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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Moscow's Central Studios of Documentary Film At Risk.

In yesterday's copy of  the newspaper Вечерняя Москва the main headline was about the terrible state that the 'Central Studio of Documentary Films' has found itself in. While in the 1990s the archives, phonoteques and soundteques of the studios managed to be salvaged by the studios staff, this priceless archive has come under a sustained assault in the past few years from which seem to be a number of anonymous organizations involved in raider capitalist practices. The newspaper reports how the studios original premises in Likhovy Pereulok were turned over to the Russian Orthodox Church in 2005. They then were situated at the RIA Novosti offices and in 2009 were given a new building in 2009. However, they were not the owners of this building and since then matters have gone from bad to worse.  The owners of the building - a Car Repair Centre of the Ministry of State Property- seem to have let out the building to some shady organizations which have hassled and made the work of the studio impossible. The situation has got so fraught that it almost turned violent  at one point. The unique archives which include, for example, a copy of the Oscar winning documentary film Разгром немецких войск под Москвой (Moscow Strikes Back) are under threat of being destroyed. According to Vitaly Mansky, the documentary filmmaker, the tragedy happened in 2005 when the studio was thrrown out of its premises in Likhovy Pereulok where a large documentary centre could have been built, inviting other documentary studios there and where a documentary film festival could have taken place. Mansky calls what happened a crime and that the fact that the studio is still somehow alive today is for him a miracle. Although commercial interests seem intent on dealing the final blow while the bureaucrats vilely utter their formulas. A sad tale of how church cupidity has added one more blow to the world of culture.

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