ROUND TABLE - MOSFILM
Russian company Mosfilm, the oldest and biggest film studio in Europe and the prospect of collaborations with the Greek film industry, were the topic of yesterday’s round table discussion in Warehouse 8. The discussion panel included Karen Shakhnazarov, General Director of Mosfilm, Manos Zacharias, advisor for ERT television, Kostas Spiropoulos, General Director of ERT television and Despina Mouzaki, the Director of the Thessaloniki Film Festival.
The discussion began with an impressive video about Mosfilm’s profile today. The video revealed that Mosfilm has the latest technology in equipment and 40,000 employees as well as 800,000 costumes, 80 antique cars, tanks and weapons of the 20th century and antique furniture and heirlooms that can be used in film or television productions.
Karen Shakhnazarov mentioned that since 1991, Mosfilm is a public company, which receives no financial support from the state and operates autonomously as an independent company in a free market. “However, the public nature of the company provides a protective umbrella for it”, he said.
According to its General Director, Mosfilm, which began its operations in the 20s, has been radically transformed in the past seven years. “When I took this position in 1998 we were still using cameras from the 1998 Moscow Olympic Games. Today, we are investing a large portion of our revenues in order to keep up with the advances in technology”, said Mr. Shakhnazarov. He also added that it’s equally important to invest in training the technicians: “No matter how smart a film is, it will never be good enough if it doesn’t conform with today’s modern technical specifications”.
Regarding today’s Russian film industry, Mr. Shakhnazarov noted that each year there are about 70-80 films made which receive assistance from the Russian Ministry of Culture and television stations through advertisements. The average budget of the films is approximately 700,000 dollars, with some of them reaching 10 million dollars. According to Shakhnazarov, these days, Mosfilm produces about 70% of Russia’s films.
The General Director of Mosfilm also mentioned the company’s plans concerning international co-productions. “We are very interested in collaborations with the Greeks since the two countries are tied with a long-standing friendship and many common characteristics. Cinema needs international co-productions”, he said and added the Mosfilm provides its services at very attractive prices. “Production prices for a film are less than half the price of what you would pay a London-based studio”, said Mr. Shakhnazarov.
Kostas Spiropoulos, General Director of ERT Television, mentioned that Greece with its small population, its European identity and its common religion with Russia, is the ideal partner for a company like Mosfilm. “We need a framework of public and private collaborations between investors as well as initiatives and risk-taking”, said Mr. Spiropoulos.