Ministry of Culture to assess screenplays of historical films

Ministry of Culture to assess screenplays of historical films
The poster for Stalingrad, to be released later this year, which was funded in part by the Ministry of Culture

21 June 2013

The Ministry of Culture is to create an board of experts to provide assessments of screenplays for feature films and documentaries that cover historical themes, RIA Novosti reports. The idea for the board, which was first proposed by Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin earlier this week, was confirmed yesterday by minister of culture Vladimir Medinksy at a meeting of the Council for State Cultural Policy. The expert assessment provided by the board will be used to determine whether the proposed films will receive government funding.

Medinsky also promised to create “a clear and transparent” system for checking the effectiveness of state agencies working for the Ministry of Culture. He further suggested that a state lottery could be created to help support the arts in Russia.

Earlier this week Duma speaker Naryshkin told RIA Novosti that too many films contained historical errors: “All our best historical films owe a lot to consultations, in part to get rid of various ‘slips’ that were in the original screenplays.”

In response, Viktor Matizen, president of the board of experts at the Russian Guild of Cinema Experts and Critics, told the BBC that the advice given by consultants already working on film sets was sufficient. He suggested that the creation of the board was an attempt to introduce censorship.

The past year has seen a range of measures to bring the funding of the film industry and the content of its output under closer governmental control. In December Medinsky said that films would only be funded by the Russian Cinema Fund if they adhered to centrally approved genres and topics.