A group of American producers visited Moscow on January 14-16 as part of their 'Film in Russia FAM Trip'. The Russian Export Center plans to hold similar events annually in Moscow and Saint Petersburg at least three more times. Introduction of world’s leading audio-visual art producers to the possibilities of today’s Russian creative production, and organization of return visits of Russian filmmakers to high-priority countries are among the key objectives of this initiative.
Intensified support of export-oriented companies within creative art industries will enable us to bring up an important issue – that of increasing the number of co-production projects in the field of audiovisual art, which will make it easier for the Russian content to enter foreign markets. Creating additional ways of integration into the global business space constitutes one of REC’s main lines of work. During this visit, we plan to raise an important topic of creating a rebate program in Russia and to initiate the discussion of terms and conditions on which our companies will cooperate with their Hollywood counterparts when the latter are finishing to film elements of a "Russian line" for foreign content, or are shooting scenery on location or elements of European countries in different time periods
American film producers from Sony Innovation Studios, Warner Brothers, Amblin Partners and Skylark Entertainment are willing to reconsider the way they approach creative cooperation. The main reason behind this decision is the significant growth of the production base in Russia in recent years. Today, our production facilities are fully ready to compete with more traditional locations, such as Eastern Europe and South Africa where smooth-running infrastructure is in place, but prices are totally different.
Jess Conoplia, the President of Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) – a network of more than 300 film commissions worldwide – believes that, in spite of stereotypes ingrained in minds of not only regular citizens of many countries, but those from the professional environment as well, such business visits open our eyes and point out to cooperation opportunities that have been overlooked before.
Mosfilm, Russia’s largest film production company, impressed American producers not only with the variety and scale of locations, but also with additional film and sound editing capabilities. Moreover, not many people abroad know about this, noted producer Jake Rose from Skylark Entertainment whose credits include such projects as Terminator, Mission: Impossible, and Sharp Objects, among others.
During a roundtable discussion, guests from abroad got a chance to discuss with their Russian colleagues what kind of actors Hollywood needs and how to train them in Russia. Universal University in Moscow, a unique training platform for young talent, hosted the event. President of the University Ekaterina Cherkes-Zade talked to American producers about successes achieved by graduates of the Moscow School of Film, and about how the idea of establishing Russia’s first University of Creative Industries was born. She told the guests that departments of the University cover almost all fields of filmmaking and use a unique training technology. Foreign specialists learned about the unique method that adapts to the special nature of creative professions. For instance, students of the computer graphics department, who are often innately introverted and more active at night, have access to classrooms late in the evenings and even during night time. At the same time, they are taught by highly qualified specialists who have first-hand experience with such approach to work and thus fully understand that it is a signature trait of a true professional in this field.
Meetings between Russian and foreign filmmakers were organized by the Russian Export Center in partnership with Autonomous Nonprofit Organization Russian Office of Film Commissions, Realist Media resource, as well as with participation of Association of Film and Television Producers, Expocontent company, Kinodanz production company, Blitz Films production company, with the support of Moscow Film Commission. According to Evgeniya Danilchenko, REC’s Head of Creative Industries Export, professionals from Russia are truly open to various formats of cooperation, and REC’s priority task for now is to increase the number of direct contacts.
The capital of Russia also contributes to these developments. It’s no coincidence that the Government of Moscow, represented by First Deputy Head of Moscow Department of Culture Sergey Perov, expressed willingness to promote cooperation in film production. Svetlana Maksimchenko, Director General of Moskino and Executive Secretary of Moscow Film Commission, assured that filmmakers from the Russian capital will provide their full support as well.
The next step will cover joint projects and specific contracts between Russian and foreign companies. In the nearest future, Russian cinematographers, with support from the Russian Export Center, will pay a visit to the British colleagues to present their ideas and promote their production facilities and capabilities.