Publicly, the "Entertainment Summit" has remained a bilateral love fest. The American participants have steered public presentations away from concrete issues of U.S.-Soviet cooperation in the making and distribution of films and TV programs.
Behind the scenes, however, some members of the Soviet delegation have voiced complaints about the lack of serious business discussions during the weeklong series of meetings with representatives of the American film and TV establishments. At least one meeting has been set to address those concerns.
The difference between the public and private summit became clear Monday during a two-hour public session at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood.
Twice, discussion leader Sydney Pollack dismissed questions from the audience about U.S.-Soviet co-productions, and the morning's only suggestion for cooperation came from a member of the Soviet delegation.
Director Eldar Shengelaya said that Americans and Soviets should arrange for showings of each other's films on television. He said his one previous visit to the United States, in 1980, when one of his films was shown, did little to help interest Americans in Soviet film.
"Not a single film-industry representative was in the room" for the screening, he said.
The audience of Monday's entertainment industry leaders applauded Shengelaya's suggestion, but there was no discussion from anyone present as to how to implement the proposal.
Significantly, when one question was raised about joint film productions, Pollack dismissed it--saying the meeting was not the place to discuss business.
"There'll be a time to do that," Pollack said. "There's another time when I think we should talk about practical aspects."
Summit organizer Mark Gerzon said that the summit is beginning "a process that will continue in New York and in Moscow" toward business deals between U.S. film makers and the Soviets. "We're planting the seeds right now, and we won't know if they will take root until we go to Moscow."
He said a "small, closed meeting" has been scheduled for Wednesday between the Soviets and some leading entertainment executives, including director Pollack and David Puttnam, chief executive officer of Columbia Pictures.
Director Sergei Mikaelyan of Leningrad said that he was pleased with the progress of the summit. The meetings are "laying groundwork for future cooperation," he said. The main obstacles between cooperation probably will be financial and technical, he predicted.
The Soviet delegation has received "several offers" from American film makers but no decisions have been reached, Mikaelyan said.
But some members of the Soviet delegation say they have had little opportunity to discuss business with Americans.
Actor/director Rolan Bykov said in an interview that he has been unable to discuss specific film projects during the summit. He said, for instance, that he has not been allowed to show videocassettes of three of his films to any Americans during the weeklong series of meetings.
Clips of some of the Soviets' films were shown at the Directors Guild session, and more were shown Monday afternoon at the American Film Institute.
Meanwhile, Sunday evening's session with the Caucus of Television Producers, Writers & Directors turned out to be one of the livelier and more passionate of the summit.
The foreign guests charged the American mass media with fostering distrust between Soviets and Americans by relying on false images of Soviets and Soviet life. They aimed their most heated comments at ABC's controversial "Amerika" miniseries.
Film critic Victor Dyomin called the nearly 15-hour program "disgraceful"--not because of its depiction of a Soviet takeover of the U.S. but because it showed Americans as dispirited and supplicating. ABC and the makers of "Amerika," he said, "humiliated their own country" with a program that demonstrated a "pathological" desire to portray a debased nation.
TV commentator Vladimir Posner said that the miniseries should not be shown in the Soviet Union because it will serve only "to promote hatred of Americans."