Wednesday by newspaper Izvestia, suggests producers and directors who seek support for more critical social topics or artistic ventures will have to go elsewhere for money.

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