Moscow International Film Festival (June 23-July 2) is strengthening its business offering and exploring new financing opportunities.

Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF) is Russia’s leading international film event. This year’s 33rd edition (June 23-July 2) will kick off with the world premiere of Paramount Pictures International’s Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. Other titles screening in competition include Vaclav Havel’s Leaving, Pascal Arnold and Jean-Marc Barr’s American Translation and Sergei Loban’s Chapiteau-Show. There will also be Werner Herzog and Sam Peckinpah retrospectives.

With Russian director and actor Nikita Mikhalkov as president, 2010’s MIFF saw almost 25,000 admissions and attracted more than 200 international guests and 2,000 journalists. Marcel Rasquin’s Venezuelan family drama Brother (Hermano) won the Golden George for best film.

‘Participation in the festival for the arthouse movies is very important and desirable’

Marina Bodyagina, 20th Century Fox CIS

For local distributors MIFF is a valuable launchpad for certain titles into the fast-growing Russian marketplace. “The package of 20th Century Fox comprises different kinds of films, from mega blockbusters to arthouse, or movies which are close to them,” says Marina Bodyagina, director of the distribution department at 20th Century Fox CIS. “Participation in the festival for the latter movies is very important and very desirable. And, of course, we use this opportunity if we have it.”

In recent years, Moscow has also been strengthening its international business activities. MIFF’s Business Square is a platform for industry professionals and aims to develop co-operation in co-production and distribution as well as increasing access to the Russian market. The event attracted 200 professionals from more than 20 countries last year.

A key Business Square event will be the third annual Moscow Co-Production Forum, a Mikhalkov initiative which last year presented 22 international projects over three days. With Russia developing as an international co-production partner, this year’s Business Square (June 27-29) will focus on new opportunities in film finance. There will also be masterclasses, presentations and discussions focused on film production in Italy, Spain, Germany, Netherlands and the post-Soviet states.