MIFF 2011: Moscow Business Square focuses on Baltics, Georgia and CIS countries


MOSCOW: MIFF's business platform Moscow Business Square (27-29 June 2011) chose to focus on the Baltics, Georgia and CIS countries in its third edition giving Russian producers and film professionals a chance to develop coproduction partnerships with their neighbours.

 Russia became a member of Eurimages in March 2011 which has opened the door to new opportunities for coproductions with EU members like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and also with Georgia which is expected to achieve Eurimages membership soon. The theme of this year's event was Russia in the European film process reflecting the country's new more European outlook.

Rasa Miskinyte head of the Lithuanian Independent Producers Association who reported a participating in a number of important business discussions during the event said: "It's good that Russia has Eurimages, now there is a much more substantial ground for Lithuanian and for the Baltics as a whole for developing Russian co-productions. Without Russia being a member of Eurimages, the co-production possibilities were really limited. Why? Because to finance contemporary productions by the means of only local funds is getting more and more difficult."

Organised by the Russian Cinema Fund the MBS (Moscow Business Square) attracted nearly 350 film professionals this year and the Moscow Coproduction Forum remains at the center of the event. This year 22 projects were offered in five minute pitches with well known names attached such as Simone Baumann, Alexander Mindadze and Nik Powell. The projects came from Russia, Latvia, Georgia, Germany, Ukraine, Netherlands, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Israel, Italy, Hungary, France, India, Poland, Armenia, USA, Serbia and UK.

New this year were the MBS Screenings which give foreign producers a chance to screen product that has not yet been sold in Russia as well as showcasing Russian productions for buyers and festival programmers.

Roundtables included Russia-Italy. New Co-production and distribution possibilities, The Role of TV channels in international film production: Russian and European experiences, Russia in European Film Process, Eurimages and MEDIA, Perspectives of film industry in the CIS, Georgia and the Baltic States.

Sean Ramsey who heads Central European Production and Location said: "As a producer, with a production services company in Czech, I made a lot of business contacts. This has been more useful to me than the Cannes Marche or Berlin, or AFM. The event was very nicely organized. So many interesting C.I.S. companies showed up.

The fact that Eurimages includes Russia now, makes it possible for us to work on projects that would otherwise have been almost impossible."

SPONSORED by Moscow International Film Festival