Moscow mayor has proposed two sites for the project.

Nikita Mikhalkov, head of the Russian Cinematographers’ Union and President of the International Moscow Film Festival, has moved another step closer to the implementation of one of the most ambitious projects in the history of the Russian cinematography: construction of a new giant Palace of Film Festivals in Moscow.

The idea was proposed for the first time in 1998.

As a result of a recent meeting with the mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin, the Moscow government proposed to Mikhalkov two sites in elite districts of Moscow for construction: Luzhniki as well as Gorky Park. A final decision is expected to be taken later this year.

According to creators of the project, the construction of the new Palace — which will become the main site of the Moscow Film Festival — will not only allow to significantly increase the number of visitors, who annually come to the Moscow Festival, but to create conditions for the organisation of more film festivals and events in the Russian capital.

According to estimates of Kyril Razlogov, Russian film expert, due to lack of such facilities, the number of film events that are annually organised in Moscow is only about 150, compared to Paris’ 1,800.

Total cost of the project is estimated at more than $100m, of which half of the sum is expected to be allocated from the federal budget.

Mikhalkov said: “The new palace should be modeled in the image and likeness of the same palaces in Cannes, Berlin and Venice. It will house a giant multiplex, which will be comprised of 9 to 11 halls, designed for 100-350 seats each, where the whole festival life will take place.”

According to Mikhalkov’s plans, the new Palace will also provide space for the Russian Museum of Cinematography, which currently does not have its own premises. That has been supported by Russian and international filmmakers as Alexander Mitta, Dardenne brothers, Bernardo Bertolucci, Quentin Tarantino and some others.

At the same time the project has already sparked criticism from several representatives of the Russian film public, who say implementation solely by Nikita Mikhalkov could create the threat of unfair and selective approach to festivals, which will be organised in the new Palace.

In addition, the implementation of this project may require huge financial support from the state budget as well as allocation of the most expensive land in Russia.