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29 Dec, 2008 07:35

Film industry braces for financial slowdown

Russia's latest blockbuster movie has set a record for the country's film industry. The budget for the ‘Inhabited Island’ hit $40 million – the most ever spent in Russia.

Special effects and young, beautiful actors. The new movie by Fedor Bondarchuk is expected to bring in about $70 million. Producers say, cinema is cheap entertainment for viewers, and that box-office success of previous years won’t be affected by the crisis.

It’s a different story though for those who make films. Private sponsorship and bank loans will not be as easy to get as before, according to Aleksandr Rodnyansky, Head of CTC Media.

“We've definitely passed those times, when rich guys used to invest money into the project it will be just few companies with interest to participate in film making business.”

Movie experts say, currently 70 projects out of 250 films in progress have been frozen.

At the filming location for the upcoming Russian movie ‘The Train’ State owned Russian Railways is actively involved. The movie director says, state sponsorship has remained the only driver for the industry. Aleksey Uchitel says filmmakers won’t survive without state money for at least the next two years.

“Even before the crisis, no less than 70% of financial support for the Russian movie industry was coming from the state. Our future is dependent on the will of the government to further help the sector.”

Some experts say financial troubles will make the sector healthier – producing fewer, but better movies. Others say, the crisis may kill non-commercial film making, giving way to government orders and the mainstream.