Any concept presented to a viewer indirectly, allegorically and correctly interpreted by him is closer and dearer to the viewer because it involves his own creativity» Andrey Tarkovsky


RUSSIAN PAVILION ACHIEVEMENTS AT 70th CANNES FILM FESTIVAL AND FILM MARKET The Russian delegation at the Cannes Film Festival was managed by ROSKINO with the generous support of the Russian Ministry of Culture and Moscow City Council,in a strategic partnership with PJSC Aeroflot – Russian Airlines. For the tenth year in a row, the Russian Pavilion has represented our country at the Cannes Film Festival and Marché du Film market, serving as a unified info center for Russian filmmakers and providing a broad-based platform for the promotion of Russian cinema in the international arena. Over the course of eight days, the Russian Pavilion hosted ten different events attended by over 4,000 people, ranging from feature- and short-filmpresentations to briefings on the most relevant industry issues to press conferences held by the filmmakers selected for the main competition. Amongthe 75 leading professionals involved in the Pavilion activities were Vyacheslav Telnov Head of the Cinema Department of the Russian Ministry of Culture;Anton Malyshev, Chief Operating Officer of the Cinema Fund; Vladimir Filippov, Deputy Director for the Moscow Department of Culture; Len Blavatnik,founder of the Access Industries conglomerate; Alexander Rodnyansky, producer of Andrey Zvyagintsev's "Loveless"; Rafael Minasbekyan, KIT Group ofCompanies CEO; Pavel Stepanov, Central Partnership CEO; Dzhanik Fayziev, KIT Studio General Producer; Ruben Dishdishyan, Mars Media General Producer;Vadim Vereschagin, distribution director at Central Partnership Sales House; directors Pavel Lungin, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Alexander Mindadze, Kantemir Balagov,and Eva Lanska; producers Sergey Selyanov, Alexander Akopov, Igor Ugolnikov, Dmitriy Rudovskiy, Lev Karakhan, Alexander Shapiro, Sam Klebanov, MilaRozanova, George Shabanov, Svetlana Kuchmaeva, Ilya Stewart, and Alex Marx; Peter Shepotinnik, director of communications for the Moscow IFF;Asya Kolodizhner, Deputy Director of Communications; Fyodor Sosnov, Head of Analytical Department at Cinema Fund; Larisa Yusipova, editor-in-chief atthe Cinema Fund; investor and producer David Gigauri; and the most prominent Russian film critics and journalists such as Anton Dolin, Valeriy Kichin Larisa Malukova, Andrei Plakhov, Ivan Kudryavtsev, Nina Romodanovskaya, Susanna Alperina, Yana Podzuban, Denis Kataev, Evgeniya Tirdatova, Denis Ruzaev,Kira Altman, as well as their colleagues from abroad. The international presence at the Russian Pavilion conferences and presentations included Jérôme Paillard, Executive Director of the Marché du Film;Kirk D'Amico, General Vice Chairperson at IFTA; Arie Bohrer, Head of Advisory Board, European Film Commission Network; Valérie Lépine-Karnik, CEO ofFilm France, the French Film Commission; Michel Plazanet, Deputy Director for European and International Affairs at CNC; Marijana Stoisits, Vice-chairwoman for AFCI and Head of the Vienna Film Commission; Sigmund Elias Holm, Vice-chairman of AFCI (Association of Film CommissionersInternational) and Head of the West-Norwegian Film Commission; Hollywood producer and director Brett Ratner; Lawrence Atkinson, DDA CEO; Frank Priot,International Consultant for the Moscow Film Commission; Dorota Lech, Programming Associate at the Toronto International Film Festival; Joel Chapron,UniFrance, Cannes' Russian and East European cinema consultant; Alberto Barbera, Venice Film Festival Director; Cameron Bailey, artistic director atToronto IFF; Claire Stewart, London Film Festival Director; Richard Cook, founder of the SUBTITLE festival in Kilkenny (Ireland); Alberto Lopez,Variety International Director; Tom Bernard, President of Sony Pictures Classic; Richard Lorber, chairman and CEO of Kino Lorber Inc.; and numerousdelegates from international film festivals in Busan, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Internationally, the work of the Russian Pavilion was covered by the British DDA, a distinguished PR agency specializing in the media industry.Over the course of eight days, 12 press releases were sent out to the agency's exclusive client database that includes over 6,000 professionaloutlets all over the world, both print and digital. Russian Pavilion events were spotlighted by publications as influential as Variety, ScreenInternational, Cannes Market, Le Film Français, and LA Times. CNN ran a long interview with ROSKINO CEO Kate Mtsitouridze, in which she discussedthe Russian presence at Cannes and the high-profile presentation of the Moscow Film Commission that featured leading film industry professionals fromRussia and beyond. Also, thanks to the Pavilion's traditionally fruitful partnership with the Cannes Film Market, for the second year in a row 12 cover of the Cannesdaily program (10,000 copies in circulation) were purchased as advertising space for Russian films. Seeing those covers every day gave the participants ofMarché du Film a chance to familiarize themselves with a slew of recent Russian titles: "Ice" (dir. O. Trofim); "Anna Karenina. Vronsky's Story" (dir.K. Shakhnazarov); "Sobibor" (produced by All Media); "Bolshoi" (dir. V. Todorovsky); "T-34" (dir. A. Sidorov); "Snow Queen 3: Fire and Ice"(produced by WIZART); and "Closeness" (dir. Kantemir Balagov, an Un Certain Regard selection). RUSSIAN PAVILION 2017 PROGRAMMoscow Film Commission PresentationOne of the Russian Pavilion's highlights was the presentation of the Moscow Film Commission intended to promote Moscow as a location for film- andTV crews from Russia and abroad, and to create a convenient infrastructure for media professionals working in the Russian capital. Meant to advertise Moscow as a shooting location and to make the city attractive for Russian and international filmmakers, the project wasintroduced by Vladimir Filippov, Deputy Director for the Moscow Department of Culture; Evgeny Gerasimov, Head of the Commission for Culture andMass Communications at the Moscow City Duma; Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO; and producer Igor Ugolnikov. Among their foreign colleagues invitedto the event were Arie Bohrer, Head of Advisory Board, European Film Commission Network; Valérie Lépine-Karnik, CEO of Film France, the French FilmCommission; Michel Plazanet, Deputy Director for European and International Affairs at CNC; Marijana Stoisits, Vice-chairwoman for AFCI and Head ofthe Vienna Film Commission; and Sigmund Elias Holm, Vice-chairman of AFCI (Association of Film Commissioners International) and Head of theWest-Norwegian Film Commission. As they shared their experiences the esteemed guests explained the importance of establishing film commissions inmajor cities, and expressed their confidence in the Moscow Film Commission to boost both film and tourism industries and to join AFCI in the foreseeable future. Call for applications to film in Moscow opens on May 20th. Over the summer 2017, the Moscow Film Commission will operate in test mode while the process is perfected. The Moscow Film Commission website is already up and running, complete with application forms and contacts: All applications should be emailed to or Presentation of New Info Resource from Cinema FundAnton Malyshev, Chief Operating Officer of Cinema Fund, and Fyodor Sosnov, Head of Analytical Department at Cinema Fund, shared details about the project Russian Cinema Fans Analytic, Cinema Fund's new info resource. It is an English-language portal based on a new website for the Unified Federal Automated Info System of Theatrical Film Distribution (UAIS), meant to make the Russian film market more transparent for foreign buyers, producers, and distributors. Central Partnership New Project ShowcaseKIT CEO Rafael Minasbekyan, Central Partnership CEO Pavel Stepanov, and Dzhanik Fayziev, General Producer at KIT, introduced their large-scale epic blockbuster "Furious", and played some new footage emphasizing the film's high-quality visual effects. Serj Tankian, the lead singer of the iconic band System of a Down, has joined the project as a composer. The musician has long dreamed of scoring an epic movie, and "Furious" marks his first collaboration with a Russian filmmaker. Six themes have been created, some of them electronic. The instrumental parts will be recorded by System of a Down separately. The score should be finished by the end of the summer. Budgeted at approximately $20 million, with over 100 million rubles in marketing expenses, "Furious" has already been sold to a lot of territories including the USA, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg (Splendid), France, Belgium, the Netherlands (ACTEURS AUTEURS ASSOCIES), Spain (Mediaset), and Mongolia (Digital content). North American rights have been secured by Well Go USA, whose recent successes include the South Korean zombie horror "Train to Busan." "Furious" is scheduled to come out in Russia on November 30th, 2017. MARS MEDIA and AMEDIA PRODUCTION ShowcaseMars Media and AMEDIA Production's war-themed adventure action "T-34", produced among others by Leonard Blavatnik, billionaire investor and owner of AMEDIA and Warner Music, caused such a stir in the international film community that Hollywood mogul and director Brett Ratner personally attended the presentation. His sudden visit and his questions to the team constituted one of the program's undeniable highlights. The project was presented by Ruben Dishdishyan, General Producer at Mars Media ("Shadowboxing," "Chic," "Mermaid," "The Star," "Soaring," "The Earthquake" etc.), and Julia Ivanova, Mars Media CEO. Press Conference for Kantemir Balagov's "Closeness"The Russian Pavilion hosted a press conference for "Closeness" (an Un Certain Regard selection) by the young Kabardino-Balkarian filmmaker Kantemir Balagov,student of Alexander Sokurov. Actresses Darya Zhovner and Olga Dragunova presented the film to Russian and international media. Apart from a small sum ofmoney from the Saint Petersburg Cultural Committee, the film received no state funding and was mostly sponsored by the non-profit foundation "An Example ofIntonation" run by Sokurov himself. This family drama based on a true story was honored with the highly prestigious FIPRESCI Award. Maison 1618 ShowcaseThe social drama "Okay, Mum" is writer Eva Lanska's directorial debut. Intended as a draft for the upcoming eponymous feature, the film inaugurates a short-subject series devoted to relationships between parents and children. Touching on the issues of child abuse, the film was made in Great Britain starring British actors. The director is currently at work on a feature-film screenplay in collaboration with Alex Marx, who produced the short and also played the part of a lawyer in it. Several other screenplays exploring volatile family dynamics have already been written. "Vega Film" and "Ark Pictures” Project Showcase"Moscow in Love”is a joint project of "Vega Film" and "Ark Pictures” production companies, realized with the support of the Moscow City Duma andMoscow Government. It was presented by Vladimir Filippov, Deputy Director for the Moscow Department of Culture; Evgeny Gerasimov, Head of theCommission for Culture and Mass Communications of the Moscow City Duma; director Konstantin Fam; producer Ekaterina Mikhailova; and composer Alexander Kogan. The film follows several present-day Moscow residents whose lives are suddenly intertwined as they struggle to solve their problems and find true love in a bustling metropolis. GLOBAL RUSSIANS 2017 PresentationThe annual DVD collection of Russian shorts presented in the Short Film Corner section of the Marché Du Film market included student films from alumni of the Moscow Film School, Russian University of Theatre Arts, VGIK, Contemporary Art Institute, and the WORDSHOP Communications Academy: GOOD DAY, directed and produced by Olga Dibtseva MILK, directed by Daria Vlasova, produced by Yanna Buryak THE FIRST, directed by Lado Kvataniya, produced by Ekaterina KononenkoBREAKING UP WITH JENNY, directed by Petr Antokhin; produced by Nodar Dzhincharadze, Petr Antokhin AMNESIA, directed and produced by Gala ShiyanThe films had been selected out of 170 applications by a professional jury comprised of film critics Vasiliy Koretsky, Katya Mtsitouridze, and Denis Ruzaev. Presented at the Russian Pavilion and ROSKINO – Russian Cinema Worldwide stand, the Global Russian DVD portmanteau was also distributed in other national pavilions. Presentation of «The Cannes Chronicles. 2006–2016»This book's presentation at the Russian Pavilion was dedicated to the memory of Daniil Dondurei, the recently deceased editor-in-chief of the much respected Iskusstvo Kino film magazine. Andrei Plakhov and Lev Karakhan told the audience about the journey their book had sent them on. The volume mainly consists of the co-authors' dialogues, but also includes conversations with other film critics (Nina Zarkhi and Evgeniy Gusyatinskiy) and Cannes coverage from the Iskusstvo Kino magazine. The essays in the second part of the book attempt to view the Cannes Film Festival, not just in the cinematic context, but in relation to broader cultural developments. 70th CANNES FESTIVAL MAIN COMPETITIONAndrey Zvyagintsev's drama "Loveless" (produced by Alexander Rodnyansky, Sergey Melkumov, and Gleb Fetisov), which represented Russia in the main competition, took home the Jury Prize, the festival's third most prestigious trophy after the Palme d'Or and the Grand Prix. The story of a married couple whose son goes missing in the midst of their acrimonious divorce was greeted with a 10-minute standing ovation at the Palais des Festivals, where "Loveless" was unveiled to the public. Andrey Zvyagintsev, director: "It's hard to overestimate a prize previously given to Antonioni, Bergman, and Lars von Trier. Of course, it would be disingenuous to say you're not holding out for more when you're sitting in that auditorium. After all, we're all human and we all want more––we want what we think is fair. But, as Hamlet once said, "Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?""Alexander Rodnyansky, producer: "We're proud to have been selected for the Cannes competition, and grateful for the kind critical notices. The Jury Prize is an honor and a privilege. The third most significant award at the festival given to films as a whole, rather than to particular individuals, it's especially important in that it always goes to artistically daring pictures: think Antonioni, Bergman, Godard, Bresson, Sorrentino, Kieslowski. For us and, I daresay, for the whole of Russian filmmaking, it's a very exciting triumph."In the Un Certain Regard competition, Russia was represented by Kantemir Balagov, Alexander Sokurov's 25-year-old student whose true-story family drama "Closeness" took home the prestigious FIPRESCI Award. A long ovation at the Palais des Festivals screening was followed by unmitigated critical acclaim. Though a feature-film debut, "Closeness" is nonetheless Balagov's second premiere at Cannes. Kantemir Balagov, director: "I first came to Cannes in 2015, thanks to Alexander Sokurov and Kate Mtsitouridze, when my film school final project "Me First" was selected for ROSKINO's Global Russians anthology. That trip helped me grow both as a professional and as a human being. I'd like to thank the ROSKINO team for making my visit to Cannes so memorable. As for being selected to compete in Un Certain Regard, it is, of course, a tremendous honor. I hope the international exposure enjoyed by "Closeness" at Cannes will help to shift the emphasis from the cinema of central regions of Russia to that of the North Caucasus. There's plenty of young talent in small-town Russia."Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO: "Obviously, no judgment is ever impartial. Pedro Almodovar's jury made their choices; a different jury may have arrived at different conclusions. However, the fact remains that Russia made a creditable showing at this year's Cannes. Kantemir Balagov's "Closeness" received the FIPRESCI Prize in Un Certain Regard. Two years ago, Kantemir brought his "Me First" here as part of the Global Russians program, alongside Sokurov's four other students from the Kabardino-Balkaria University. He is our pride and joy––and, in a way, our discovery, too! I'm so happy to see the substantial results of our work and the work of this wonderful director and his mentor. I hope that in the future, new stars of filmmaking will be lit not just in Moscow and Petersburg but all over Russia as well." ROSKINO – RUSSIAN CINEMA WORLDWIDE STAND RESULTSAll the Russian film companies invited to the Marché du Film market were united under the auspices of the ROSKINO - RUSSIAN CINEMA WORLDWIDE stand organized by ROSKINO with the generous support of the Russian Ministry of Culture, Department of Foreign Affairs, Moscow City Council, and the largest airline in the nation, PJSC Aeroflot – Russian Airlines. ROSKINO presented at the stand an updated catalogue of DOORS, a mobile film market that showcased the best films made in Russia in 2016–17. Returning participants of the ROSKINO stand included Art Pictures Studio, Central Partnership, Russian World Vision, Indie Vision, Mirsand Ltd., Wizart, Planeta Inform, All Media, Mars Media, Amedia Production, Mosfilm (over 45 production and distribution companies overall). At the Marché du Film market, Central Partnership initiated international sales for "Three seconds" (dir. A. Megerdichev), a film about Sovietbasketball players, and the war-themed historical drama "Frontier" (dir. S. Tyutin), as well as for "Furious," the first epic blockbuster to tell the story of Ryazan military leader Kolovrat's martial exploits. Pavel Stepanov, Central Partnership CEO: "We couldn't be happier with our results at the Cannes film market. Our projects were all extremely well received, and a lot of buyers are more than intrigued. Our own "Furious," shown to the buyers in its entirety, has garnered perhaps the most buzz, which goes to show that quality Russian filmmaking is in demand and needs to be promoted internationally. Before we've tallied up the final numbers, I think it's safe to say that sales-wise it was an unqualified success."Art Pictures Studio, co-headed by Fyodor Bondarchuk and Dmitriy Rudovskiy, presented to the international buyers their "Ice" (dir. O. Trofim) anddrama «Buy Me» (dir. V. Perelman). They also announced а sequel to the sci-fi blockbuster «Attraction» (dir. F. Bondarchuk). Dmitriy Rudovskiy, producer, co-owner of Art Pictures Studio: «At Marché du Film, Art Pictures Studio presented a number of new projects to their international partners. There were private screenings of "Buy Me" and "Ice," and the comedy "Myths about Moscow" was teased as well. We also negotiated a couple of coproduction deals with large American and Chinese companies. The "Attraction" sequel we announced at the market generated a lot of interest from our international partners. Meanwhile, the original sci-fi blockbuster opened in South Korea on May 25th, and before 2017 is over it'll play Japan, India, Germany, China, and Latin America."Mirsani Ltd. distribution company, on behalf of Timur Bekmambetov's Bazelevs, made an agency agreement with Covert Media regarding the representation of"The Spacewalker" (dir. D. Kiselev), in its international cut, at international film- and TV markets. Valeria Dobrolubova, Head of Sales at Mirsand ltd.: «Covert Media successfully screened the movie at the Cannes market, in addition to a series of meeting with our partners, who are very excited about this new project of ours. We're currently negotiating several deals to the tune of over $100,000."All Media presented at Cannes its top sellers, including the historical drama «Sobibor» starring Konstantin Khabenskiy and Christopher Lambert (sold to Australia, Poland, and France, with Great Britain, South Korea, and China currently in talks). The fantasy "The Last Warrior" (dir. D. Dyachenko) is being eyed by distributors from France, Spain, China, Germany, the USA, and Eastern Europe. The thriller "Selfie" (dir. N. Khomeriki) has attracted buyers from Germany, China, and South Korea. Zhanna Shakhshaeva, Head of International Dept., All Media: "This year's market was a runaway success. We're very pleased with the results of our business meetings. While China remains the most active territory, our content actually earned the most bids from France, the film market's "hostess" who, so to speak, held her own. We've acquired new partners in Australia, and met some ambitious distributors from Poland, Germany, and the UK. Estimated at about $1 million, all our deals look very promising. And we are certain the hopes instilled in us won't be dashed by box-office receipts."WIZART introduced its international partners to the animated «Snow Queen 3: Fire and Ice», «Sheep & Wolves 2», as well as the "Melnitsa" studio's «Fantastic journey to Oz». Greek rights to "Sheep & Wolves" went to Spentzos Film (the Greek distributor of "Arrival"); French, to KLB; Indonesian, to Satuvisi Abadi (OneVision Entertainment); South Korean, to Bo Xoo Entertainment. All the previous installments of "Snow Queen" were released in South Korea to great fanfare. Cinemundo (the distributor of "Jackie" and "Son of Bigfoot") purchased the whole "Snow Queen" franchise for a Portuguese theatrical release. The Chinese YL Pictures will handle "Fantastic journey to Oz," whose Turkish rights were sold to Kurmaca Film (the distributor of "Personal Shopper" and "The Handmaiden"). Runaway-Luminosity Distribution will go wide with "Fantastic journey to Oz" in India; it has also secured theatrical rights to the property in Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and the Maldives. The cartoon will also be released shortly in Hungary, through the local ADS Service company. "Fantastic journey to Oz" made its first foray into international markets in Mongolia, where Digital Contents Co, LLC opened it on May 26th ahead of the International Children's Day. Yuri Moskvin, General Producer at WIZART: "It was a very successful market for us: we closed several major deals on each of our projects. I'd like to single out the Chinese deal for "Fantastic journey to Oz," which will be released by YL Pictures in the early summer on 7,000+ screens, with an advertising budget of $2 mln. As usual, new installments of "Sheep & Wolves" and "Snow Queen" were hot items as well."At the Marché du Film market, Planeta Inform presented exclusive footage of its upcoming projects: a 6-minute fragment from Nikita Argunov's "The Coma"; a fragment from, along with the rough cut of, Rustam Mosafir's action fantasy "The Scythian"; and a scene from the winter shooting period of the historical epic "Prince Oleg" coproduced by Vladimir Kilburg and Dmitry Litvinov. The superhero action film «Guardians» (dir. S. Andreasan), already released theatrically in 24 countries and purchased for North America, Great Britain, and Ireland, has also been sold to Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. On May 20th, Sarik Andreasyan's actioneer came out in China, where it placed fourth on the box-office charts. Having grossed $2.45 million over the first four days in theaters, "Guardians" now ranks ninth among all the Russian productions ever released in China. Dmitry Litvinov, Planeta Inform CEO: "We had a very eventful Cannes market. As early as the first day, we closed a deal on the sci-fi blockbuster "The Coma" with a big distributor that will handle it in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. The action fantasy "The Scythian" closed a deal with China, in addition to the German-speaking Europe deal signed earlier. The horror "The Bride" was sold to France and Italy. Concurrently with the market, "The Bride" also opened in Latin America to impressive first-weekend numbers. In Peru, the movie was seen by over 76,000 people over the weekend, yielding a striking $235,000 gross. The rest of Latin America will follow suit during the summer, Peru being the movie's launching pad in this region."The MOSFILM studio presented at Cannes its historical drama «Anna Karenina. Vronsky's Story» adapted by director Karen Shakhnazarov from Leo Tolstoy's novel and Vikenty Veresaev's "In the Japanese War." Interesting offers from international buyers started pouring in after the market screening. By the time the market was over, Russian World Vision had closed a few provisional deals for its new comedy «About Love 2» (dir. N. Saifullaeva, P. Ruminov, N. Merkulova, A. Chupov, R. Gigineishvili, E. Shelyakin, А. Melikyan) starring John Malkovich alongside Russian actors. The movie will be released in Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Israel. Chinese distributors also showed great interest in this film as well as the company's other projects: “Selfie#Selfie” (dir. M. Boev), “The hangover” (dir. M. Boev), “Oil Panting” (dir. О. Taktarov, А. Mosin) and “Make a Wish” (dir. Е. Kravchenko). Latin American deals on these titles are currently being negotiated. Ekaterina Levitan, Head of International Sales, Russian World Vision: «For our company, Marché du Film went perfectly fine. Although the rights to "Panfilov's 28" (dir. K. Druzhinin, A. Shalopa) have already been sold to most territories, negotiations are ongoing. We're currently in talks with Italy, Scandinavia, and the Benelux. The sum total of our Cannes deals is estimated at $450,000.»Indie Vision, an indie subdivision of Russian World Vision, presented its project Stage Russia meant to entice international buyers with thebest productions of the four leading theatres in Russia, filmed in HD and 4K: «Anna Karenina», «The Black Monk», «Eugene Onegin» and «The Cherry Orchard». The company's lineup also included Kirill Pletnev's directorial debut, a contemporary Russia satire entitled "Light Up." The company continued to sell "Wake Me Up" (dir. G. Protsenko), "Middleground" (dir. A. Khazanova), and the "Petersburg. A Selfie" anthology {padding-left:80px;}ul.enu li {margin:10px 0;}
Kantemir Balagov's "Closeness" Enjoys Raves at Cannes On May 24th, 2017, the Un Certain Regard sidebar of the Cannes Film Festival hosted the world premiere of Kantemir Balagov's "Closeness." Next day, a press conference was held at the Russian Pavilion managed by ROSKINO. The 25-year-old director, a student of Alexander Sokurov, presented his film to Russian and international media alongside his actresses Darya Zhovner and Olga Dragunova. ROSKINO CEO Katya Mtsitouridze opened the conference by congratulating the filmmakers on the film's rapturous reception, and noted that "Closeness" was, in fact, the second film Balagov had unveiled at the Russian Pavilion."Two years ago, Kantemir came here as a Global Russians program participant, in the company of four other students from Alexander Sokurov's workshop at Kabardino-Balkarian State University. He is our pride and joy––and, in a sense, our discovery, too! I'm so happy to see the substantial results of our work and the work of this wonderful director and his mentor. I hope that in the future, new stars in the firmament of filmmaking will be lit not just in Moscow and Petersburg but all over Russia as well." Katya Mtsitouridze also encouraged the journalists to support the idea of letting Alexander Sokurov teach across all of Russia, because teaching is a significant facet of his talent: "Kantemir is not the only student of his who has made it big––four exceptionally strong debuts by his classmates are currently in the works, and I hope they'll blow up soon enough at other festivals."   The CEO also emphasized that the three movies at least partially financed by Russia and selected for the two most prestigious Cannes sections, the Official Competition and Un Certain Regard ("Loveless," "A Gentle Creature," "Closeness"), had already been purchased by the European distribution giant Wild Bunch. It is further proof of the resounding success of "Closeness," since many directors spend their entire lives trying to achieve this level of recognition. Mtsitouridze said she hoped Wild Bunch's involvement would open up wider commercial avenues for the Russian films and strengthen their potential in wide release.Kantemir Balagov, director: "I'm really grateful to Katya Mtsitouridze and ROSKINO for the attention they pay emerging filmmakers and for putting this press conference together; we do appreciate it. I would also like to thank my mentor Alexander Sokurov for everything he has given us over the years of studies.My film is based on actual events and memories. It was important for me to show the relationships between people and nations, because Russia is a multiethnic state, and whether you like it or not, this multiethnic makeup sometimes breeds conflict.The title is not incidental. It's "closeness" in the broadest sense. First of all, it's the closeness of oneself to oneself, in which there's no room left for anyone else to get "closer." It's also the closed-mindedness of tradition and closed circuits of different mindsets, or broader still, the close range at which two nations have to coexist but can't, which leads, inevitably, to strife."   Set in 1998 in the North Caucasian city of Nalchik, "Closeness" follows a local Jewish family whose son is kidnapped, along with his fiancée, on the day of their engagement. However, Kantemir Balagov insists that it wasn't his intention "to overplay the Jewish card." "The plot is loosely based on a true story: Kabardinians and Balkarians were never abducted, whereas Jews were the most frequent victims, the most defenseless minority." The filmmaker also stressed that his interests mostly lay in the family conflict, rather than in the abduction narrative. On the subject of Alexander Sokurov's influence, Balagov noted that the seasoned teacher expressly forbade his students from watching his work and urged them to develop a voice of their own. Though he did serve as an artistic consultant for the movie and helped greatly during pre- and post-production, Sokurov nonetheless "never threw his weight around."  Apart from a small sum of money from the Saint Petersburg Cultural Committee, the film received no state funding and was mostly sponsored by the non-profit foundation "An Example of Intonation" run by Sokurov himself. The two main actresses, Darya Zhovner and Olga Dragunova, thanked their director for bringing them along and shared some insights into their characters. Darya Zhovner, actress:"When I saw the movie yesterday I realized how much my character and I had in common. At times, I found it very hard to accept what she went through and I had to force myself into certain situations: for instance, I couldn't stomach the fact that in the 21st century a girl could be made to marry a man she didn't love, so it was difficult for me to act in that scene." Olga Dragunova, actress: "My character is nothing like me, but I tried my best to justify her behavior because I had to understand what motivated her. Selfishness sometimes turns excessive love between parents and children into the opposite of love. Love has to be given freely, but we often demand it.I'm very happy with what we achieved. For a long time after the shooting period I played the events over in my head and thought some scenes had to be handled differently. But when I saw the final cut I understood that the director was right. Some episodes are left ambiguous on purpose, but it's exactly what makes our movie so complex and thought-provoking." "It is, indeed, a film that stays with you," added Katya Mtsitouridze. "When I revisited it I saw some scenes from a different angle and figured out why they were needed and what context they were put in. A movie that stays with you is, by definition, a good one." Un Certain Regard awards will be announced on May 27th. The jury comprised of five industry professionals is presided over by the Hollywood superstar Uma Thurman. Additional info:Jane KovalenkoROSKINO Press Office 916 131 10 00
Investor, AMEDIA and Warner Music Owner, Billionaire Leonard Blavatnik and Hollywood Producer/Director Brett Ratner Gave Speeches at Russian Pavilion For the tenth year in a row, the Russian Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival has gathered together some true professionals of the film industry from all around the world. On May 23rd, 2017, the venue hosted a presentation of the new project from Mars Media and AMEDIA Production, "T-34," produced, among others, by Leonard Blavatnik, billionaire investor and owner of AMEDIA and Warner Music. The showcase caused such a stir in the international film community that Hollywood superproducer and director Brett Ratner found an opening, in between meetings, in his extremely busy schedule. His sudden appearance and the questions he asked of the team behind the project constituted, undeniably, the highlight of the presentation.Ratner's directing credits include the Rush Hour trilogy, X-Men: The Last Stand, and a string of other box-office smashes totaling over $2 billion in worldwide grosses. He has also achieved renown as a producer with The Revenant, Horrible Bosses, War Dogs, Black Mass etc. Showing genuine interest in the war-themed adventure actioneer "T-34" produced by Ruben Dishdishyan, Leonard Blavatnik, and Julia Ivanova, Ratner was slightly taken aback by the film's price tag: "Wait a minute, you're saying you had a 600-million budget?! 600? "Wonder Woman" cost 200 million, but in Russia a 600-million movie is considered inexpensive?! Am I missing something?" When the famed filmmaker realized they meant rubles rather than dollars, and at the current exchange rate the budget of "T-43" was just under $10 million, he added knowingly, "Oooh, rubles!""T-34" is a war-themed adventure actioneer about the confrontation between two tank experts, the German captain Jager and lieutenant Ivushkin, who makes a daring escape from German captivity. Leonard Blavatnik, Head of the Access Industries holding company that owns, among its other assets, Warner Music Group, Amedia, and the British subsidiary of Mel Gibson's distribution company Icon, whose catalogue contains over 500 titles (including Driving Miss Daisy, Dances with Wolves, The Passion of the Christ, and other classics): "Cinema is more than business to me. Let's just say that there are more lucrative areas––and yet, I'm happy to spend money on creative endeavors. First and foremost, I'm invested in supporting talented young people, and I do it in various spheres, from music to film to TV, and in different countries. I believe that Russian filmmakers are better at war movies than their Hollywood peers. There's plenty of talent to go around here. For me, "T-34" is more than a perfectly conceived adventure flick. My Grandfather was a WWII veteran, and that great victory is part of our family lore. I'm very picky about what I choose to finance, and this film was selected out of many offers––for personal reasons, among others. Of course, other factors were taken into account as well, such as: the best young actors, a first-rate crew, and the stellar résumé of our partners, Mars Media and Ruben Dishdishyan in particular." The first batch of visual materials meant to demonstrate the scope of the production was prepared expressly for the Russian Pavilion presentation. The story of "T-34" begins in 1941, in the heat of the Volokolamsk battle, when Ivushkin, a lieutenant fresh out of the military academy, stands up alone against a dozen of German tanks led by the tank expert Jager. Fortune, as they say, favors the bold: Ivushkin does eliminate the enemy squadron, but ends up captured by the Germans. In 1944, in the Ohrdruf training area, the captive Ivushkin hatches an audacious escape plan, to ride once more the legendary T-34 and to dare Jager, the German Panthers, and his own fate. The film is written and directed by Aleksey Sidorov, known for the cult-favorite TV show "Brigada" and the "Shadowboxing" trilogy.  Ruben Dishdishyan, General Producer at Mars Media (Shadowboxing, Chic, Mermaid, The Star, Soaring, The Earthquake etc.):"We have now made five movies with Aleksey Sidorov, and I count him among the most gifted writers and directors in the nation. Between Aleksey's first pitch and the first day of shooting, three years had elapsed. All this time, we kept on perfecting the screenplay. So far, we're about halfway through the shooting period. Our job was to make our movie as accessible as possible. It had to be spirited, modern, and geared toward different demographics; both a visual feast for the younger audiences who are used to the best Hollywood has to offer, and an exciting character-driven narrative that would appeal to the older generation. We'll do everything in our power to make our movie the cinematic event of the season, and I think it's got what it takes! The audiences are in for a "Fast & Furious" with tanks!" The film's cast boasts a constellation of young Russian actors made famous by their recent roles: Aleksandr Petrov, Irina Starshenbaum, Petr Skvortsov, Semen Treskunov, and Anton Bogdanov. One of the main characters is portrayed by Viktor Dobronravov, while the antagonist, Jager, is played by the German actor Vinzenz Kiefer, whom you may remember as the ringleader of the hackers in "Jason Bourne." The Cannes presentation is a pivotal point in the film's promotion in the international arena. The filmmakers hope it will be as successful as was Stalingrad, another large-scale WWII film that told a powerful and emotional story. Julia Ivanova, Mars Media CEO:"The budget is currently estimated at 500 million rubles (we've managed to cut it down by about 50 million). Last year we locked down financing from the Cinema Fund, and we're pitching again this year in hopes of getting additional funding. Russian audiences usually show up to war-themed movies in droves, and our project is a real standout." The movie is currently shooting. The first part was filmed in the outskirts of Moscow in late February–March; then the crew moved on to the Czech Republic. Some scenes will be shot in and around Moscow in June. "T-34" is expected to be released in Russia in 2018. Leonard Blavatnik:"I'm really impressed by how our presentation went and how well the Russian Pavilion was organized by ROSKINO and personally Katya Mtsitouridze. I think what we see here is a certain level of excitement being generated and sustained––an excitement without which it'd be very hard to cross over to the international market." Additional info:Jane KovalenkoROSKINO Press Office 916 131 10 00
Global Russians Presentation at Russian Pavilion at Cannes Global Russians Presentation at Russian Pavilion at CannesOn May 22nd, 2017, as part of the 70th Festival de Cannes and Marché Du Film market, the Russian Pavilion hosted a presentation of the annual short-film anthology Global Russians. The Pavilion visitors saw five selections: Gala Shiyan's "Amnesia"; Olga Dibtseva's "Good Day"; Petr Antokhin's "Breaking Up with Jenny"; Lado Kvataniya's "The First"; and Daria Vlasova's "Milk."The program had been handpicked by an expert jury comprising film critics Vasiliy Koretsky (, Vogue), Katya Mtsitouridze (Roskino, Channel 1), and Denis Ruzaev (, Global Russians contest invites submissions from students and alumni of film schools, both Russian and international. This year, over 170 applications had been received, and the final roster included works by both aspiring filmmakers fresh out of film school, and emerging talent already known in the industry. In terms of production budget, the program picks range from inexpensive original skits to price tags considered fairly high for a short subject.All five Global Russians shorts, thanks to Roskino, will go on to represent their country in the Cannes sidebar Short Film Corner, where industry professionals will evaluate them. Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO:"We put together our annual Global Russians program in hopes of launching new, exciting, and envelope-pushing careers. The fact that our alumnus, Kantemir Balagov, is now unveiling his debut feature "Closeness" in the prestigious Un Certain Regard program, speaks to the success of our mission. Two years ago, Kantemir's short "Me First" was a Global Russians finalist, which gave him the opportunity to go to Cannes with other students from Alexander Sokurov's workshop at the Kabardino-Balkaria State University. We are delighted to see his unqualified triumph. This year, the jury's decisions were mostly unanimous. The weak entries were quickly dismissed, so we had to choose from the 20 most promising offers. As it stands, the final five show great range in style and tone, and their authors, I'm sure, won't take long to break through with their first features."Vasiliy Koretsky, film critic, and Vogue Russia:"There are a few simple criteria we stuck to in evaluating the submissions. The first one is watchability. Young filmmakers often rely on text too heavily. In an international program, the visuals should be more pronounced than the story itself. The story, meanwhile, should be easy to read in the subtitles or, ideally, told with no verbal crutches whatsoever. Second of all, we singled out the genre works. Genre movies are not exactly thriving in Russia, although we've made some progress in comedy. What's important here is that comedy have crossover potential, not tied to the specifics of the Russian context. Third of all, the running time: we made it a point to intersperse the lengthier films in the program with brief skits. And finally, we assessed the professional level of the authors and their work."Denis Ruzaev, film critic, and"Filmmakers of today often try to squeeze all they know about life, people, and their country into a 15-20-min. running time (30 at best). Of course, it's an impossible task, and few directors accomplish that even in their features. As we sifted through the submissions, we mostly looked for concise, witty, and consistent stories told with coherence and elegance."Global Russians Program 2017«Amnesia»Directed by Gala ShiyanStarring Dmitry Erokhin, Alexander Levitsky, Ivan Kozin, Sergei Sychugov, Maxim VintovkinA one-minute sketch of the contemporary poetry scene, "Amnesia" is the program's most laconic selection, in which a nervous poet dares to present his work to his colleagues for the first time, and forgets his own stanzas under pressure.The film was born out of improvisation. At a poetry reading, Dmitry Erokhin (John Vain) added to his famous verses a "recently written" poem entitled "Amnesia," which inspired the filmmaker, Gala Shiyan, who now says, "What happened there made me think about our perception of contemporary art, and the tricky situations it creates––for example, when a green EXIT sign on the wall may or may not be an element of the exhibit."The movie was filmed quickly, with non-professional actors playing themselves. We get to see a real poetry reading "At Vain's," where he and other poets play along following the director's lead.Before she enrolled in Yuri Grymov's class at Wordshop Academy, Gala Shiyan had already earned two degrees, in engineering and philosophy. While in school for the latter, she started making film études and shorts. Her résumé now lists a dozen independently produced films, including "One on One," "Triangles," "The Silver Medal" etc. "To be perfectly honest, I thought my film would only be understood by the people involved in its production, i.e. the poets themselves. I'm as amazed that it has garnered so much attention as I am honored to present it here. Our whole production budget was 200 rubles to rent a lavalier mic and some small change for parking. My films have traveled to international festivals before, but never on this scale, obviously. I realize full well that I'm as lucky as my characters, and it just takes my breath away," admits the director.Vasiliy Koretsky:"We have considered several super-short miniatures, and "Amnesia" is my personal favorite. Once you've had enough of turgid arthouse fare, such a brisk and funny story truly feels like a breath of fresh air."«Good Day»Directed and produced by Olga DibtsevaStarring Alexander Pal, Olga Khokhlova, Vasiliy Kortukov, Galina Averyanova, Andrei Kharybin, Pavel Serdyuk"Good Day" is actress Olga Dibtseva's directorial debut. It is her first completed assignment for the Filmmaking preparatory course at the Moscow Film School.This tersely humorous project, now with a bit of gallows humor, tells the simple story of a delivery boy who, on an errand for a married couple, witnesses a series of accidental deaths. The delivery boy is played by Alexander Pal in what the selection committee believes to be his career-best performance."I'm so happy to be here, and I would like to thank Roskino for this opportunity, and everyone else who helped this movie succeed. "Good Day" is my directorial debut. I'm an actress, but I've always wanted to direct. All the accomplished filmmakers tell you to just do it, because making a movie has never been easier. So, I wrote the script and assembled crew and cast who were all my friends willing to work for free. My own apartment was our set, and I borrowed a camera from a colleague, so the entire budget came out to about 50,000 rubles. The hardest part was bringing all the extremely busy actors to the set for two days, and the biggest chunk of the budget was eaten up by the logistics of it all. Of course, Alexander Pal is the crown jewel of the movie. I didn't even think he'd be interested in a student project, but he liked the screenplay and said yes right away," says the director.Olga Dibtseva is about to graduate from Boris Khlebnikov and Aleksey Popogrebskiy's workshop at the Moscow Film School. She is currently shooting her final project, a comedy about a female doctor who befriends a lady from the wealthy suburbs of Moscow.Vasiliy Koretsky: "We all loved this film, and chose it unanimously! It's a simple story that can be comprehended with no words at all, although the funny dialogue is an added bonus. It's an actors' movie, too, and Pal's participation is symbolic here: it's a new Russian comedy that I feel was somewhat influenced by Zhora Kryzhovnikov." «Breaking Up with Jenny»Directed by Petr AntokhinProduced by Nodar Dzhincharadze, Petr AntokhinStarring Dustin Chaviano"Breaking Up with Jenny" is the program's sole English-language title. According to Petr Antokhin, "the language is as instrumental here as are lighting, lenses, music, and special effects. This story simply sounds more organic when told in English." Overall, the film doesn't feel Russian at all, since the images, sets, and props all look distinctly Western.The film's main, and only, character is a guy named Gus, who is having a very special morning: he's marrying Rachel in a couple of hours. The one minor thing he has to take care of is break up with Jenny. Jenny is the name of his car, but this information is withheld for a while as Gus, in an internal monologue, struggles to convince himself he's making the right choice and fends off an avalanche of texts from his domineering bride. A truly masculine tale!This is a live-action debut for Petr Antokhin, a graduate of the Contemporary Art Institute (V.D. Rubinchik's workshop). Previously, he has collaborated with other filmmakers on the TV show "Love Is Not What It Seems.""I decided to start with the most doable thing––a screenplay I could manage within my budget. For a couple of months, I would meet my filmmaker friends and gush on and on about this guy who has a very special relationship with his car. First I "infected" my co-producer Nodar Dzhincharadze, then my cameraman Sergey Pavlenko and unit production manager Igor Kapustin. At some point, the film took on a life of its own. Frankly speaking, I wasn't even thinking about my movie's prospects. I just wanted to see my idea come to life. For the opportunity to present it here today, I'd like to thank Nodar, the whole crew, and our actor Dustin Chaviano," says Petr Antokhin.Dustin Chaviano, the film's star, is also a newcomer. The director says he auditioned his actors in a cafe and understood right away that Dustin was perfect for this role. Chaviano, meanwhile, threatened to go away on a long trip around the world if he were not cast.Vasiliy Koretsky: "The story of a young man who ditches his bride for a car made quite an impression on me. Perhaps it won't look so refreshing in the global context as it did among Russian films that repeat the same mistakes over and over again, and dash their own hopes for festival recognition. Anyway, the movie is an interesting one, funny and high-quality." «The First»Directed by Lado Kvataniya Produced by Ekaterina Kononenko Starring Maria Krylova, Vladimir VerevochkinThe Global Russians' longest and most epic selection is directed by Lado Kvataniya, already an established name in the industry. He graduated from the Russian Academy of Theater Arts with a degree in acting and studied screenwriting under John Truby; he also went to New York Film Academy, where Paul Brown served as his supervisor. A Hype Productions employee and Ilya Naishuller's frequent collaborator, Kvataniya has made several music videos for his band Biting Elbows and starred in "Hardcore Henry."The short is set in the Soviet Union in 1960. A capsule with an astronaut inside crash-lands in the woods, soon to be found by a lonely village girl. The astronaut doesn't know yet that his biggest test still lies ahead.Andrei Koroteev's script is based on a British article that throws the accepted historical narrative into question and doubts whether Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space. Criticized in some quarters as a Cold War relic, the article has nevertheless inspired this cinematic fantasia, in which the director speculates about how his parents could have met each other."Thank you, ROSKINO, for giving me the opportunity to be at this splendid event. I had a spiritual experience yesterday when I shook Park Chan-wook's hand, so I'm ecstatic right now," says Lado Kvataniya. "In my film, I tried to articulate a certain interpretation of being. Different philosophies and religious movements have different cosmologies, and they all ponder the same question: who is our creator, our father? The man whom we don't get to see in the movie––the invisible narrator, the protagonists' son––interprets his own origins. I tried to tell a non-hermetic tale, accessible to anyone in the world."Vasiliy Koretsky:"It's an intriguing genre piece of the highest production values. Not that I only appreciate big-budget filmmaking and spurn little indies––the Cannes festival has seen it all. Besides, the movie engages with the space theme ironically, without the customary pompousness. As far as the theme itself is concerned, the program had to have, shall we say, a Russian doll: something that "speaks" Russian without an accent."«Milk»Directed by Daria Vlasova Produced by Yanna BuryakStarring Vitaliy Khodin, Maria Bolonkina, Gleb Orlov, Yaroslava Bazaeva, Igor YasulovichAnother relatively big-budget selection (two million rubles), which has already been to a prestigious international festival: it premiered at the 67th Berlinale, in the Short Films Generation 14 Plus sidebar.Made by a VGIK alumna, Daria Vlasova, "Milk" thrusts the viewer into a downright bizarre situation. Imagine a 14th-floor apartment in a major city. A perfect family: mother, father, daughter, and son. One fine morning, a live cow is found in their kitchen. The family members get used to it soon, except for the grandfather (Yasulovich) who's hell-bent on killing the animal.The filmmaker told us about the inception of her idea:"About two years ago, I had this vision of a cow in the kitchen, and my imagination filled in the blanks. When I set out to do something funny, I use surreal, absurdist imagery. The movie's aesthetic had to be as antiseptic and ad-like as possible. I tried to explore the issues of contemporary society using a universal visual language: that's why it's light on dialogue. A big thank-you goes to my producer Yanna Buryak, who gave me a chance to create without thinking about the budget."It wasn't easy to find a 14th-floor apartment where a cow would be welcome: about 100 people had refused to let the producers use their kitchen, and those few who were willing demanded an amount of money enough to rent a soundstage. A special set was built for the "main character," a cow named Murka."During preproduction, we brainstormed all the possible scenarios of our cow's behavior, and built the sets and planned our schedule accordingly. We had anticipated every conceivable disruption. But Murka is an experienced actor, so everything went smoothly as she wasn't afraid of either the lights or the people around her," stressed Daria.Denis Ruzaev:"It's a clever futuristic joke. The cow provokes all kinds of emotions in the family members. No one knows where she came from. I liked how the filmmakers, through artistic means only, added a fantastic dimension to her story, as though the cow were an alien from outer space." Traditionally held at the Russian Pavilion in Village International, Global Russians presentations draw sizeable crowds of Russian and international producers, sales agents, distributors, investors, and festival curators. It gives emerging filmmakers a chance to be discovered and take the decisive leap in their careers.The Global Russians project was initiated by Roskino in 2011. Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO, is the project's author and curator. Each year, Roskino selects the best short films made in Russia. In the last five years, over 30 films have premiered at Cannes, including shorts by Zhora Kryzhovnikov, Taisia Igumentseva, Ilya Uchitel, Timofey Zhalnin, Anton Bilzho etc. The list of guest curators includes screenwriter and director Aleksey Chupov, film scholar Viktor Prokofiev, producers Ivan Lopatin and Dimitri Yakunin.  
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