Russia’s arthouse cinema sector has now received support from the pan-European fund Eurimages.

At the latest funding session held in Copenhagen, the Strasbourg-based fund’s Board of Management agreed, as part of its theatre support scheme, to admit the first five Russian cinemas into the Eurimages/Europa Cinemas network.

The theatres are the Orlyonok in Nizhni Novgorod, the Chaika Cinema in St Petersburg, Kinoteatr Zarya in Kaliningrad, and the 35mm and Pioneer Cinema in Moscow, which now brings the network up to a total of 44 cinemas.

In addition, Eurimages granted subsidies - as part of its digital equipment support scheme for its cinema network - to Cinema City in Sarajevo and Moscow’s 35mm Cinema.

One of the Russian capital’s most popular arthouse cinemas, the programme on 35mm’s two screens features limited distribution films in original languages with Russian subtitles as well as weeks dedicated to cinema from Germany, Norway, the UK, among others.

Speaking exclusively to Screen in Moscow, 35mm’s managing director Nadya Kotova commented on the backing from Eurimages: “It is really great financial as well as moral support for us. We have been proposed help, guided through the application process and now we are finalising paper work. Being called 35mm cinema hall, we can only keep our strategy of screening European and worldwide arthouse and independent movies if we are fully digitalized. Fortunately, with the support of Eurimages, we can do this. Being a member of Europa Cinemas, we are definitely not feeling lonely on the market, especially with the situation where, in Russia cinemas with a similar strategy to ours, [people] are more often talking about competition rather than partnership.”

The session in Copenhagen also saw Eurimages allocate over €5.5m to 17 European co-productions, including Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac and Paolo Sorrentino’s L’Apparato Umano aka La Grande Bellezza, which both received €650,000 apiece, Stephan Komanderev’s The Judgement, Markus Dietrich’s children’s film Sputnik, and  Pepe Danquart’s Run, Boy, Run, based on Israeli children’s author Uri Orlev’s eponymous novel.

In addition, the Council of Europe fund awarded production funding to Moscow-based, Irish-born Johnny O’Reilly’s second feature, the Russian-language feature film Moscow Never Sleeps, a multi-narrative drama weaving the fates of five people together in a story showing the Russian capital in a new light.

This Russian-Irish co-production, which received €275,000 from the Irish Film Board in April and now €240,000 from Eurimages, will be produced by O’Reilly, Andrey Zakharov and Anna Katchko of Snapshot Films East with Katie Holly of Dublin-based Snapshot Film Ireland/Bl!nder Films (One Hundred Mornings).