New film investment from the Russian government has been criticised by local sources, who claim the money will not help the wider industry.

The Russian government will invest up to $170m (5bn rubles) in the domestic film industry this year.

It is expected that about half of the cash will be distributed among the eight leading Russian film companies, while the remainder will be invested in non-profit projects.

It is understood that Trite Studios, head by Nikita Mikhalkov (also head of the Russian Cinematographers’ Union), director Fyodor Bondarchuk, who is the son of iconic Soviet film-maker Sergi Bondarchuk (Art Pictures), and Timur Bekmambetov, who made some Russian popular blockbusters, including Night Watch (Bazelevs Studio) will be among the recipients.

They are set to receive $8m (250m rubles), with further money available for bonuses for films that make a profit. The companies eligible for the money have been selected using criteria, which was created by Movie Research, which included audience and experts’ loyalty, work experience and current activities.

However, the profitability of the studios and their films has been not taken into account, which has been criticised by the Producers Guild of Russia.

Russian film-makers hoped that the new scheme would improve the quality of films as well as increasingly the number of local films made. According to Mikhalkov, among the 101 movies that began production last year only 52 were completed and just 30% of those were released.

It added that the investment was not enough and that the industry needed to create a new mechanism that allowed it to attract private money.

The new project has already drawn sharp criticism among some Russian analysts and film producers.  Aleksei German, the Soviet and Russian film-maker said: “This decision will not improve situation in the Russian movie industry, on the contrary, it may result in its collapse. In fact, this decision does not reflect the needs of most of the film industry; it reflects the opinion of one of group of people, which conflicts with another. This system is not clear, so, it can not, and will not work”.

Some industry sources have questioned how objective the criteria are, with some figures pointing out it matches certain companies and projects very well.