From a speech by Head of government of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin at a meeting of the Council on the Development of National Cinematography under the government of the Russian Federation in All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography on November 3, 2009
“The latest ten years of the industry development clearly confirmed all importance of the government direct involvement in forming, creation and promotion of national cinematography, national films, in the maintenance of film studios’ output and the provision of orders by specialized organizations.
We have succeeded in not merely preserving personnel potential and production infrastructure,.. especially in the middle, at the beginning of the 90s, and indeed in the early 2000. But we succeeded in not only preserving all what I have just said, both production infrastructure, and personnel, but also in bringing our film industry to a new, appropriate level, first of all, by the market size and production capacities.
The domestic share of the national cinema’s box-office receipts – if it was in the early 2000’s about 4%, then in 2008 it is already 25%, i.e. it has increased more than 10 times.
Of course, the world crisis has made its alterations. In the first place, it affected the process of the cinema infrastructure development, simply speaking, new halls, new premises, and structures construction. Nevertheless, one can consider the growth of Russian films box-office receipts as a positive moment. Following the results of nine months of this year it made up 15%.
If in other industries we see the recession, then here we have a little plus – 15%. Though in prior years the growth of box-office receipts was almost twice higher. But in conditions of crisis we still observe the growth, which, strictly speaking, is not bad.
That is why one can, perhaps, assert that when we speak about problems in the industry, the question is not only in the crisis. If we speak about problems, I shall recall that the Great Depression in the USA gave a powerful impetus to the development of American cinematograph, made this industry superprofitable. And the industry feels dividends of this breakthrough until now.
On this example one can see that problems of the film industry are not in amounts of money, tax preferences, though, certainly, all that is of importance as well. But, perhaps, the most important thing is the quality of these resources management, ability to create a competitive product, to win both domestic and world audience.
One year ago, at our meeting in St. Petersburg... – then I said and now I want to say it again: the state can help financially, can develop a maintenance base, infrastructure, establish an educational process, as we are trying to do here in All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography, helping the higher education institution. But the state can not make audience watch what is not interesting to it. That is the whole “law of creativity”.
Though, certainly, it must be admitted that our colleagues – I mentioned our American colleagues, the same can be also said of European ones – learnt to fastidiously, I want to stress it, protect their market. Here are both language barriers, and relevant rules. There is a million, perhaps, of these rules, we may not even know all of them. They come to the surface only as we try to win, win back some market segments...
Such are the facts: only every sixth Russian film is claimed in the foreign distribution, collects there at most one fifth of the whole Russian audience.
We possess the richest cinematographic heritage. Our films traditionally get prestigious grants at international festivals. However our products have no mass foreign audience so far. That is, not only economic goals, but also those of cultural, humanitarian influence are not achieved in full. And this is just one of the most important, serious tasks of the national film industry.”