The Moscow International Film Festival (18-27 June 2004) is to give itself a more business-like stance and a more Russian flavour and has appointed a new artistic director.

Nadia Turincev, a Moscow-born executive, takes up the specially created post with immediate effect. She will remain in Paris, where she previously managed the European Producers' Club, and where last year she joined Francois Da Silva's selection team for Cannes' Directors' Fortnight section.

Approached by festival president Nikita Mikhailkov during Cannes last year, Turincev will work closely with Kirill Razlogov, who remains head of selection, and other executive directors.

"The idea is to make the festival the home for the best films and the industry of Russia - and hopefully some of the countries of the former Soviet Union - and to make the whole thing more professional and credible" Turincev told "The festival has taken on board the recommendations made by FIAPF two or three years ago. We are taking the next steps now.

"It is important that we improve the effectiveness and profile of Moscow. It is an 'A-list' festival, but falls awkwardly between Cannes and Karlovy Vary."

Turincev says that the festival will for the first time set up an industry office to serve as a meeting point for industry executives. This is likely to be home to a series of East-West meetings, conferences and a co-production forum.

"From my own experience I have seen the international interest there is towards Russia. Last year the European Producers' Club seminar on Russia in Cannes attracted an audience of 80 producers from all over Europe."