The Russian government had declared 2016 "The Year of Cinema," but its recent
actions cast doubt on that assertion. Russia has cut the amount of
film subsidies available to production companies by $2.8 million. Anton Malyshev, head of the
Russian Cinema Fund, has stated that "Our grants, which are
distributed directly, have shrunk, but in terms of efficiency, I
think [their impact] will be more." Despite the assurance from
Malyshev, there has been no structural change in the Russian film
subsidy program that would support his claim.
How Do Film Subsidies Work in Russia?
In Russia, most film grants are made directly to production
companies. From there, the government recollects the money only if
the recipients make a profit on their respective films. The
production funds are given primarily to the leading production
companies, who receive almost 2/3 of the available film
Why Did Russia Reduce Film Subsidies?
The Russian Cinema Fund has not officially stated why it has
reduced the amount of government film subsidies, but the reduction
is nothing new. Last year, Russia failed to keep up with the
devaluation of the ruble against the dollar, effectively reducing
the amount of money distributed to filmmakers. The cuts likely have
less to do with Russia's feelings about film subsidies and more
to do with the country's struggling economy.
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