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ROUND TABLES

THE LIVES OF OTHERS: HOW RUSSIA AND GERMANY CAN BENEFIT FROM CO-PRODUCTIONS

Coproductions is becoming the business model for most European art-house films. A surge in coproductions in Europe over the past decade means that now as many as two in three films shown at major European festival competitions are collaboratives efforts involving two or more countries.

Coproducing, helped by a range of European public-funding sources, has become a business model for producers from countries large and small, where pooling resources has become a necessity for many.

For German and Russian producers this is not a new idea: Germany is Russia's biggest partner for coproductions and, in 2011 after years of talks, a coproduction treaty was signed between the governments of the two countries. In the same a year a co-development agreement between Russia's Cinema Fund and three of the German film funds was also established.

Many believe that coproductions offer direct access to other markets – distribution and festivals. Is that true? Is there a future for coproductions with Russia? Does it make sense any more?

Nick Holdsworth
Moderator of the round table, British film critic, Russian and Eastern European film specialist

Concept - Simone Baumann, German Films

HOW TO HELP THE NATIONAL CINEMA

Such a question seems more appropriate than, let us say, how to fight the domination of Hollywood? We assume that Russia has a huge potential market, big enough even in its present shape. It is also important that there is an old tradition of audience support for national cinema. If we look at the figures, we see that the box office hits of the Soviet era were in their majority domestic films, which attracted 50-90 million spectators. Examples include Pirates of the 20th Century, Moscow does not Believe in Tears, Diamond Arm, The Crew, And the Dawns Here are so Quiet. An audience of 5 million spectators (say, for a film like There Lived a Song Thrush) was considered a flop, while today the makers of the highest-grossing Russian blockbusters can only dream of such figures: in fact, 5 million spectators translate into almost 50 million dollars at the box office.

How can we help national cinema? Times have changed and, it seems, irreversibly so. Rather than getting nostalgic about the success of the past, it seems to make sense to study the experiences of the modern world that have been accumulated in different countries, in France and Poland, in China and Korea. What can stimulate the role and the image of national cinema: topping up subsidies, censorship, quotas, image-making, promotion at home and abroad?

What of this global experience is relevant to us and what is not?

And how can we learn from others’ experiences rather than learning from our own mistakes? These questions will be discussed at the round table with participation of leading filmmakers, producers, critics, promoters and distributors, as well as culture officials.

Andrei Plakhov
Moderator of the round table, famous Russian film critic

CINEMA ON TELEVISION: WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?

Round table of the journal “Film Art” [Iskusstvo kino] and the festival “Kinotavr”

The perspective of showing Russian cinema on national television, above all on the large federal channels and networks, has become an ever more topical issue for discussion. Recently the total number of films (including foreign films) has fallen significantly, from 53 per cent of broadcast time two years ago to 43 per cent in the last season. Modern Russian feature films are practically not shown on television today. Between 2009 and 2011, only one new film reached the top 25 fiction films shown on television, while in the last season there was not a single such film. Topical Russian films of all kinds, genres and forms are practically completely displaced – mainly by serials and sitcoms – from the production agenda of the television channels.

What can the domestic film industry do in a situation when the interest in fiction films that were made over the last five years has faded, both among television producers and spectators, who are prepared to watch such films on any other platform? How will this affect the film economy? For a discussion of this theme, the heads of the film services of the leading channels, as well as producers, directors, critics, film and television analysts are invited.

Daniil Dondurei
Moderator of the round table.

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