Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Filming in Russia

With regard to filming in Russia, Michael Craig first worked on a sprawling BBC drama in St Petersburg twenty years ago. We filmed everywhere from morgues, to hospitals to the main police headquarters and even the prison, as well as locations all over the city. With a crew and actors of 140 or so the main problem was finding enough food to feed them each day over a three month shooting schedule when food was not easily available in those days. No one could say it was easy but then this was the early 90s. The last day of shooting coincided with the storming of the White House in Moscow, so conditions were not ideal.  However despite all the problems the film got made and was within budget. Things have changed a lot since then.

When Michael Craig first moved to Moscow and was invited to visit Mosfilm, the studio was in quite a dilapidated state and morale was very low. A year or so ago he was invited to the Mosfilm studio as part of a delegation of diplomats to view the studios with the aim of showcasing Mosfilm and its facilities. Karen Shakhnazarov, the Russian director had been charged with the revamping and modernisation of the studios a few years previous. The transformation was astounding. The grounds had been neatly laid out, new buildings had appeared and old ones had been completely  renovated and updated. The sound studios (the biggest in Europe) had been updated to the highest standards and a whole 19th century Russian town had been built as a set in the grounds of the Mosfilm complex. It displays a commitment to and understanding of what a foreign film company would require to make a film here in Russia. 

As a director, Shakhnazarov set himself the task of outfitting Mosfilm with equipment and standards which he himself would want for any film he would make. With this in mind he went about the task of changing Mosfilm into a world class film making facility. The transformation of Mosfim is indicative of the new conditions which make it a great place to make films


Since that time Michael Craig has been involved in several large scale productions in Moscow as well working with numerous smaller companies and organisations in Moscow. Michael Craig founded Copernicus Films which has made eight documentary films independently in Moscow, an opera and interviews and journalistic projects.  With the right guidance and support anybody can have a positive experience making films in Russia in a stable environment. Michael Craig and Copernicus Films's twenty years working here in Russia, making contacts and establishing a sound business base has given him the insights and experience to offer such a service and benefit those companies or individuals wanting to come here and shoot a film project. No project is too large or too small for us and advice can be tailored to individual projects as required.