Dubbed the “MosFilm Maniac” by liberal media, it appears a so-called movie director discovered nothing from the Harvey Weinstein case or the latest allegations of office harassment in Moscow, as a type of ‘MeToo’ involves Russia. Alongside an upcoming second peak in Covid-19 circumstances, the Russian capital seems to be experiencing one other surge in its equal to the Western ‘MeToo’ movement, as many actresses have come forward to talk about their experiences of harassment at the hands of fledgling director Rodion Belkov.The floodgates were opened once again with the help of social media, the impetus of this case being a series of Facebook posts made by the actress Maria Rusanova, who has worked both behind the camera and in front of it. She has been an assistant director and a casting director and is well grounded in the conduct that is expected in the industry. Her story has been featured extensively on TV Dohzd, the liberal opposition leaning outlet that coined the ‘MosFilm Maniac’ term. Rusanova wrote about her experience of attending a screen test which was conducted by Belkov at the famous MosFilm studios in Moscow. The institution is among the largest and oldest film studios in Europe, and is considered Russia’s reply to Hollywood. It was first established in November of 1920 and its output boasts many of the critically acclaimed Soviet-era movies, starting from works by Andrei Tarkovsky to Sergei Eisenstein (who’re broadly thought-about to be the best Soviet administrators). Also on rt.com At first, #MeToo did not take off in Russia – can it transcend Moscow’s liberal circles on the second try? Castings and display exams are an integral a part of an actor’s profession and they’ll usually undergo a number of rounds of auditions earlier than being provided an element in a movie. Generally, the performer is given a scene or chosen strains and actions and instructed to carry out them in entrance of a digital camera to see if they’re appropriate for the function. MosFilm has a number of studio rooms out there to lease for castings.However, this was not a standard display take a look at, as Rusanova remembers, talking completely to RT: “It is normal to ask to take photos but red lights went off when [Belkov] said that you have to get naked and he and his assistant blocked the door with a table.” Rusanova had intuitively felt that one thing wasn’t proper as quickly as she entered the studio however the state of affairs moved quickly downhill when she refused to take away her garments.Belkov flew right into a rage when she wouldn’t comply and even tried to bodily strike her. He threatened her, saying, “you will do whatever I tell you, or I will add you to the blacklist and you will never be allowed to [work with] Mosfilm again.”Luckily, Rusanova managed to flee from the studio room and ran straight to the Mosfilm safety desk to ask for assist. She explains that “generally they are the ones who deal with any problems.” MosFilm is positioned on a closed-off territory and official permits are wanted to enter the grounds, so they have a tendency to easy out any safety points internally. Also on rt.com Lazy Western caricatures claiming Russian media is overwhelmingly ‘state-run’ are old-fashioned – the web is the place it’s at now However, when Rusanova appealed to the safety desk for assist she was instructed: “It’s a good thing that you ran away and you should consider yourself lucky as sometimes people pay money to be shot [on camera] in this studio. You’re a lucky girl, go home.” When requested to go along with Rusanova to verify the studio she had simply fled from and to assist her to name the police, they refused.At a loss about what to do subsequent, Rusanova determined to make a put up on-line to warn others about her ordeal. Since making her feedback publicly out there, a whole lot of ladies have left replies detailing their shared disagreeable experiences of working with Belkov. The girls stated that lots of them had been requested for intimate photographs, had been invited to audition in their very own residences and had been usually harassed by the director.The large response was a shock for Rusanova as she explains that she did “not expect that it would go so viral, that there would be so many responses, I’m basically not a confrontational person so I didn’t plan for this at all.”When requested to touch upon his inappropriate behaviour, Belkov categorically denied the harassment fees. “This is all fraud and a lie,” he stated in an interview with the web publication Ridus. He went on to say that Rusanova wouldn’t go away the pavilion when she was requested and that “she began to behave inappropriately, insulted the employees of the film company, grabbed other people’s things, security documentation, passes to Mosfilm.” Also on rt.com Your goals are a continuation of your actuality in line with new, large examine Many within the skilled neighborhood don’t contemplate Belkov worthy of the title “director” as his profession has amounted to a brief movie in a scholar competitors and this “degree film” that he has supposedly been trying to finish for the final ten years. How then did any person so insignificant handle to lure so many ladies into his casting lure? Rusanova explains it was solely later that she discovered about the truth that he had beforehand been capturing porno scenes and light-weight erotica and that other than that, he by no means accomplished any substantial movie.“He always tried to [take] pictures with famous actresses so that if you Google him it appears like he has connections,” she says. Officially, Belkov had taken some quick programs on the Russian State Institute of Cinematography however he by no means studied there full time, but he would shoot women beneath the guise of capturing a “student” movie or a movie for his “degree.”Rusanova has over 3,000 Facebook associates and says that Belkov reached out to about 1,000 of them. “Basically, if he wrote something stupid, like come to tantric yoga or to a porno casting they would refuse. So later he upgraded and started to invite people to his ‘degree film’ a film he has been trying to complete over the last 10 years” she explains.The actress additionally hints in regards to the psychological points at play and refers to an interview by Dozhd during which different women come ahead with their tales. “If previously he showed restraint with his urges now he doesn’t hide it anymore … so that’s a big change.” She goes on to elucidate that it isn’t simply Belkov who’s in charge right here, as “he has a big team behind him and while he would be shooting he’d have another guy writing to new applicants encouraging them to come to the castings.”Belkov would do paid display exams to place in the direction of an “actor’s base” alongside holding castings for his “degree film,” which was what Rusanova was invited to audition for. With her personal case, Rusanova struggles to straight name it harassment as she had sense sufficient to refuse him but when the identical state of affairs was posed to younger and inexperienced actresses, who can be dazzled by Belkov’s name-dropping and guarantees of greatness, one can nicely think about the outcomes. Also on rt.com Berlin Film Festival scrapping ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ awards in bid to be extra ‘gender-sensitive’ Aside from being paid by novice actors and actresses for filming the “actor’s base” display exams, the place Belkov will get his revenue from is a thriller. It has been prompt that he sells the erotic footage and bare photos that he takes as porn for the worldwide market, however it’s unclear who precisely is behind him or who helps him. According to his profile on Kinonews.ru, he hasn’t directed something of notice since 2018, his final work being a supposed thriller known as “Клюква: Vaccinium macrocarpon” (Cranberry: Vaccinium macrocarpon), clips of which couldn’t be discovered.Rusanova reiterates that her “reason for posting about this experience was to avoid many young girls or just inexperienced women from going through this, I had a reply from a woman who was like 35 or 40 who works in public relations or a different field and she just wanted to try herself as an actor.” This explicit lady was requested by Belkov to carry stockings and “sexy stuff” to the casting which she did as she didn’t know any higher.Rumors about actors having to sleep with administrators to get forward have normalized the expectations surrounding such behaviour and a few women will voluntarily shoot bare as they suppose that this can cause them to the prospect of a lifetime. “It’s not normal to think like this,” Rusanova says. She additionally expresses how laborious it’s to go to the police in issues like this as Belkov nonetheless has bare photographs of plenty of these girls in query.It is a catch-22 that’s paying homage to American mannequin Emily Ratajkowski’s case in opposition to a photographer who printed a nonconsensual picture ebook of her nude photos from an outdated and really dodgy photoshoot that she did when she first started modelling. Thankfully, Rusanova has no bare photographs hanging over her head and so she wasn’t afraid to talk out. Also on rt.com Is ‘cis white male’ a slur? William Shatner thinks so, triggering rage of woke Twitterati who used the time period in opposition to him Rusanova wrote an official letter to Mosfilm explaining her predicament however has acquired no official apology or clarification past the remark of their conducting an “internal review.” They have denied any data of Belkov’s misdemeanours by telling her that “all we know is that he is someone who rents a studio and that he pays the rent on time.” According to Rusanova, Belkov was renting the most affordable of the out there studio rooms to carry his castings in.Her subsequent step is to proceed to tell the inventive neighborhood about these issues and to probably do one thing on Instagram. This technique has confirmed efficient earlier than, like with the “#Mnye_Nuzhna _Glasnost” (#I_Need_Openness) hashtag that arose in June of final yr and was used to carry consciousness to the problems of home violence and informal sexual harassment that ladies should cope with each day. Rusanova plans to do one thing much like hyperlink the tales of the ladies who’ve been flooding her inbox with their very own experiences of harassment over the previous few weeks since she made that preliminary put up. She hopes to supply a platform and assist community to those that have suffered and in flip make the business a safer atmosphere to work in.At this level we’re used to listening to about harassment circumstances involving large names and other people in energy however it’s much more regarding when any person with no identify to talk of can get away with such indecent behaviour. As Rusanova put it herself in a follow-up Facebook put up, “My story is not so scary, the scary thing is that there are so many of them, that is what you should remember.”Like this story? Share it with a buddy!The statements, views and opinions expressed on this column are solely these of the writer and don’t essentially symbolize these of RT.