"Your representative forum has become very prestigious and popular with spectators, and is now an integral part of Russia's cultural life," Putin said.
"The festival recently developed numerous wonderful traditions - the wide scope of the competition program, sensational premieres, artistic and mutually enriching meetings of cinematographic figures with the audience."
"I am convinced that the artistic festival in Sochi will present people with outstanding interesting works by celebrated stars and talented debutants," Putin said.
This year, Kinotavr, the brainchild of producer Mark Rudinshtein, is led by a new team - Alexander Rodnyansky, the president of the STS Media holding, and Igor Tolstunov, the Deputy Director General of the STS TV Channel.
The organizers of the festival have brought some changes. Firstly, the new leadership cancelled the international part of the festival, involving foreign stars. Secondly, the intellectual component of the festival has been accentuated, as films will be discussed at roundtables at the end of each day. Besides, television coverage will also be more extensive.
The festival will continue till June 12.