A group of deputies in Russia has put forward an amendment request regarding the definition of “national film” in Russia in order to lure more foreign investment.

Like in France, the national film status in Russia is vital, as it means eligibility for government tax relief.

At the moment, the criteria are rigid, wherein the producer, director, writers, composers, as well as 30% of the crew must all hold Russian citizenship in order to qualify. Another proviso is that foreign investment must not constitute more than 30% of the film’s budget.

The newly proposed legislation would mean that only 50% of the people involved in the making of a film must be Russian, raising the possibility of foreign involvement from 30% to 50%.

Russia has had very few co-productions with Western companies in recent years, the latest being the Russian-German co-production The Last Station (2009), Kazakhstan-German box office hit Mongol in 2007, and Aleksandr Sokurov’s masterpiece The Russian Ark, which was also co-produced with Germany in 2002.

The new legislation is believed to make it easier for Russia to fully integrate into the world film industry, especially since domestic production has been hit hard by the crisis, slashing many companies’ annual slates by 50%.

Another part of the legislation involves the introduction of a “single-ticket-system”, wherein all box office results would go directly to the government, which has complained that the figures given to them by the distributors have been reduced in order to avoid tax.