Studio of cult film Assa director accused of misappropriating Culture Ministry's $396.6 thousand
In 2011, the film company of Sergey Solovyov received 25 million rubles ($396.6 thousand) from the Russian Ministry of Culture for making a Russian-French film starring Pierre Richard and Christopher Lambert. The film was never shot, but the money was not returned to the Ministry of Culture.
A criminal case was opened against Liniya Kino (Line of Cinema) LLC - Sergey Solovyov's studio – on the grounds of fraud in the implementation of a large-scale project called Elizaveta and Klodil, MK reports.
The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation accuses the film company of the famous Russian director (Assa, Black Rose Is an Emblem of Sorrow, Red Rose Is an Emblem of Love and about 20 other films) of misappropriating 25 million rubles ($396.6 thousand) allocated for the Russian-French film, which was supposed to star Pierre Richard and Christopher Lambert.
The upcoming shooting of Elizaveta and Klodil movie by the cult director became known more than ten years ago. The plot of the picture is about the fate of two girls from wealthy families, who in the early 20th century arrived in France, where they face revolutionary sentiments and young Lenin and Hitler on their way.
The project received the status of a national film, which implied financial support from the state, in connection with which in 2011 a corresponding state contract was concluded. In accordance with it, the film company was allocated 25 million rubles ($396.6 thousand), but the shooting, according to actor Alexander Bashirov, who got a role in the film, never began. First, it was prevented by the illness of Pierre Richard, Sergey Solovyov himself explained the situation, and then the picture-making came to a standstill due to an extremely lean, state subsidies notwithstanding, budget.
The Ministry of Culture won a trial on the violation of the deadline for submitting the footage against Solovyov’s film studio in the arbitration court. The ruling of the court, which ordered to collect from Liniya Kino LLC 9 million rubles ($142.7 thousand) for the delay in addition to 25 million rubles ($396.6 thousand) allocated for the film, reads that the film company violated several provisions of the state contract. In particular, it did not shoot the film, did not provide its copy for storage in the State Film Fund, did not make estimates and disrupted the deadline for fulfillment of the obligations.
However, in April 2018, the Ministry of Culture appealed to the Prosecutor General's Office with a request to verify the facts in the case of the return of budget funds allocated in the period from 2011 to 2014 for the film production to five movie companies with subsequent bringing of the guilty persons to justice. The appeal was preceded by a complete revision of the projects that received support by the Department of Cinematography of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation in the fiction film competition in recent years. As of mid-April, film companies Liniya Kino LLC, studio of Sergey Solovyov (film Elizaveta and Klodil), Arkada Entertainment LLC (film Pyos Ryzhy (Red Dog), In Motion LLC (film Obratnaya Storona Luny (The Far Side of the Moon), state unitary enterprise Film Studio Chechenfilm (film Toska (Sadness), and MV Cinema LLC (film Kriminalny Blyuz Dlya Saksofona (Criminal Blues for Saxophone), did not return the funds received earlier for shooting the films to the federal budget and did not pay the fines according to court decisions. Sergey Solovyov's film studio and other debtors, according to Head of the Department of Cinematography of the Ministry of Culture of Russia Olga Lyubimova, will no longer be able to rely on state support and take part in the competitions of the Ministry of Culture.