John Schreiner

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Vice President, Theatre Development. Russia, CIS, Middle East, and India, IMAX Corporation.

How long have you been in Russia, what brought you here?

I first started coming to Russia in 2002 as IMAX was entering the market at that time and our first theatre opened in 2003. Due to the success of that theatre and many others that we opened, our business here grew to be the third largest market for us globally and by 2011 we needed a team on the ground to manage our continuing operations here. Hence I relocated here with my family in October 2011.

What, in your experience, are the good and bad parts of living in Moscow on a personal level?

Moscow has changed a lot in the four years since I have lived here and in many ways for the better. From my perspective there is lots for the kids to do and the city has spent a lot on what I would call ‘social infrastructure’ – better parks, activities and the like. This provides many options to get out of the house and the mall with the family year round if one is interested. There are also lots of live music and concerts to attend from well known acts such as Elton John as well as a never ending supply of world class classical music if one is interested in that.

I think two of the biggest frustrations about living in Russia would be the current outflow of expatriates in the country which has seen many friends relocate elsewhere and the difficulty of learning the language – I speak fluent Mandarin Chinese and the complexity of Russian still gets me! I have made some strides over the years, it is tough to learn a language and have a family life with three young children (who thankfully are bi-lingual in English and Russian!).

How do you find doing business in Russia?

This is a bit of a challenging question to answer right now as it is a tough business environment overall right now, but I do really enjoy working with my clients here and have a very good rapport with them. Over the past decade, our business grew dramatically and we had very strong results in the market. For the most part since the devaluation of the Rouble, I have been able to work together with them on a plan for the future cooperation taking into account the current economic conditions. I think Russian business people are very pragmatic and we all worked together to make the best of a very challenging business landscape.