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Comedy Film Studios Laughing All the Way to the Bank

The number of film studios eligible to apply for state financing from Fond Kino has been increased from 11 to 13 with places granted purely based on viewing figures, a news report said Monday.

Strela and Enjoy Movies are the latest additions to  list, having enjoyed success at the box office last year, pulling in 5 million and 7 million viewers respectively, with titles like "Mothers" and "Karlson," Kommersant reported.

The two studios are now able to apply for a share of 1.5 billion rubles ($46 million) in subsidies from Fond Kino, even though they didn't receive a single point on the Professional Grade of Films system, which appraises films based on the awards nominations they receive.

In April 2012, then-Fond Kino director Sergei Tolstikov justified increasing funding for studios that make low-brow comedies, saying that viewers pay their own money and if they like films such as 'Mothers' and 'Karlson,' then studios need to continue making them.

A further subsidy of 400 million rubles has been made available to film studios that have not made this years list. Meanwhile, 850 million rubles in standard loans and 150 million in loans, repayable in proportion to eventual profit, have been made available to other studios.

State funding of film studios had been described as ineffective by former Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov. In 2010-2011, studios were required to return 5 percent of their income to Kino Fond, but last year financing increased by 25 percent.

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