About local films: an interview with the head of the regional company BaikalCinema
Today not every viewer in Russia, or even a film critic, is familiar with films produced by local companies. Meanwhile, such content is winning awards even at international festivals.
On the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, the editorial team of "Made in Russia" discussed with Dina Podprugina, director general of BaikalKino, which currently produces films for TNT television channel and online cinema KION.
- You began your speech by saying that SpongeBob is known all over the world, and the situation with our heroes is different. How do you think, why domestic film and animation heroes are not known not only in the world, but sometimes even in our country?
- Because really Russian cinema was in the fold for a while. Only now they have started to talk about whether we need such a cinema (regional - note).
American kino was not touched by the Great Patriotic War. There was a consistent viewer there, and we were constantly being thrown off: we will develop here, we will be thrown off. Soviet cinema was great, but then the 90s happened. Of course, all of us - the film companies, the filmmakers, the film producers - need to be given time to begin to immerse ourselves in some of our own stories and characters.
But we are already seeing the rise of Soviet films such as Upward Motion, a film about Soviet basketball players. This will also be the return of the meanings that are embedded in the Russian cultural code.
Somebody's turning to our fairytales now. So I think we're ahead of the game.
- Is the current situation in the industry a problem of the industry or does it go hand in hand with the state?
- Searching for the guilty is a thankless task. Of course, nobody is to blame for certain historical events. Another thing is that we have to solve this problem now, jointly. Neither the state can impose it, nor the people themselves can do something big on their own.
What we are doing now is an attempt to find a way of cooperation, where the state would do without censorship, where people wouldn't go around using state money, but would continue to create and strive for the stars.
- Does your company receive state support?
- We take part on a competitive basis, like everyone else. There are hundreds of film companies. Some are lucky, some are not. It all depends on what kind of project you come up with and how you defend it. We were lucky once with the Cinema Fund. Today we rely on the republican subsidy. It's not much money, but as they say, any support is support.
- Is this support enough?
- We are so spoilt. Just now a speaker said that they did not want to shoot with some second-tier operator. They did not want to shoot with Russian equipment; they brought equipment from Paris. Of course, their appetite will grow, and they want to shoot with maximum quality.
So the answer to the question whether there is enough funding depends on what you want to do. It's one thing if you shoot "Reshala", by no means do I want to talk about my own project. "The Resolute" is a simple enough story. But if you want to shoot "Lord of the Rings" or "Game of Thrones," of course, there are completely different budgets. It all depends on the project.
- What projects are you working on right now?
- We are currently working on "The Spirit of Baikal". It's a mystical story about a boy who lost his mother and now is searching for the meaning of life. And the Spirit of Baikal helps him in that.
To take the picture has agreed to American-Japanese actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (known for his participation in the films "Hachiko: The Most Loyal Friend," "Memoirs of a Geisha" - note). We hope that in 2022 we shall start shooting.
- What is your work in the film?
- The script was written by Mikhail Raskhodnikov (Russian director, screenwriter, producer - editorial note) and his company, he also directed it. He is the main engine of the project. We are here to act as the host party: we will be coming to Buryatia, to Baikal and we'll have to ensure the whole production process. We will have to meet them, find locations, help with actors, with props. This is a huge amount of work.
- Where will the film crew come from?
- There will be a crew. There will be foreign actors as well as Russian ones. Basically, of course, they are specialists from Moscow.
- Could you give some figures on financing?
- Not yet.