Russian fest survives massive budget cut

Vologda budget cut from $1 mil to $370,000

MOSCOW — The third edition of Russia’s Voices festival that celebrates debut and sophomore films of European directors goes ahead next month despite its budget being slashed by two-thirds.

The Vologda Independent Cinema from European Screens fest said Wednesday that prize money had been halved to €15,000 ($18,700) after its budget had been cut from more than $1 million to $370,000.

Political changes in the administration of the ancient city situated 415 miles east of St. Petersburg and the worldwide downturn have hit the budget, although general partner Russian steel company Severstal remains on board.

Fest aims to help bring European film to a wider audience in Russia with prize money for best film split between director and distributor.

Spanish actress Rossy de Palma (“Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”) is among the jury for a competition line up of nine films that includes Swiss director Axel Petersen’s debut “Avalon” and Spanish helmer Nacho Vigalondo’s “Extraterrestrial.”

Fest runs July 6-10 in Vologda, Russia.