Russian Police Detain and Fine Spanish Director for Breaching Immigration Rules. How to Shoot in Russia the Right Way

UPD: read the comment of Soar Production CEO Stanislav Solovkin in the bottom of the article.

The director of "Three Steps Above Heaven" Fernando González Molina and his crew were detained and fined in Russia's Nizhny Novgorod region for breaching immigration rules.

According to the police, cited by Interfax news agency, the crew's stated goal of entering Russia was different from the actual one -- making a documentary. According to the Russian law, the crew of four were fined for 2,000 rubles ($33) each for violating the rules of entering the country.

The crew's lawyer Alexey Vetoshkin was quoted as saying that the filmmakers were not deported from Russia. It's unclear whether they will stay to finish the project.

According to unconfirmed sources, the crew were going to shoot a documentary about gay people in the restricted-access city of Sarov. And it's a really bad idea without a proper business visa. 

Russian law can be complicated, and it's always good to have your local partner advise you when it comes to documents. Check out our article about Russian visa for film and TV crews and contact us if you're planning to shoot in Russia.

Here's what Soar Productions CEO Stanislav Solovkin has to say about it:

In fact, according to the Russian law, the type of visa has no link to TV or film production. An exception is when the shoot is ran directly by representative of broadcasting networks. By the way, online TV channels don't fall into this category. 

In other cases, a business or even a tourist visa is enough. Also, it's crucial that all permits for the shoot are in place. And even if you don't need  a special permit for a particular location, it's always good to notify the authorities.

A professional fixer always knows it, though.