The St Petersburg International Film Festival -- which was due to beheld for the first time from July 18-31 in the historical Russian city -- willnot now go ahead after all.

The news broke at a masterclass given by actor-director Fedor Bondarchuk during this week's Open Russian Film Festival"Kinotavr" at the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Bondarchuk, who directed last year's top Russian film The 9th Company, was asked about hisparticipation in the Petersburg festival's competition jury and replied:"I will not be in the jury, I spoke yesterday with [festival director] Dmitry Meshkiev, and he said thatthe festival is cancelled."

The new event, which had beenthe brainchild of businessman Mark Rudinstein and hadappointed ex-Eurimages executive secretary Renate Roginas as artistic director, had been accompanied byrumours almost from the outset about the likelihood of the festival actuallytaking place. Its future had appeared even more uncertain when, in a surprisemove,Roginas stepped down from her post duringthe Cannes Film Festival.