As a result of a meeting between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and those from the Moscow's Filmaking Company, there quickly arose two concerns of vital importance. First of all, everybody noticed the absence of one of the Russia's most celebrated film directors Nikita Mikhalkov. Second of all, there appeared a popular concern regarding government’s funding of the war films planned to be made in commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Russian Victory in the Second World War.
Sergei Lazaruk, chief executive of the Russia’s Department of Culture, has recently informed Moscow's newspaper "Izvestiya" of the governments average spending on a movie. According to his statement, the numbers appear to be close to $600,000. The same amount of money is usually obtained from TV or other investors. A director's status however appears to be of an important issue. Those experienced and more popular directors tend to acquire more funding, while those with lesser or no experience get hardly enough.
A preproduction process for the upcoming 12 feature war films and 3 original TV series has already begun this year. Before being released on a major market however all feature films have to be submitted for a special contest. As far as TV series are concerned, they can be released without any contests. Screenplays are usually examined by specially appointed experts. In the end it is up to them to decide which ones will be made. According to Sergei Lazaruk, war films seem to prevail.
Today's information regarding the standing of the Russian war films on the market is rather limited. The returns from such famous movies of the Russian cinematography as "The Cuckoo", "August of 1944" along with "The Star" have reached $200,000-$500,000 each.
In the course of the meeting someone inquired about the price of Mikhalkov’s "Barber of Siberia." The cost appeared to fluctuate between $30 and $40 million.
Since these matters do not only concern individual careers but deal with the survival of the entire industry, it appears logical to inquire about the cost of Mr. Mikhalkov's next project.