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Russian legislators have amended the law on film festivals

Russian state duma has adopted in third reading amendments to Russian law on cinematography. These amendments can enter into force already this autumn. New law defines what cinema festival is – it is event with no more than 10-days contest program, the film can be demonstrated no more than twice, and the quality of such film it be assessed by the jury.

If the film festival is international and organised in Russia, it must be registered in Russian Ministry of Culture (MinCult), in other words, in order to organize an international film festival the organizer must receive approval from Russian MinCult. The necessary conditions for registration in MinCult will be developed and adopted by the Russian government.

Currently the organisation of festivals is not regulated in details in Russia. For such event it is enough to bargain with distributor or embassy on copies of movies, to declare about festival in mass media and to make official instrument concerning event. That is all. But the rules have been changed and become more complicated. If you want to demonstrate the movie at the festival in Russia, you don’t have to receive approval for distribution from Russian MinCult, so far, but not in near future.

Stakeholders and professionals believe new rules hurt art-house movies. New rules can cause high transaction costs for independent distributors or participants of festival. Many local festivals can be closed. Besides, when the rules prescribe the quantity of time the movie can be demonstrated to the public at the festival, they intervene with the freedom to conduct a business. Very often at the festivals the movies can be demonstrated more times than it was declared.