The recession may help the Russian film industry by weeding out the number of “wealthy amateurs” involved in film-making, according to a discussion held as part of the St Petersburg Economic Forum on June 5.

A panel of industry experts at The Cinema Industry During The Crisis meeting included  Andrei Smirnov (Sistema Mass-Media), director and producer Timur Bekmambetov (Daywatch), producer Sergei Selyanov (Mongol), actress Ingeborga Dapkunaite (Burnt By The Sun),Sanjai Agrawal fromCFO B4U Network, India and Andy Bird from Walt Disney International.

Smirnov said the credit crunch would help towards the creation of a “world-class film industry in Russia” by reducing the number of wealthy amateurs dabbling in film-making.

“Since the credit crunch, cinematography has been gradually cleared of those who received financial support, but did absolutely nothing to produce quality product,” said Smirnov.

According to Smirnov, this culture of inefficiency stems from “The Politics of Spare Change” which became prevalent 30 to 40 years ago, when Soviet government would “thoughtlessly” spend RUB100m annually on cinema.

“Now that there is no more “spare money”, private investors, as well as the government, will be much more careful with their choices,” concluded Smirnov.

Bekmambetov, who has built a career in Hollywood thanks to his blockbusters Daywatch, Nightwatch and Wanted starring Angelina Jolie, added that Russia needed less festival, auteur cinema, and more films with popular appeal.

“There is cinema indented for festivals and there are films with wider popular appeal. Young directors today no longer take part in [awards] like Kinotavr, and this is what we are interested in - people who make films for the public, not for the festivals,” he added.