Russian Minister of Culture Raises Eyebrows

on February 21, 2013

Last month, Russia's Minister of Culture Vladimir Mendinsky caught the country's attention when he announced that Russia's new $170 million cinema fund came with a few restrictions. Among them were 12 topics would get special preference for being deemed as "socially relevant," an umbrella that includes period drama, commemorative films and war pictures. The approach is similar to the height of Communist film-making, which produced several masterpieces and dozens of less-good, but legendary films, which touted the Russian values of hard work and community. The restrictions, of course, have their critics. One of the loudest is producer Yevgeny Gindilis, who told Variety that he fears "it will be almost impossible for independent producers to access state funding for international co-production projects through the Ministry of Culture." Mendinsky countered such accusations at a press conference, saying, ""If a film is a commercial product, you can make whatever film you want -- we do not have censorship....If you want money from the state, we have to know what is in that film, what it is about."

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