President Vladimir Putin:
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to Moscow, especially on such a fine occasion as the Moscow Film Festival.
This is a particularly significant event for us. The cinema has always been the object of particular love and attention in Russia. Like the country as a whole, Russian cinema lived through some difficult times in the early and mid-1990s, but state support and active work by the profession itself has succeeded in maintaining our film industry. The professional unions have played a big part in this work. Nikita Sergeyevich Mikhalkov has done a great deal for this, and we are grateful and thankful to him and all of his colleagues for their efforts.
I think anyone can see that Russian cinema has been undergoing an active renaissance of late. Several circumstances make this possible: Russia’s deep roots and rich traditions in both theatre and cinema; rising incomes; and positive changes in the economy.
As Nikita Sergeyevich [Mikhalkov] and I were saying recently, if his Barber of Siberia were to come out now, when the country has far more cinemas, and not a few years ago, the film would have made much bigger financial and economic returns. Bigger returns mean more possibilities for creating new products and creating the economic foundation needed for the industry’s development. The industry has changed today and there are more possibilities today.
In this context, it is very important that we maintain and develop the forum that is the Moscow International Film Festival. I think that we also need to talk about our plans to join various international organisations, including the European film, video and audio support fund.
The growth in Russia’s film industry is backed up by the figures. The number of films made in the country has increased considerably and we are one of the world leaders in this respect (I think we are now in fifth place, which is a good result). The quality of our films is also improving all the time, and tangible proof of this is the results of our work on the international stage. Eight Russian films have earned recognition and won prizes at prestigious international film events in the last five months alone. All of this indicates excellent prospects for the Russian film industry.
We are very pleased to see you here. We are thankful to our country’s cinema professionals who work tirelessly to support the industry. And we are thankful to our foreign friends and colleagues for the attention they give to the Russian film industry and for the time they accord Russian cinema, including here at the Moscow Film Festival.