The Russian Pavilion hosted a panel discussion dedicated to filming in Russia. Representatives of the leading film commissions spoke about the possibilities of film production in Russia for foreign producers and shared their experience of working with international projects. The discussion was attended by the Head of the Cinema Department of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation Svetlana Maximchenko, the head of the Moscow Film Commission Anastasia Zuenko, manager for international film projects and events of the Moscow Film Commission Ilya Bragin, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Kaliningrad Region Denis Mironyuk, coordinator of international projects of the Union of Cinematographers of Karelia Alexey Rogozin. CEO Of ROSKINO Evgenia Markova moderated the discussion.

The Moscow Film Commission supports both established professionals and students, working on the principle of the single-window system and helping to organize film shoots in Moscow on a turn-key basis. The Kaliningrad Film Commission revealed the details of the implementation of the rebates program: in 2021, $1.5 million will be allocated. The Commission plans to actively work with foreign partners – cooperation with French companies is in the prospects. An interactive map of locations has been developed in Karelia, which allows directors to choose the film set they need without leaving their home. Introductory films were presented during the discussion meant to acquaint viewers with the attractive locations and shooting opportunities in Moscow, Kaliningrad and Karelia.

Evgenia Markova, CEO of ROSKINO:
‘It is impossible to imagine the rapid development of the Russian film industry, which is being monitored by the whole world, without the active work of organizations that are ready to make the filming process as simple and convenient as possible, and offer shooting locations as diverse as possible. Organizational support has a significant impact on the filmmaking process, but financial assistance is equally important. This year, a rebate program is being introduced in Russia: foreign partners may receive significant financial benefits by using it. Thus, film commissions and rebates constitute a single system of assistance to filmmakers interested in filming in Russia – transparent, reliable and effective.’

Svetlana Maximchenko, Head of the Cinema Department of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation:
‘We strive for filmmakers from all over the world to start filming in Russia. And not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also in other regions and cities. There are 26 film commissions currently working across the country, and 10 are to be launched soon. The Ministry of Culture coordinates this work and is ready, together with ROSKINO, to provide filmmakers with information about all the services available in Russia. These services differ from region to region, some film commissions provide only organizational assistance, others develop financial support programs. We will continue our work to make Russia one of the most comfortable and cost-effective countries for film production in the near future. It’s especially necessary considering our extensive experience in government support for film production, including co-production.’

Anastasia Zuenko, Head of the Moscow Film Commission office:
‘We provide a full cycle of services and act as middlemen between any local organizations. In London for example, to set up your shooting, you need to address each organization concerned individually, but we work differently. The Moscow Film Commission provides a comprehensive service, taking over all negotiations as a single-window system. More than 1000 filmmakers have passed through us since 2018. The Moscow Film Commission also helps students of the largest creative universities by providing benefits, grants and discounts for renting locations. The main criterion for applications is simple – more than 10 percent of the film scenes must be shot in Moscow. Since 2019, we have received 32 applications. And it’s important to mention that our services are completely free.’

Ilya Bragin, manager for international film projects and events of the Moscow Film Commission:
‘At the Moscow Film Commission, we believe that Moscow is not just a city but a city of federal significance. Regional and federal authorities are located in Moscow, which imposes a certain responsibility on us. If someone wants to shoot a film on the Red Square, this requires a special permit, which sometimes must be obtained from the federal authority, and this is us who come to help in such cases.’

Denis Mironyuk, Deputy Minister for Culture and Tourism of the Kaliningrad Region:
‘The creation of a film commission in Kaliningrad and local rebate programs in 2017 became a turning point in the development of the industry in the region. Kaliningrad is a very attractive location for filming, many projects were inspired by the incredible local views. In 2017-2020s, the total amount of investments in projects filmed in Kaliningrad and the Kaliningrad region was close to 10 million dollars. For the rebate program in 2021, 1.5 million dollars has been allocated. The growth of industry in the region has a direct impact on the economy, allowing some of its sectors to grow at higher rates, such as tourism. Today we have five production companies, two large equipment rental companies and our film commission. Lighting equipment, locations, visual effects and everything you need for filming are available in the Kaliningrad region. In 2020, we mainly worked with Russian producers, but this year, 2021, we are going to cooperate with the French film companies. I am sure it will be a very valuable and interesting experience.’

Alexey Rogozin, coordinator of international projects of the Union of Cinematographers of Karelia:
‘The creation of a map of Karelia's locations began with a request from the professional community. Four years ago, we conducted a survey – a series of interviews with producers, companies, directors, whom we asked about the problems of filming in Russia. We realized that it was difficult to find any information about the locations of the region. With the help of the latest technologies, we have created an interactive map that allows directors and location managers to find new locations remotely. Only a demo version of the application is operating now, but in October the project will be available to the general public. Users will be able to use advanced VR technology such as photogrammetry that helps to create 3D models of landscapes. This project is absolutely unique in Russia. Karelia is located between the Baltic and White Seas, and we have the longest border with the EU countries. We mainly cooperate with Finland and the East Finnish Film Commission. But a project is being developed for Netflix now, the pilot for a new series. This year we have not received financial support, but in 2022 the amount of about 200 thousand dollars is expected with 20-25% rebates.’