The 18th Kino Expo International Convention and Exhibition hosted the Conference on International Cinema Co-production in Russia as part of its business programme.
Vladimir Grigoriev, Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications and Russian member of the Executive Council of the European Audiovisual Observatory, opened the event, noting that while Russia was a leading global player in the export of oil and gas, it lagged behind in the export of creativity. “This happens for a number of reasons”, he stated, “but the primary cause is our lack of competence.” Following Mr. Grigoriev’s opening address, Executive Director of the European Audiovisual Observatory Susanne Nikoltchev stressed that “co-production allows the filmmaker to look beyond the national market, to do things that would not otherwise be possible.”
A panel of Russian and European filmmakers and Eurimages officials discussed the challenges involved in Russian–European co-production. CTB producer Natalia Drozd complained that the Russian government did not offer sufficient support to projects where the Russian side acted as a minority producer. Metrafilms producer Artem Vasiliev added that lack of fiscal incentives did nothing to attract foreign production companies to the country. Head of Documentaries and Animation at the Russian Ministry of Culture and Russian national representative to Eurimages Leonid Demchenko responded that these complaints were unfounded, since a record number of Russian projects (five, four of which were Russian majority co-productions) had received Eurimages financing in 2015. He also noted that the Ministry of Culture was developing a structure of tax credits for film crews working in Russia and a new set of bilateral agreements with foreign partners. Polish filmmaker Dariusz Jablonski, CEO of Apple Film, stressed that co-production was not just a question of money: it was about culture, cooperation, and partnership. Therefore, “bilateral agreements do not a co-production make”, he said. Executive Director of the Russian Cinema Fund Anton Malyshev joined the discussion to announce that the Fund was currently preparing to implement fiscal incentives, designed primarily to support Russian filmmakers working on official co-productions. “I don’t think we’ll be setting any records”, he said, alluding to the size of proposed incentives, “but we are gradually moving towards implementation. I’m hoping it will all work out.”
A new report titled Film Production and Co-Production in Russia, and the Export of Russian Films Abroad was also presented. The report’s quantitative results were delivered by Nevafilm Research senior analyst Xenia Leontyeva, and her colleague, sociologist Victoria Ivanova, discussed the qualitative section. Interviews with Russian producers conducted as part of the study revealed a number of shortcomings in the way Russian filmmakers operate. Ms. Drozd suggested that the reason for this was a shortage of project management training for Russian producers.
The English version of the new Nevafilm Research report, compiled for the European Audiovisual Observatory, can be downloaded here. A video recording of the Conference is available on Nevafilm’s official YouTube channel.