Roskino/SEF is to create a Russian Film Commission in Los Angeles to build relationships with American distributors and producers.

As it strives to boost the international profile of Russian cinema, state-backed promotional body Roskino/SEF (formerly Sovexport Film) is to open a Film Commission in Los Angeles.

The plans for the launch of the Film Commission were confirmed in Berlin on Friday by Catherine Mtsitouridze, CEO Roskino/SEF. The LA Commission’s goals are to build relationships with US distributors, to promote Russia as a location for international productions and to foster co-productions.

Mtsitouridze has also outlined plans for Roskino to strengthen its international profile and to emulate Sovexport in its glory days, when it had 54 foreign offices.

“We want to do (open) Film Commissions not only in LA. We want to do Film Commissions in China, in London, in France, in the main countries,” the Roskino boss commented.

“The LA Film Commission is really important to us because if we start to promote Russian films from America, it will be easier later in Europe and Asia.”

At last September’s Venice Festival, Roskino (with backing from investment company the Summa Group) invested in the PR for Alexander Sokurov’s Golden Lion winner Faust [pictured].

Roskino is currently receiving around $1 million per annum in state subsidy from the Ministry Of Culture. Speaking in Berlin, Mtsitouridze highlighted some of the structural problems the film sector still faces, prime among them the lack of an electronic ticketing system in cinemas.

Other initiatives Roskino is hatching include a scheme to underwrite some of P&A costs for the international distributors handling Russian films.

The agency has already done this on selected films. For example, last year the agency helped Italian distributor Archibald Films with its release of Sokurov’s Faust, giving the company $20,000 towards prints and advertising.

Roskino can trace its beginnings way back to 1924, when the Russian company Sovkino was set up to support film production and distribution. The company is 100% owned by the Russian Federal Agency for State Property Management.