Crimea and Ukraine-themed films and those showcasing “family values” among those to get support.

Films exploring the role of Crimea and Ukraine in Russian history will be among those given priority when it comes to film funding in 2015, according to Russia’s Ministry of Culture.

“We select subjects which, in our opinion, need to have additional stimulus. It is a normal practice for state support“, explained Vyacheslav Telnov, director of the Ministry’s Cinematography Department, during a press conference in Moscow last week.

The official pointed out that it was “logical“ that Crimea should be one of the subjects given special attention in 2015.

State support will also go to films that address “the struggle of modern heroes with crime and corruption“, “self-realisation of people with limited possibilities“, and films showcasing “family values as the basis of society“.

There will also be support for screenplays marking the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Revolution and the 25th anniversary of the putsch in August 1991, and new treatments of the classics of Russian literature.

Last year, funding priority was given to films with storylines around the anniversary of the end of the Second World War – known as the Great Patriotic War in Russia - in 1945.

Putin goes to the movies

Films glorifying Russia’s military past are evidently much to the taste of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

A special screening of Dmitry Meshiev’s $40m (RUB 250m) Battalion Of Death was organised last week at the presidential residence with the director (who had been one of the signatories of a declaration supporting Putin’s actions in Crimea in March 2014), the film’s producers and lead actors in attendance.

The president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov reported that Putin was impressed by the drama about the women battalions formed in 1917 to fight on the Eastern front against the Germans.

No cuts to Russian Cinema Fund budget

Meanwhile, Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky has announced that the Russian Cinema Fund’s (RCF) budget for 2015 will remain stable at $487m (RUB 3bn), the same amount allocated last year.

In 2014, a further $471m (RUB 2.9 bn) was invested directly in film production by the Ministry of Culture, and $97.4m (RUB 600m) was allocated to the distribution and promotion of Russian films at home and abroad.

Medinsky revealed that his Ministry’s budget for direct investment in film production will, however, be reduced by $ 97.4m (RUB 600m) this year.

In a review of the RCF’s activities in 2014, Vyacheslav Telnov explained that funding from RCF and the Ministry of Culture had resulted in the completion of 96 fiction feature films, 155 animation films and 383 documentaries as well as the staging of 62 film festivals in 34 regions of the Russian Federation, and 30 measures to promote Russian cinema abroad, such as the Russian Cinema stands at the Berlinale, Cannes and Hong Kong’s Filmart.

Sofia news

In regional festival news, Russian producer-director Evgenia Tirdatova’s Rudolf Nureyev: The Beginning is among 15 projects selected for this year’s industry event Sofia Meetings (March 12-15), which takes place during the Sofia International Film Festival (March 5-15).

SIFF’s 19th edition will open with the premiere of French-based Georgi Balabanov’s debut The File Petrov and close with Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan.