New Report Tracks Russian Film Industry

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Tue, 12/02/2014 - 11:50 -- Nick Dager

New report tracks Russian film industryThe European Audiovisual Observatory, Neva-film Research, Universe Consulting (the Movie Research project), and iKS-Consulting today released a new report on the state of the Russian film industry.

The presentation is part of a workshop co-organized by the Observatory and Neva-film, which is taking place during the 95th edition of the Moscow International Film Market.

The report contains information about the Russian film industry as a whole and its individual branches, describes the institutional framework in which the industry operates, and discusses the results of international collaboration. The new study has been supplemented with special chapters on the production and distribution of regional films, as well as an overview of television distribution in Russia.

Since 2012, Russia has seen changes in state support for the film industry. In addition to the clear demarcation of areas of responsibility between the Ministry of Culture (responsible for producing debut, experimental, children’s, and documentary cinema), and the Cinema Fund (which handles commercial feature films and animation projects), the selection procedure that determines which projects receive state support (through public pitching sessions) has become more transparent. But most importantly, the Cinema Fund has been issuing more and more financing in the form of loans. In 2013, 63 percent of the Fund’s budget went to grants and only 12 percent to fully repayable loans. In 2014, those portions were 39 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, regional film production is growing in Russia, backed by private investment and support from regional government budgets. The films being made, often in languages spoken locally in a particular region or republic of the country, are shown in regional cinemas and able to recoup the investors’ cost. The Sakha Republic (Yakutia) and Buryatia have the most highly developed local production and distribution industry, together attracting 132,000 viewers to local films and grossing RUB 27 million at the box office in 2013.

The transition to digital technologies in cinemas is now nearly complete. As of mid-2014, 75 percent of cinemas had a digital projector for every screen, and only 7 percent of cinemas had no digital screens. All films in 2014 were issued for distribution in either digital or hybrid format. Only 9 percent of releases were also printed on celluloid.

Meanwhile, Video on Demand services, which have come to replace home video distributed on physical media, have been growing rapidly. In 2012, iKS Consulting estimated that the sales volume for Video on Demand in Russia totalled RUB 1.13 billion. In 2013, that figure had grown to RUB 2.79 billion, and then to RUB 2.32 billion in the first half of 2014.

This report is the fourth of its kind. It costs 30€ for the PDF version and can be pre-ordered from markus.booms@coe.int.