European Film Promotion will make its first foray into the Russian market with a European film event in Moscow this autumn.

The European Union’s MEDIA Programme is set to support European Film Promotion’s (EFP) plan to make its first foray into the Russian market with a European film event in Moscow this autumn.

The Programme’s Evaluation Committee has recommended $77,000 (€59,000) support for this event which would present around 12 European feature films over a six-day period at Moscow’s 35mm Cinema, the first Russian member of the Europa Cinemas network.

The screenings would bring the films’ sales agents together with prospective Russian distributors, and the initiative – which will be supported by EFP’s newest member, the Russian Cinema Fund - aims to build awareness of European cinema for Russian audiences.

The largest single sum of $224,000 (€175,000) has been recommended by the committee for the 26th European Film Awards which are to be held this year in Berlin on December 7.

MEDIA funding for CineLink

Almost $157,000 (€123,000) may be paid out to Sarajevo’s CineLink co-production market, although the committee noted that this selection will be “pending the formalisation of the participation of Bosnia-Herzegovina to the MEDIA Programme”.

If this funding goes through, this would be the first time that CineLink has received direct support from MEDIA.

Previously, the market had been a partner with the Sofia Meetings in the Sofia CineLinks Sarajevo initiative which had been backed by MEDIA International, the predecessor of MEDIA Mundus, in 2009 and 2010.

Other events recommended for funding with almost $1.2m (€1m) to promote market access include Locarno’s Industry Days, London-based Good Pitch Europe, Rome’s Business Street and the New Cinema Network and the Galway Film Fair.

East-West dialogue encouraged by MEDIA-supported Vilnius festival 

MEDIA-supported Vilnius International Film Festival consolidated its position this year as a venue for East-West dialogue with its Meeting Point Vilnius (MPV) discussing new trends in film financing and changing channels of distribution as well as screening works in progress from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Participants included producers Pascal Judelewicz, Anneli Ahven, Jean de Forets, Ivo Felt, Tudor Giurgiu and festival representatives from Cannes, Locarno, Cottbus, Warsaw, San Sebastian, Bratislava, Cluj and Belgrade.

Lithuania mooting film tax incentive

In an overview of the Lithuanian film industry, Rolandas Kvietkauskas, director of the brand-new Lithuanian Film Centre (LFC) launched in autumn 2012, reported that the state support for the film industry is to climb from 2012’s $2.5m (€1.95m) to $3.52m (€2.75m) this year with the goal of between six to eight premieres of domestic films funded by the state or private investors.

In 2013, the LFC plans to continue with French opposite numbers about a bilateral co-production agreement, achieve better access to national films for Lithuanian audiences, and receive support from the Ministry of Economy for the Lithuanian film industry to attend markets in Berlin, Cannes, Sheffield and Annecy.

First and foremost, minds at LFC are focusing on the passing of tax incentive legislation during the spring session of the Lithuanian Parliament after the European Commission gave its greenlight to the proposed scheme.

However, the turnout by MPs for a roundtable with Meeting Point participants in the parliament building would suggest that Lithuanian filmmakers should not hold their breath. Only three deputies made an appearance to meet the foreign guests and all slunk off little more than a quarter of an hour after discussion had begun.

Vilnius’ festival director Vida Ramaskiene noted that there are “problems reaching politicans with arguments about film policy”, but expressed hopes that the LFC “will serve as a mediator between the film industry and politicians.”

Lithuania has been looking enviously at the co-financing programme offered by the Riga Film Fund in neighbouring Latvia whose National Film Centre announced last week that it is now dedicating part of its annual funding budget to support foreign films being made in Latvia.

Fabicki’s Loving wins Vilnius’ Grand Prix

The 18th edition of the Vilnius International Film Festival (aka Kino Pavasaris) saw the main award in its “New Europe – New Names” competition go to Polish filmmaker Slawomir Fabicki’s Loving, his first film after a hiatus of six years, while the award for best direction went to Slovakia’s Mira Fornay for her second feature My Dog Killer.

Romanian director Marian Crisan accepted the award for best acting performance on behalf of Dan Chiorean who appeared in his latest film Rocker, and the CICAE jury’s award was presented to Georgia’s Rusudan Chkonia for Keep Smiling.

The public choice award went to Oscar-winning documentary Searching For Sugar Man before the festival was closed with a screening of Gyorgy Palfi’s Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen.