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MOSCOW, October 19 (Itar-Tass) — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with famous producer Alexander Sokurov – which won Golden Lion at this year’s Venice film festival - in St.Petersburg on Tuesday. They discussed film production problems and the situation at the Lenfilm studio in the first place.
The premier congratulated the producer on the success his film “Faust” at the Venice film festival, the “Kommersant” writes. Putin said he had received a letter from Sokurov concerned over Lenfilm’s future. The producer fears that the company might end up in bad hands. He and his followers believe that Lenfilm should remain an independent, yet a state-owned cultural facility.
The “Rossiiskaya Gazeta” cites the producer as saying that Lenfilm’s problems boil down to the solution of the economic issue. “No investments have come in the film studio in the past two decades. Putin was surprised: “We allocated 60 million roubles, and, according to preliminary estimates, some 500 million roubles are required.” However, Sokurov disagreed with the figures Putin had voiced: “Indeed, it was sufficient for the first stage, but in order to create a truly large world studio, we need some 2 billion roubles. We absolutely need the studio, as it should destroy the monotony of cinematographic environment, so that Mosfilm is not the only one."
The issue of what to do with Lenfilm turned out to be difficult, the “Moskovsky Komsomolets” writes. AFK Sistema seeks to buy out Lenfilm. The people of art are worried that commerce will kill the St.Petersburg-based film company. Sokurov and his colleague Alexei German asked Putin to help in a letter. At United Russia’s regional conference in Cherepovets, Anastasia Melnikova, who starred in the serial about Petersburg police, asked the premier to keep the studio, at least in order to be able to film for “the good of one’s soul.” Putin objected by saying that commercial films that fetch good earnings should be made on the same equipment, in order to pay for the films made for “the good of one’s soul.” Putin admitted he was sorry about the film studio, but it is a loss-making company with a balance value of 100 million roubles which occupies land in central St.Petersburg that costs more than one billion roubles.
The premier noted that it was still unclear what had to be done with Lenfilm. After the meeting with him, Sokurov became confident that the company would not be sold.