Former Kinotavr festival director MarkRudinstein is planning to launch a new international film festival in St.Petersburg, Russia, to be held in July 18 - 31, 2006.

Rudinsteinhas tapped internationally known Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky to be thefestival president, a role that would have him concentrate on the festivalconcept while Rudinstein would handle the business side of things.

Rudinsteintold Screen that he has teamed with U.K.-based partners, which he currentlyrefuses to name, to co-sponsor the festival. The first festival will have a $5mbudget with subsequent festivals backed by $3m.

"Thisis a very ambitious undertaking," Rudinstein said, "The idea is to beon the level of Cannes, Venice, Berlin and San Sebastian. We should [at least]be on a par with Venice. Organisers will meet in August 2005 to resolvetechnical and public relations issues for the festival and plans will be madepublic in November. That's about all I can say right now."

Meanwhile,there has been a changing of the guard at the Kinotavr Festival held in Sochi,Russia.

Rudinsteinannounced in April that Alexander Rodnyansky and Igor Tolstunov, two topmanagers from Russian TV network STS, will now manage the festival.

Rodnyanskyand Tolstunov double as film producers, having produced Pavel Chukhrai's drama ADriver for Vera for the film production arm of Pervy Kanal(Russian state television Channel One).

Held inearly June on the popular Black Sea resort of Sochi, Kinotavr is financed bythe Russian Federal Cinematography Agency, the territorial government ofKrasnodar, the city of Sochi and private sponsors. The festival's 12th editionwill be held June 2 - 12, 2005.