Russian filmmakers back plea to save cinema fund chief

Russian filmmakers back plea to save cinema fund chief
A still from Stalingrad (2013) dir. by Fedor Bondarchuk. The film received support from the Russian government

31 August 2018

Twenty of Russia’s top filmmakers and producers have signed a letter to the country’s Ministry of Culture in a plea to save the director of Russia’s State Cinema Fund.

The letter follows new reforms giving the Culture Ministry unprecedented control over the fund, which provides financial support to the Russian film industry. They include giving the government the power to choose the fund’s director and greater powers to monitor how the organisation supports different projects.

The industry leaders behind the letter — including names such as Konstantin Ernst, Fedor Bondarchuk, and Timur Bekmambetov — told Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper that they feared current fund director Anton Malyshev would be ousted in favour of a candidate more sympathetic to Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky. The minister, who is well-known for his support for “patriotic film making” pushed for the new reforms in the group’s latest charter, Vedomosti reported.

The Russian government has defended the changes, saying that the reforms will increase the ministry’s accountability for the Cinema Fund’s budget.