Roman Abramovich will throw a bone in the Russian cinema

The oligarch will create a fund with investments of up to 1 billion rubles in the Russian film industry. Expecting an improvement in the quality of the films is not worth it: the Ministry of Culture spends 6 times more annually, but no sense.
Origin source
Billionaire will support the Russian cinema, told RBC three sources in the industry. According to them, the businessman creates a fund that will finance the production of domestic films. A source familiar with the negotiations clarified that the draft is still being discussed: "At the moment there are no details or solutions."

John Mann, spokesman for Roman Abramovich’s Millhouse Capital, declined to comment.

What is known about the project

The total budget of support for the Russian cinema fund in 2019 could reach 1 billion rubles, said one of the interlocutors of RBC. According to him, the producers will be able to qualify for financing from 20 to 50% of the production budget of the picture. The fund will invest in film production at the final stage - the end of filming or already in the so-called post-production (editing, graphics preparation, etc.).

The investor will not demand a refund, but in case of commercial success, the tape will claim a portion of the profits, adds a source familiar with the businessman’s plans. With an annual budget of 1 billion rubles. the fund will be able to support 10–15 projects. Due to package investments (a pool of 10–15 tapes) and provided that some of them are fired, the investor’s risks will be minimized, the RBC source summarizes.

It is believed that the film pays off at the box office, if its fees are 2-2.5 times higher than the production budget. As a rule, cinemas keep half of the fees, 10–15% are taken by the distributor, the remaining 35–40% goes to the creators of the tape.

All the pictures will pass peer review, the fund does not have the task of financing only potentially commercially successful films, says one of the interlocutors of RBC. He adds that with expert selection there will be no genre restrictions, but, for example, the fund does not plan to finance already existing cinema franchises.

Billionaire, philanthropist, collector

Roman Abramovich is ranked 11th in the Forbes latest ranking “200 richest businessmen in Russia”. The publication assesses the state of a businessman who now owns 31% of Evraz, 20% of Channel One and the English football club Chelsea at $ 10.8 billion.

In 2008, together with Daria Zhukova, who was his wife, Abramovich founded the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. A businessman collects objects of art, experts estimate the total cost of his collection at $ 1 billion, indicates Forbes.

Abramovich and the owner of Rambler Group, Alexander Mamut, on a parity basis belong to the Pioneer cinema on Kutuzovsky Prospekt in the capital. The basis of the repertoire of this cinema is arthouse films.

Abramovich is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Moscow Jewish Museum and Center for Tolerance, which was founded in 2013 with its financial support. According to the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, for 20 years the entrepreneur has donated about $ 500 million to the needs of the Jewish community around the world.

The billionaire is also known for supporting Russian football. Between 2004 and 2013, he financed the construction of more than 100 sports facilities through the National Football Academy fund. This fund also paid the fee to Guus Hiddink when he was the head coach of the Russian national football team.

Who will manage the fund

According to sources in the industry, it was suggested that Anton Malyshev, the former executive director of the Federal Fund for Social and Economic Support for National Cinematography (Cinema Foundation), lead the fund. He led them the last five years, but left his post in mid-October.

Malyshev declined to comment.

The departure of Malyshev was preceded by the adoption of a new edition of the charter of the fund. As a result, the Ministry of Culture received the right to nominate its candidacy for the post of executive director of the fund. In September, the ministry nominated Larisa Solonitsyna, director of the Film Museum, to the government. And after that was not approved - the candidacy of the head of the State Film Fund Vyacheslav Telnov. He became the new executive director of the organization.

The main task of the Cinema Fund, which Malyshev directed, largely duplicates the tasks that will be assigned to him as the head of a private foundation, funded by Abramovich. This is primarily the organization of the selection of projects that will be eventually financed.

The total amount of state subsidies allocated for film production in 2017 amounted to 6 billion rubles, follows from the data of the Russian Film Industry 2017 study. Half of these funds went to support through the Cinema Foundation, the second half - directly through the Ministry of Culture.

What do the producers think about Abramovich's project?

For the industry, any additional investment is significant, said RBC the head of the Soyuzmultfilm studio Yuliana Slashcheva. According to her, even those producers who receive state subsidies at the start have to finance projects with their own funds or money from private investors. These raised funds form the bulk of the production budget.

The desire of private business to invest in the production of films suggests that the Russian film industry has some credibility, and this is a big plus, says co-founder of the film company Art Pictures Studio Dmitry Rudovsky.

“On the other hand, the stated idea is that by investing in cinema, the founders of the foundation do not seek to earn money on it,” draws the attention of Rudovsky. - But they plan to enter production at the final stage in order to reduce risks. Then it contradicts the logic of "not to earn, but to support." It’s necessary to decide whether it’s a patronage or a business. ”

If the creators of the fund really want to support the industry, then financing of the initial production stage will be more relevant: then producers will have the opportunity to mortgage these 20–30% as a guaranteed part of the production budget, which will significantly simplify further funding from other partners, Rudovsky stated.

The more money - public or private - will be in the film industry, the better, said the head of the Film Foundation Vyacheslav Telnov. It is premature to speak about any cooperation between the funds, Telnov specified, since the Abramovich fund has not yet been created.