The End… Or to be continued?

Russia’s movie industry is already feeling the chill of the economic slowdown and, experts warn, the sector will see the ice age in the near future.

Currently about 70% out of 250 films in progress have been frozen. Earlier this year, Mosfilm, the country's largest studio complex, said it had no films being shot in its studios. The head of the complex Karen Shakhnazarov says, the crew is sitting with no work and no money.


Aleksey Uchitel on set
“I also spoke to the guys from ”Kodak“ and they say that by now they have sold enough cinefilm for just one movie”

That one might have gone to the Russian upcoming film “Gustav”. The film will feature trains, and the State owned Russian Railways is actively involved in the project. The movie director Aleksey Uchitel says, state sponsorship has remained the only driver for the industry.

“Even before the crisis no less than 80% of 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.”

Reuter’s reports, the Russian culture ministry's film industry unit said state funding has begun to be allotted but would not comment on whether the 3.5 billion rubles ($101 million) in funding for the industry originally stipulated for this year would be delivered in full. Alexander Rodnyansky, the producer of Russia’s recent blockbuster “The Inhabited Island” says financial troubles will make the sector healthier, producing fewer but better movies.


Alexander Rodnyansky (AFP Photo / Joe Klamar)
“We have definitely passed the times when wealthy guys used to invest money into film projects just because of their ego or quite an interest or some acquaintances or friends. I believe it’s going to be fewer companies which would definitely seriously consider the prospects of the different projects with an idea to become a part of a serious business”.

Other market watchers are less upbeat. They say, the crisis may kill non-commercial film-making, giving way the main stream. Yulia Kulikova, a spokesperson for Central Partnership, Russia's largest independent filmmaker and distributor, says their priority is projects which are likely to make a return.

“These days, our priority is highly publicized, strong projects (because) films of that kind are taking a bigger and bigger share of the box office,”

In her interview with Reuter’s Kulikova said that the company expects a decline in the number of domestic releases as well as a drop in prices paid for distribution rights to foreign independent films.

Tatiana Polyakova, Business RT