Maria Lemesheva, the editor-in-chief of The KinoReporter magazine summed up the results of the year
The KinoReporter magazine, the former Russian version of The Hollywood Reporter, has been published under the new title for a year now. The editor-in-chief and editorial director of the magazine, a member of the Council of Russian Union of Rightholders Maria Lemesheva, in an interview with TASS summed up the magazine’s work, talked about how the audience changed, announced plans for 2020, and highlighted the most anticipated film premieres of the upcoming year.
– Maria, a year has passed since the rebranding of the magazine. How is the magazine doing without the Hollywood Reporter license?
– The magazine is doing great with the new title. Changes in positioning did not cause us any problems: The Hollywood Reporter turned into The KinoReporter, but remained the main magazine about cinematography in Russia.
Its main goals have not changed in fact: it continues to be a window for the reader into the world of cinema and social life, a barometer of the ever-changing film industry. As before, we write about films, about stars, about the filming process, about the main events in cinematography for wide public.
– And yet, how the public accepted the new brand? Was there an outflow or inflow of readers?
– The change of brand had positive impact. For a year and a half of The KinoReporter existence we did not lose our readers, but even increased our audience. Thus, in December 2018, we launched our website on a new platform, and in May 2019, by average performance, it exceeded the traffic of the previous THR website, at present there are over 17,000 unique visitors per day. Perhaps the reason for the growing popularity is that the focus of The KinoReporter is precisely Russian cinema, although, of course, we continue to write about world cinema.
Yes, we live in a time of globalization and the same informational context, but Russian public is still particularly interested in Russian cinema events, its present and future.
– What new trends in the development of the magazine could you highlight by the end of the year? How will you develop the magazine next year?
– We continue to develop in accordance with the strategy chosen during the rebranding process. We write about Russian cinema and, as far as we can, support domestic film industry, stimulate its development, popularize our best films in Russia and abroad. So to speak, we are making our modest contribution to films creation process. Our goal is to be not only a witness, an eyewitness to the processes, but also an accomplice in improving the industry. That’s why we founded the annual “Event of the Year” award, and in the framework of Moscow Film Festival, we present the “Advance” Award to aspiring filmmakers. As for the magazine’s plans for the new year, they will depend entirely on our readers. We carefully monitor our audience and changes in its requests, information priorities, therefore, on the pages of The KinoReporter you can read both about cinema and events in the world of music, theater and television. The KinoReporter is not just about news and reviews, we have many headings: someone will be interested in “Super New” about rising stars, someone in “Idea” – a story about the author’s ideas, someone in “Expedition” – spectacular photos. We are trying to find an approach to each and every reader and in the future we hope to publish more interviews with movie stars, more exclusive reports and original content.
– You have successfully organized The Week of Russian Cinema abroad a few times. What are the plans for 2020?
– We plan to continue the work. We will continue cooperation with our foreign colleagues and in 2020 will again present to public “The Days of Russian Cinema in India” and “The Days of Russian Cinema in Serbia” events. These programs have become a tradition. We have already held film screenings at the Indian International Film Festival five times; in 2019 they gathered more than 5,000 spectators. Believe me, this is a lot for this format. I hope that in the upcoming year other international events will be held. “The Days of Russian Cinema” create the image of our homeland, its culture, its history and the ability to establish professional contacts with a foreign audience. For example, this year’s Russian pavilion at IFFI-50 presented information on the opportunity of Russian-Indian co-production, talked about preferred locations for filming. It is likely that the festival has become a reference point for new international projects, for joint films.
– Can you tell about the most anticipated premieres in 2020?
– At the beginning of next year, the favorites of the award season will get to the Russian screens. For example, Sam Mendes’s military drama “1917”, which is already nominated for several Golden Globes, and Robert Eggers’ “Lighthouse” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Continuation or reboots of several cult franchises will be released next year: in February – “The Journey of Dr. Doolittle”, in May – “Scooby-Doo” and the next season of “The Fast and Furious”, in September – the reboot of “Ghostbusters”. And, of course, most of all there are hopes for the main festivals of the planet – Berlin, Cannes and Venice, which will certainly bring surprises next year. If we talk about Russian cinema, this winter three high-budget and therefore expected films will be released – “Invasion”, the sequel to “Attraction” by Fedor Bondarchuk, as well as “Coma” and “Ice-2”.
In the second half of the year we will watch Sochi and Vyborg premieres, and by the end of 2020 we will release two fantasy films for children and teenagers – Oleg Pogodin’s “The Little Humpbacked Horse” and the sequel to “The Last Knight”.
– Judging by the AKAR, the press has suffered serious losses in advertising. Have you ever thought of transferring to digital?
– Digital transformation is a problem facing any business nowadays. And we solve it, as far as I know, quite successfully. As I have already said, The KinoReporter is widely represented in social networks, it has its own website, which publishes both materials from the magazine and unique content. However, we are not going to abandon the printed version and completely go “digital”. On the contrary, this year the circulation of The KinoReporter grew to 50,000 copies. We are still one of those monthly magazines that you can hold in your hands. And I believe in the future of the print press. Despite all the challenges of the time, we will actually read the printed press, I think, for a very long time.