PRODUCING IN RUSSIA: NAVIGATING INTERNATIONAL CO-PRODUCTIONS FROM IP TO DELIVERY. ROSKINO CONFERENCE AT AFM 2019 On November 10, ROSKINO in association with the Producers Without Borders held a conference on Producing in Russia: Navigating International Co-Productions from IP to Delivery.The AFM panel in Santa Monica featured top industry professionals, including Steven Beer, legal counsel and managing partner of Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassallo P.C. representing leading entertainment industry content providers; Steven Adams, producer, President of Alta Global Media, former executive producer of the French visual effects company BUF (Avatar, Life of Pi, Thor) and partner of Buffalo 8 productions. The event was presented by ROSKINO CEO, TV1 anchor Katya Mtsitouridze and Co-Chair of the PGA International Committee, Producers Without Borders founder Kayvan Mashayekh.Kayvan Mashayekh, Producers Without Borders founderThe most exciting thing about the conference was being able to educate the people at the AFM about the potential for storytelling in Russia, to bring forth the more positive aspects of our relationship and find a common denominator in storytelling. In fact, the matter is that in today’s world we are looking for a way to connect with our audiences through a relationship with the content you are creating. And Russia is pregnant with so many stories, from its history and its past, that a lot of people outside of Russia do not know about. It is a great way to build a bridge and connect to new audiences and find a way to work with Russian counterparts in finding stories to tell. At the end of the day, it is all about trust and working with partners you trust. ROSKINO is a company that goes back for over 95 years. All this time it has been around, promoting Russian cinema around the world. And it has a very high profile due to the efforts of the new team. It is an ideal base to start creating an avenue of trust between the countries. International productions will start using the recent rebate system and find a way to establish contacts and connections that turn out to be a real thing, then technical and legal issues be sorted out.’It was during the AFM that the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree on ‘cinema organizations providing services for international audio-visual content production on Russian territory’ that allows international partners to get back up to 30% or even 40% of production costs incurred in Russia. The panellists discussed the new film subsidy system in much detail, dwelling on co-production options from the perspective of the Russian version of rebates.The legendary producer Avi Lerner, the person behind Rambo and The Expendables franchise, was a guest of honour at the panel. He shared some personal insights on security arrangements for future contracts:‘In my experience, the best way of dealing with financial issues in Russia and other countries with volatile economies such as Bulgaria or Romania is to get a bank to step in to leverage the project. If there is a bank with real money things tend to work out. Not the government, with all due respect for the Russian, Bulgarian, or Rumanian public institutions. I don’t believe the government should play a role. A bank should step in, get the money and transfer it back to the global producer. Then the project can take advantage of the rebate and make a movie for $6 million instead of $10 million. Especially since the rouble is coming down, which is another advantage. That’s the way you should do it, only based on real money.’The discussion touched upon several relevant issues such as the characteristic aspects of filming in Russia, the experience of international co-productions, and providing appealing content for global audiences.Steven Adams, Producer, Alta Global Media President:‘I thought the conference was really exciting. The idea of an incentive in Russia is, I think, going to send reverberations around the world. It will be interesting to see how banks react to it, how the studios and networks react to it, and how production companies move forward. But I think all these questions will be answered in a very short time. The initiative is interesting and we are soon going to discover how it works out in Russia. Under the current system only the Russian partners can get subsidized, not the international studios. But there are different ways to look at it. If you get a rebate you can either lower your budget and put the money into the budget, or the Russian holding company can disperse the money to a foreign partner or a studio.’Steven Beer, legal counsel, managing partner at Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassallo P.C:‘I work on a lot of co-productions and I was very pleased to participate in the panel. The new production incentive opens up tremendous opportunities, it has put Russia among the top jurisdictions for co-productions. The tax incentive means an ability to collaborate with qualified production companies for worldwide projects. So, the decree is a very significant step to become more competitive with other countries that have tax incentives. Of course, the culture of collaboration needs to change, including the ability for international financing, so that banks can leverage the tax incentives and cash flow the productions. That’s something that needs to come down the line and I’m looking forward to playing a role in that.’The tax rebate system is only a first step as there are also a number of legal issues to bring to a common denominator. Alexey Ageyev, Executive Vice President for Scripted Content at TNT network, was most enthusiastic to find a solution:‘International talents are normally entitled to royalties, that is, to a percentage of box office revenues. In Russia the system only works for A-level stars, and the same rule applies to directors. In the US, on the other hand, everyone has to comply with certain rules that are very strict on certain guidelines, with the director entitled to future royalties under contract. In Russia there is no legal system to regulate this issue and it is very hard to get it into contract agreements. In order to solve the problem one has to go for an intermediate company which is a signatory to the Guild and has the right to make deals with the Guilds and manage intellectual rights for actors and directors. At this point we have to mirror the same conditions the intermediary promises to the Guilds, and it is not totally clear how this mechanism is going to work. But in order to set up efficient international co-productions we’ll need legal advice and experts that would be able to reconcile the global and the Russian content production systems.’All panellists agreed that the implementation of the recent rebate initiative of the Russian government depends largely on building a relationship of trust between the future partners and the selection of qualified professionals for joint projects. At this point the panellists thanked ROSKINO CEO Katya Mtsitouridze for her long-term commitment and consistent efforts to keep the global film community informed about the recent updates in rules, regulations, and possibilities available in Russia.Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO‘Russia has unique filming traditions, unparalleled locations, top talent, and world class productions qualified to take part in international projects of any scale. Selecting the right partner while filming in a new destination is one of the key factors of success, or otherwise. I know of many co-production projects that ended up never being released. For instance, the amazing Tulpan by Sergey Dvortsevoy, winner of Un Certain Regard section in Cannes that never got a theatrical release due to an unresolved issue between the Russian and the German producers. Today the comprehensive database of ROSKINO includes over 100 Russian productions of all sizes and specializations. We go on monitoring the local market and are always in touch with the Ministry of Culture in order to keep our international colleagues updated on all Russian film-related news during important festivals and markets.’The conference was attended by 150 industry professionals from around the globe, including Russian and international producers, sales agents, distributors, investors, representatives of insurance companies and trust funds.The AFM industry program includes a variety of conferences, panels, workshops and presentations aimed at facilitating project development. They cover every aspect of content creation from financing and production to post production, marketing, and distribution. AFM 2019 identified several main trends that are likely to be relevant for the global industry over the next few years, including an increase in streaming platforms and the launch of rebate systems in new territories around the globe.Photomaterials are on the following link More info:ROSKINO Press RelationsNatalia Adamova+7 926 222 68 firstname.lastname@example.org
RUSSIAN PRESENCE AT THE AFM AMERICAN FILM MARKET The anniversary 40th edition of the American Film Market (AFM) is taking place in Los Angeles (USA) from November 6 to November 13, 2019. Every year over 7.000 industry professionals from more than 80 countries gather in Santa Monica to attend the market and its side programs. AFM is one of the most important film events of the world and the biggest market of North America. International producers, buyers, distributors, legal advisors, and investors participate in conferences, panels, special sessions and presentations.For the 9th time this year Roskino supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation partners with the AFM market.On November 10 Roskino jointly with the Producers Guild of America and the Producers Without Borders association is hosting a panel on Producing in Russia: Navigating International Co-Productions from IP to Delivery. The participants are going to discuss international cooperation in film and TV along with key issues and perspectives of co-productions. What kind of content has the best chance to travel across borders to attract global audiences? Which challenges and restrictions should international producers anticipate while planning to film in Russia? What are the incentives Russia is going to offer to international producers filming in the country? What is the best way to attract large scale productions? These and other hot issues that are becoming ever more relevant for the global film and TV industry as the Russian market expands will be brought to the table at the conference moderated by Roskino CEO and TV1 presenter Katya Mtistouridze and Kayvan Mashayekh, founder of the Producers Without Borders association and Co-Chairman of the International committee of the Producers Guild of America.Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO:‘The new incentives for international producers prepared by the Ministry of Culture are reframing Russia as an interesting destination for film and TV content as well as streaming platform series. The new system has to be in line with the global standards to become fully operational. The panel will allow us to discuss all the advantages and pitfalls of the Russian version of rebates, or the system of partial refund of the budget spent in production on the Russian territory. The issue is subject to a lively debate.’The list of panelists includes Steven Beer, entertainment attorney and managing partner at Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassallo, Steven Adams, producer, president at Alta Entertainment, and Alexander Rodnyansky, producer, co-owner of Non-Stop Productions and founder of AR Content.Roskino – Russian Cinema Worldwide Umbrella StandThe Roskino – Russian Cinema Worldwide at the 40th edition of AFM brings together 17 Russian film companies. The booth at the Loews Santa Monica hotel presents the updated version of DOORS international travelling film market featuring over 40 Russian projects of 20182019. The list of participants traditionally includes All Media Company, Planeta Inform Group,Mirsand Ltd. owned by Timur Bekmambetov, Mosfilm Studios, and other major national producers and distributors.All Media Company is selling Timofey Zhalnin’s thriller Coupled that follows a young couple lost in the vast Siberian forest and The Frenchman, a period drama by Andrey Smirnov, homage to one of the first Soviet dissidents Alexander Ginzburg. The catalogue also features The Hero, a secret service thriller directed by Karen Oganesyan, starring Alexander Petrov, Vladimir Mashkov, and Svetlana Khodchenkova.Zhanna Shakhshaeva, All Media Head of international Department:‘All Media Company is a regular at the Roskino AFM stand, and 2019 is no exception. Our line-up includes several new titles such as Coupled, the new award-winning thriller by Timofey Zhalnin, as well as The Frenchman by Andrey Smirnov and The Hero, a recent national and international action thriller directed by Karen Oganesyan. At the market we hope to finalize the agreements for several remaining territories.’The Santa Monica slate of Planeta Inform Group features Coma by Nikita Argunov, Robo by Sarik Andreasyan, The Lenin Factor by Vladimir Khotinenko, and the recent Kalashnikov biopic by Konstantin Buslov.Anastasia Bankovskaya, Planeta Inform International Sales Director:‘This year’s edition of AFM is marked by market premieres of Coma directed by Nikita Argunov and Robo, a family adventure thriller by Sarik Andreasyan. Both titles have generated quite a buzz among global buyers and we hope to cover the key territories.Other highlights are two period dramas slated for national release this fall, namely The Lenin Factor by Vladimir Khotinenko and the recent Mikhail Kalashnikov biopic by Konstantin Buslov.At the moment we are following up on negotiations started in Toronto with Middle East, the UK, Italy, Spain, China, Korea, Japan, and the US’.Mirsand Ltd distributors is selling Fau by Dmitry Kiselev, a new Timur Bekmambetov project currently in production. The plot is based on a true story of a valiant Soviet pilot of WWII who managed to escape Nazi captivity hi-jacking an enemy plane and bringing along a top secret German weapon. Hitler had no chance of winning the war without it.Valeria Dobrolyubova, Mirsand Ltd. Head of Sales:‘We are proud to present Fau, a new project by The Spacewalker producer Timur Bekmambetov directed by Dmitry Kiselev. The creative duo undertakes another study of the nature of true, unrelenting heroism. We are sure that international buyers are going to do the story full justice.’More info:ROSKINO Press RelationsNatalia Adamova+7 926 222 68 email@example.com
RUSSIAN FILMS AT THE 63rd BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL The 63rd BFI London Film Festival (BFI LFF), one of the top global film events, finished on October 13. This year’s programme took place from 2 to 13 October.ROSKINO endorsed by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation supported the Russian presence in London for the 8th time during this edition.The line-up showcased 229 feature titles by acknowledged and aspiring filmmakers from all over the world, films that were set to entertain and inspire as well as tackle the urgent issues of our time. This year’s BFI LFF edition included 28 world premieres, 12 international premieres, and 28 European premieres with over 60% of films across all sections from a female director or co-director.The winner of the Best Film award in the main competition was Monos by Alejandro Landes from Brazil. The jury was headed by director Wash Westmoreland whose latest film Earthquake Bird was also screened in this year’s event.The Sutherland award of the first feature competition went to Atlantics, a drama by the actress, director and writer Mati Diop created in French-Senegalese-Belgian co-production.This section’s jury was led by Austrian director Jessica Hausner whose Little Joe was also playing at LFF.To complement the screenings, the programme featured a selection of industry events including discussions, panels, public talks, and workshops.For the 8th time this year ROSKINO partnered with LFF to promote Russian films and advise the festival programmers on the recent developments of the Russian film scene.The Russian contribution to this edition’s line-up provided four remarkable entries. Beanpole by Kantemir Balagov, an Alexander Rodnyansky and Sergey Melkumov production, enjoyed a great success in London. Previously the drama had received the Un Certain Regard Best Director Award and the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Film in Cannes. The title had also featured in the prestigious Contemporary World Cinema section at TIFF. It is scheduled for a North American release and selected as the Russian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards.Alexander Rodnyansky, Beanpole producer:‘The UK premiere of Beanpole took place at Curzon Soho, one of the oldest theatres of London. It was fully packed by a wonderful public that made possible a beautiful Q&A session. The British press of the film was amazing, including a highly positive review by the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, one of the most influential critics of the world, who gave our film the rarest maximum grade of five stars. All of this generated a lot of buzz in the run-up to the UK theatrical release that launched right after the LFF. Beanpole had been acquired by MUBI, one of the top independent film distributors. As always, we are grateful to Roskino for the worldwide support of Russian films at top global events.'The LFF shorts section included Good Heart, an animation by Evgenia Zhirkova, and Cunningham, a documentary 3D biopic by Alla Kovgan celebrating the legendary American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham.The brilliant US-based Russian director Kirill Mikhanovsky showcased Give Me Liberty, a poetic and dramatic look on the three generations of an emigrant Russian family and their daily struggles in Milwaukee, a story full of genuine empathy and emotion. The world premiere had taken place at Sundance, during the most important independent film event of the world. In May, 2019 the title had also featured in the Directors’ Fortnight line-up in Cannes where the press conference set in the Russian Pavilion by ROSKINO attracted over 200 global media professionals and led to great reviews. The London festival continued along the same lines. The story of freedom and love against all odds was an instant success both with the professionals and the general public.Kirill Mikhanovsky, Give Me Liberty director‘I was very happy to learn that my film would be presented in London with the support of ROSKINO. I am really impressed by the work of Katya Mtsitouridze’s Roskino team which is doing a great job of promoting Russian film trends worldwide, especially when it takes going beyond the national frontiers and dealing with films such as Give Me Liberty which was produced in the USA. On the other hand, it is no wonder since Katya was among the first ones to see our no budget film and fall in love with it. She appreciated the story long before it was applauded in Cannes and was instrumental in bringing the whole cast and crew to the festival. I am forever grateful to Roskino for taking part in the festival and theatrical success of our film.’Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO‘This year’s LFF edition was fantastic, best films were brought here from festivals around the world, and the selection was amazing. Our entries profiled very well, they blended perfectly into the global context of films tackling the most urgent issues of our society. The humanistic focus of these excellent titles contributed to their success in London. ROSKINO has been supporting the Russian presence at LFF for eight years and this season has been one of the best. We are in a perfect position to go on showcasing the latest and brightest Russian projects at the AFM in LA.’More info:ROSKINO Press RelationsNatalia Adamova+7 926 222 68 firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalia Meschaninova's interview for 'Variety'