ON THE PATH TO CHANGE
STRONG COMMERCIAL MOVIES FROM RUSSIA HAVE BEEN SUCCEEDING BOTH AT HOME AND ABROAD. AND WITH 2016 DECLARED THE YEAR OF RUSSIAN CINEMA, THINGS ARE ON THE UP ALL ROUND.
THEN, with the advent of some mega films for 2016, home video could soon be replaced by theatrical as the biggest market in Russia. Some of this success has to do with the efforts of local companies, and thanks to pressure on the government by Roskino and other organizations to increase funding, there should be more to come. “Strong Russian commercial movies have been attracting audiences both at home and abroad,” Dmitry Litvinov, the CEO of Planeta Inform Group says. Among films the company has distributed internationally, blockbusters such as Metro (2013) and Mafia: Survival Game 3D (2015) both showed very good results. But, “very few get on to the big screens abroad, and the main market for the Russian films remains home video. But with the scale of the upcoming projects things look set to change,” he adds. Informa has already secured day and date releases in China and South East Asia for the sci-fi and action film The Guardians for February 23, 2017. Another disaster movie from the producer of Metro is coming out this year – The Icebreaker. “It is much anticipated by those distributors who have had a positive experience and good financial results with Metro,” he adds. Some of these results can be put down to the concerted efforts of such Russian companies and film organisations. “First of all, we pitch our projects to our loyal customers around the globe with whom we have developed strong business relationships over the years. But we also meet new partners at every market we go to. Newsletters to industry professionals and personal pitching during the markets are also key elements. We also use indoor and market press advertising as well as market screenings,” says Anastasya Bankovskaya, head of sales at Planeta Inform. These results are all the more encouraging considering the following. “Despite different economical, political and social issues, the Russian cinema industry shows remarkable progress from year to year. Russian art house movies are traveling to festivals around the globe and receiving top awards, while Russian commercial movies can boast an outstanding level of CGI and cinematography as well as great concepts. Quality entertainment always sells,” adds Litvinov. There are some challenges with funding in Russia standing in the way of more growth but film organisations are campaigning to change this, and with 2016 being declared the year of Russian cinema, there are some special incentives this year. Katya Mtsitouridze, Roskino CEO says: “Since our organisation’s goal is the international promotion of Russian film industry and international film markets are our habitual business environment, we greatly regret the fact that co-production lacks state support in