Russia's biggestindependent film company Central Partnership is promising an ambitious production programme and new studio facilities after itstakeover by Prof-Media, a subsidiary of industrial giant Interros.

"Most of the newfunds secured from the undisclosed deal will be invested in film production and newprojects," Central Partnership's generaldirector Ruben Dishdishian told Screen,

He said 30 featurefilms and 15 TV series are planned for the 2005-2006 season, with approximatelythe same number for 2006-2007.

"As of today, the company's production plan isformulated to 2008 and we are in the process of planning 2009," he added.

Last week's sale of50.5% of the business to Prof-Media, owned by Russian metals magnate Vladimir Potanin, is excpected to securefuture plans.

"The inflow of fundswill allow us to diversify production with mini-series, soap operas andsitcoms," said Dishdishian.

"In conjunction withthese plans, we plan to create a large film studio with production facilitiesin the Moscow region. In terms of film distribution, we plan to create a robustdistribution network in Eastern Europe and subsequently in Italy andGermany."

Alexander Semyonov, publisher of trade publication Russian FilmBusiness Today, said the injection of capital had been necessary.

"CentralPartnership is heavily involved in film production and they needed more fundsbecause production costs have risen," he said.

"So inorder to fully finance all of their current and future projects, they had tosell a controlling stake in the company."

Central Partnership isRussia's largest independent film production and distribution company. Thecompany owns rights to more than 1,200 films and 3,200 hours of TV seriesprogramming. Its distributes films in Russia and the CIS from Hollywood majorssuch as Universal and Warner Brothers and European majors such as Gaumont and Europacorp.

Prof-Media, is one of Russia's largest media holding companiesand an aggressive buyer on the media market.

The company ownscontrolling stakes in several major daily newspapers, radio stations, a B2Bpublications publisher and the Cinema Park chain of cinemas. The company'sconsolidated sales for 2004 were more than $140m.