RUSSIA AT THE 69th BERLINALE AND THE EUROPEAN FILM MARKET The 69th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival and the European Film Market is taking place from February 7 to 17, 2019. Roskino supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federationis presenting the national umbrella stand ROSKINO – Russian Cinema Worldwide for the 8th year in a row, this time in cooperation with the Russian Export Center and its Made in Russia brand. The main competition lineup of the 2019 Berlinale features 23 titles from 25 countries, to be evaluated by a jury presided by the French starJuliette Binoche. The opening film is The Kindness of Strangers by Lone Scherfig (Denmark). The festival program features two first films from Russia. Acid,the directorial debut of Alexander Gorchilin, one of the stars of the Moscow Gogol Center theatre, will be screened in the Panorama section. The film deals with the problems of today’s generation. The protagonists, Sasha and Petya, lead the reckless life of musicians in the techno-style Moscow of our days: crazy parties, ups and downs, a wheel of troubled relations with the world as well as with themselves. In their generation the notions of love, family, and opportunities are corrupted, the only thing they know well is a corroding sense of loneliness. But an unexpected event makes them realize who they are. Alexander Gorchilin, Acid director: ‘My original intention was to make a film for people of my own age who party on Saturdays, study during the week, live with their parents or rent their very first apartments. But the longer I worked, the more I realized that the careless youth is not my only audience, the story also touches their parents, as I have clearly realized when it was released. Now I am wondering how it is going to be received in Berlin. I have no expectations, just trying not to think too much.’ Sabina Eremeeva, Acid producer:‘I am very excited for Sasha Gorchilin. An invitation to the Berlinale means that his directorial debut has truly happened, and the story he is telling as well as the way he is telling it are valid not only for Russia. For a producer like me a top international festival means first and foremost an opportunity to promote the film abroad. The French company WIDE is taking care of our world sales and the deals for Japan and Poland have already been closed. But this is just the beginning, and Acid is going to be presented at the film market along with the festival screenings.’ The world premiere of the other first film, A Russian Youth by Alexander Zolotukhin, a student of Alexander Sokurov, is taking place in the Forum section. This is a Lenfilm Studio production supported by Sokurov’s non-commercial fund Example of Intonation. Zolotukhin’s story explores some of the little-known facts about WWI. Alexander Zolotukhin, A Russian Youth director and screenwriter:‘We have never made a point of reconstructing the events of the First World War. Our idea was to highlight people: their thinking, their feelings, their anxieties. These people have yet to face the revolutions, conflicts, and catastrophes of the dramatic 20th century. The faces we see on the photos of those times are completely different. Hard work and hunger affect both the postures and the expressions. We have tried to pay attention to this fact and cast people whose background shows in their faces. We have looked everywhere: streets, factories, military schools. I am truly grateful to my mentor Alexander Sokurov for his precious assistance at every stage of my work.’ Alexander Sokurov, A Russian Youth artistic director:‘This film offers a unique and inseparable combination of artistic, aesthetic, historical, and national perspectives. They cultivate and elevate each other so that the director’s intentions and the idea of the film result truly noble. The film may seem somewhat naive and traditional but such are the imminent qualities of any hindsight. There is no escaping from the love for the past, the feeling for the people long gone and a strong sense of remorse. As if our own fate is expected to be better and more reliable. I suggest that you open your heart for this film and give it some credit.’ Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO:‘The market in Berlin is one of our favourite industry events. It is the first trade show of the new season so there are lots of brand new projects and a very special kind of vibe. I am happy to acknowledge that the films included in the festival lineup as well as the market titles is extremely competent and competitive. Over the years the ROSKINO stand has gained a reputation of a top notch place to go to for new quality content and comprehensive information on the Russian industry. We are glad to begin our cooperation with the Russian Export Center that from this year on is ready to endorse the international promotion of national film and TV content.’ ROSKINO – Russian Cinema Worldwide umbrella stand Over 25 Russian companies will showcase their portfolios at the EFM, notably Central Partnership, Art Pictures Studio, Mosfilm Studios, All Media Company, Wizart Animation, Mars Media, Mirsand, Russian World Vision, Planeta Inform, Riki Group, Igmar, Tvzavr, and a number of others. Over 40 new projects will be presented at the market along with the updated version of the DOORS to Russian Cinema catalogue. The two flagship projects of Central Partnership (part of Gazprom Media holding) are Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest by Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy and Billion by Roman Prygunov. Billion, a Central Partnership and RSS Production joint venture, is an adventure action comedy filmed in and outside Moscow as well as in St. Petersburg, Nice, Monte Carlo and other locations of the French Riviera. The protagonist, Matvey (Vladimir Mashkov) is an influential banker who is doing all he can to avoid sharing his possessions with his own illegitimate children. However, stripped of his fortune, Matvey realizes that he can only rely on his offspring. The billionaire has to resort to robbing his own bank in Monte Carlo but in order to succeed he first has to win the trust of the children grown up without a father. Billionis slated for national release on April 18, 2019. It will be simultaneously launched in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest starring Maryana Spivak (Loveless), Alexey Rozin (Elena, Leviathan, Loveless), and Svetlana Ustinova (Hardcore) is a co-production of several studios: Non-Stop Production by Alexander Rodnyansky and Sergey Melkumov, QS Films by Ivan Kapitonov and Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy whose portfolio includes several international box office hits of the calibre of The Mermaid. Lake of the Dead, Queen of Spades: the Dark Rite, and The Bride, and finally Central Partnership. Moreover, the project is endorsed by the national Cinema Foundation. The film tells the story of a young family moving to a new residential block in the suburbs with their newborn daughter and her teenage brother Yegor. The girl’s nanny quickly gains the confidence of both parents in spite of Yegor’s warnings. The security cameras installed by the father seem to prove that everything is alright until one day both the baby girl and the nanny disappear without a trace leaving the parents in a daze. They don’t even seem to remember they had a daughter. So Yegor and his friends organize a search party only to find out that the presumed nanny is an ancient Slavic demon popularly known as Yaga. Caterina Pshenitsyna, CP international sales director: ‘The previous horror produced by the creative duo of Kapitonov and Podgaevskiy, The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead has been sold to over 150 territories. We suppose that Yaga will follow up on this success attracting a keen interest in Berlin. We hope to close the deals for the key territories enticing the buyers with the first official trailer and the poster.’ Art Pictures Studio is showcasing Fedor Konyukhov,a new project by Fedor Bondarchuk, a biopic of the famous Russian explorer focusing on his solo air balloon voyage around the world in 2016. The two other important titles are Attraction 2 by the same Bondarchuk, and Sputnikby Egor Abramenko, co-production of Art Pictures Studio, VODOROD и Hype Film. Wizart studio is focusing on Snow Queen: Mirrorlands, the fourth instalment of the top international box office hit in the records of Russian independent animation. The film is produced by Yuri Moskvin, Vladimir Nikolaev, Boris Mashkovtsev, Pavel Stepanov, and Vadim Vereshchagin. Soyuzmultfilm studios, Central Partnership, and the Chinese HY Mediaalso took part in the project. Yuri Moskvin, Wizart managing producer: ‘During Christmas holidays Mirrorlands opened in Russia, the Baltic states, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, and even in Vietnam. German, French, Chinese, and Middle Eastern releases are still ahead. Meanwhile the third instalment of the franchise, Fire and Ice, rated the 6th top independent animation project in the international box office of 20172018. We’ll be happy to meet both established and new partners in Berlin.’ The second Wizart title in the EFM lineup is Sheep and Wolves: Pig Deal. In 2016 the previous instalment of the franchise was the very first independent animation from Russia to get a theatrical release in Scandinavia. The next part has already been acquired for Norway, Turkey, Middle East, and several countries of Central Europe. International sales of Fantastic Return to OZ are also kicking off in Berlin. The villain is trying to exact his revenge and get at Dorothy’s silver slippers. The Emerald City and its citizens are in danger once again, so Dorothy and her friend Tim are in for new adventures. The industry screening is slated for February 10. The All Media Company EFM lineup includes the new war thriller Saving Leningrad by Alexey Kozlov, The Conquest of Siberia, Igor Zaytsev’s epic tale of the times of Peter the Great, and The Superfamily 2, a family comedy by Dmitry Dyachenko. Mars Mediais going to focus on T-34,a WWII action thriller by Alexey Sidorov, one of the recent headliners of the national box office. The plot centers on the clash between two tank aces, the German Hauptmann Yager and the Junior Lieutenant Ivushkin who has managed to escape from Nazi captivity. MosFilm Studiosis presenting Decision: Liquidation, a true-story-based thriller by Alexander Aravin focusing on one of the most dramatic chapters of Russia’s recent history. The film follows the vicissitudes of an elaborate intelligence operation planned to destroy the guerilla leader Shamil Basayev. The script is based on the reports and records of some of the actual participants. Negotiations will carry on concerning Karen Shakhnazarov’s period drama Anna Karenina: Vronsky’s Story, a loose adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Vikenty Veresaev’s In The War. Russian World Vision will carry on with the sales of The House Elf, a family fantasy by Evgeny Bedarev slated for national release on April 11, 2019. The deal for Germany has already been closed. Presales will start for two projects currently in development, The Forest by Evgeny Puzyrevskiy and The Locked Door by Arseny Syukhin. Both titles are already sold to Vietnam. The RWV line up also includes The Big Dealby Mikhail Raskhodnikov, Follow Your Dream by Antonina Ruzhe, All or Nothing by Dmitry Suvorov, and Temporary Difficulties by Mikhail Raskhodnikov. The portfolio is enhanced by Break, a thriller by Tigran Saakyan, and Konstantin Maximov’s war drama Insuperable. Planeta Inform Group is presenting The Dawn,a new horror by Pavel Sidorov starring Oksana Akinshina. The new production of the duo behind the international success of The Bride, Dmitry Litvinov and Vladislav Severtsev, tells the story of a girl who mysteriously loses her brother. She suffers from vivid nightmares and decides to undergo a treatment in a somnology institute where she is induced into a conscious dream shared with other patients. But come dawn they wake up in a different reality that is worse than any nightmare. The flagship project by Igmar productions is the historical drama Cry of Silence by Vladimir Potapov, an adaptation of Tamara Tsinberg’s short novel The Seventh Symphony set in wartime Leningrad. A girl named Kate saves a little boy abandoned by his mother. Together the two children have to face the cold, starvation, bombings, cowardice, and betrayal in order to survive under siege. Riki Groupis focusing on two feature animations by Denis Chernov, My Toy Panda, an action comedy slated for national release on October 27, 2019, and Our Friend Finnick, a family comedy currently in development. Tvzavris presenting MoviesChain, one of the first film platforms using blockchain-based technologies to connect independent filmmakers to their audiences. The company considers this resource a revolution in independent distribution that decentralizes and disintermediates the global distribution industry, delivering unmatched efficiency, transparency, and global scalability. Olesya Teplova, MoviesChain Vice President for Strategic Communications: ‘Most importantly, the platform opens up new perspectives for independent filmmakers. It offers a simple and financially attractive online solution that eliminates all intermediaries. The audiences benefit from being able to stream the films right after their festival premieres.’ The ROSKINO – Russian Cinema Worldwideumbrella stand at the EFM will feature a corner dedicated to the Moscow Film Commissionset up by ROSKINO with the support of the Moscow Government. The ROSKINO team will hold meetings with international industry professionals to discuss projects in development that potentially could be filmed in Moscow. To promote the city and its diverse locations ROSKINO initiated the Moscow in Motion multimedia project that includes a series of 450 photo images taken by the acclaimed photographer Anton Lange over the year, a location guide for international productions, the Moscow in Motion action short, and the Film Moscow AR app. The entire project will be presented within the EFM framework. ROSKINO jointly with the Made in Russianational brand and the Russian Export Centerwill host a series of special events to promote the export potential of the Russian film industry. The program includes a showcase of major recent projects created by Russian content exporters, a panel discussion on the role of creative industries in international partnerships, and an evening reception. The event will take place in the conference space of the Adlon Kempinski hotel (Unter den Linden 77, 10117, Berlin) on February 9, 2019, from 18.00 to 22.30. The roster of panel speakers includes Russian and international film industry professionals: producers, sales agents, distributors, investors, experts in production insurance, and private equity funds. They are going to discuss their experiences of international co-productions and their future prospects, co-productions as investment strategies from the Russian and international perspective, and interstate partnerships in film industry. The program features pitches by several major Russian productions, including Mosfilm, Wizart, All Media, Mars Media, Planeta Inform, and a number of others. Over 9 thousand visitors are expected at the 2019 edition of the EFM, including 1500 buyers, 480 market participants, and international industry journalists. More info: Natalia AdamovaROSKINO Press Relations+7 926 222 68 email@example.com
OUTCOMES OF THE RUSSIAN STAND AT AFM The American Film Market (AFM), one of the key industry events of the year, was held in Los Angeles during the first week of November. ROSKINO supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation has been an official partner of the leading US film market for 8 years in a row.This year’s lineup included over 7000 participants from 80 countries that presented over 2000 projects at various production stages. Deals for a total of $1 bln were closed during the market, covering projects at diverse completion phases.The market program featured a thriving Location EXPO section that showcased over 100 film commissions and governmental agencies with special offers for international film crews. The Moscow Film Commission used the opportunity to reiterate the news of its main features for the American audience. The agency is aimed at supporting Russian and international film and TV productions in setting up filming in Moscow, streamlining all kinds of administrative, organizational, and operational affairs as well as permitting for restricted locations. The Moscow government takes charge of the red tape issues and offers assistance in obtaining filming permits for projects that shoot on location.ROSKINO presented its high-profile initiative, the Moscow in Motion multimedia project aimed at promoting the Russian capital as a diverse and flexible filming destination. The project combines a series of 450 images of Moscow locations shot over the year by the renowned photographer Anton Lange, a location guide for international producers, the Moscow in Motion action short, and the Film Moscow AR smartphone app. International industry professionals commended the project and were extremely positive about Moscow’s chances of placing itself on the world location map. The ROSKINO team held over 90 meetings in Santa Monica and received dozens of requests for more details on filming regulations in Moscow. As a result, 17 productions currently developing projects of various scales contacted the Moscow Film Commission for co-production opportunities.Katia Mtsitouridze, Roskino CEO:‘We have received many exciting proposals of co-productions with Russia. For instance, Dreams Beyond Entertainment LLC, a global Indian production company based in Mumbai with a branch in New York is currently developing Clowns, a family drama that is set for filming in Moscow in November, 2019. The team is currently scouting for locations and looking for English-speaking Russian actors. The ROSKINO team has been advising the project since Cannes. The producer Ashish Wagh is planning a visit to Moscow at the earliest possibility to set up production and finalize locations. He is willing to work with the Moscow Film Commission in that respect.Ron Singerton, the author of the bestselling novel A Cherry Blossom in Winter, is currently discussing a co-production with Russian companies, counting on MFC support. At the moment the producers are adapting the book into a period drama about the Russo-Japanese war, to be filmed in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Japan late in 2019.Jonathan Robert Adler, Head of Grey Eagle Films, and Warren Adler, the author of the bestselling The War of the Roses, contacted us about their Trans-Siberian Express project. The producers are looking for a Russian partner to undertake a joint adaptation and make a feature film, potentially with MFC support.George Ferris, a Hollywood-based writer, is working on a project set during WWII that is supposed to be filmed in Moscow and St. Petersburg, among other places. It is a $50 mln project with principal photography scheduled to start by the end of 2019.This is just a sample of the projects we found through our proactive advertising and campaigning at the AFM. Dozens of companies were interested in working with the MFC and finding Russian partners.’The Moscow Film Commission was also featured at the Production Without Borders panel co-organized by Cloud 21 digital marketing and PR agency and Kultura PR Internationaljointly with Roskino. The list of speakers included the founder of the International Film Trust Michael Benaroya, ROSKINO CEO Katya Mtsitouridze, the founder and CEO of Nantouselta Entertaiment Shari O’Donnell, the founding partner of Metan Global group Larry Namer, and Double 4 Studios President Andrei Zinca. The project was moderated by the British award-winning director Kate Rees Davies. The participants discussed some of the key issues of international film and TV co-productions and their future prospects.Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO‘We are having a hard time because of the sanctions, and yet co-productions are more than possible. We are working on three projects with China, there are some ideas in development with Poland and Kazakhstan. However in most cases they result from personal contacts rather than government initiatives. Tax rebates have yet to be introduced although some progress is being made in that respsect. For the moment ROSKINO as the international representative of the Russian film industry gets a lot of co-production requests that we redirect to national film companies with relative experience.’Andrei Zinca, film producer, Double 4 Studios President (Romania):‘It is high time to build bridges, and the film industry offers an excellent basis for that. I come from Romania, and we have spent 15 years setting up a system of tax rebates for international film productions. It was not an easy thing to achieve but the efforts are paying off. Now we get many crews coming to film in our country.’Larry Namer, producer, Metan Global President & CEO (US)‘We were the ones to bring Santa Barbara to Russia. We have also organized rock group tours and launched an entertainment TV channel, so all in all I have spent lots of time in Russia. And I must compliment Moscow on its newly established film commission. Frankly speaking, it was long due because it is quite hard for a foreigner to deal with filming regulations in Russia or for that matter in any other country with an unfamiliar legislation and administrative framework.’Russian productions were showcased at the ROSKINO – Russian Cinema Worldwide umbrella stand that traditionally included All Media, Riki Group, Russian World Vision, Mirsand, Parovoz Studio, RFG Distribution, Film Collection, and other Russian production and distribution companies. The program featured a presentation of the updated DOORS traveling film market at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. The new version lists over 40 national titles of 2016-2018.ALL MEDIA showcased Saving Leningrad, a war drama by Aleksey Kozlov based on the true story of the barge 752 that had capsized on Lake Ladoga during the siege of Leningrad. Negotiations went on about The Conquest of Siberia, Igor Zaytsev’s epic tale of the conquest of Siberia, and Super Family: Better Than Avengers, the second instalment of Dmitry Dyachenko’s comedy franchise.Zhanna Shakhshaeva, All Media Head of international Department:‘Our main AFM highlights included Saving Leningrad, a wartime action, the wartime drama Sobibor, and Superfamily-2, a family comedy. The first and the last title are currently negotiated with the UK, Spain, Germany, Korea, and China. We have already closed the deals on The Conquest of Siberia with Spain, Germany, and the former Yugoslavian countries. As for Sobibor, all rights for the US have been acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films. We have also got a distributor in Latin America’.The Riki Group lineup included several feature animations: My Toy Panda by Denis Chernov, My Friend Finnick by Denis Chernov, and Super Tina by Andrey Bakhurin.Diana Yurinova, VP International development, Riki Group‘We are very happy with this year’s market outcomes. Both our new projects attracted distributors and buyers from different countries and got good reviews. Our meetings resulted in preliminary agreements and we are going to close deals for Middle East and the former Yugoslavia on My Friend Finnick. My Toy Panda appealed to US, Indian, German, Vietnamese, and Latin American companies. Deals for Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, France and the Baltic countries will be signed shortly.’Russian World Vision used the AFM as an opportunity to present The House Elf, a family fantasy by Evgeny Bedarev, and two horror features currently in production, The Forest by Evgeny Puzyrevsky, and The Locked Door by Arseny Syukhin as well as some other new titles. Sales went on for Tankers by Konstantin Maximov, Break by Tigran Saakyan, Temporary Difficulties by Mikhail Raskhodnikov, The First and All or Nothing by Dmitry Suvorov, and a number of other titles.Ekaterina Levitan, RWV Head of International Department‘Our new fantasy project attracted buyers from all over the world. For instance, we had an offer from German-speaking territories and are now finalizing the deal. For the two horror features currently in pre-production, The Forest and The Locked Door, we are considering an offer of theatrical distribution in Vietnam. The distributors of that country are also interested in Break. Chinese distributors are discussing Seven Dinners by Kirill Pletnyov, All or Nothing, Mikhail Raskhodnikov’s new project under the working title of The Big Deal, and Antonina Ruzhe’s comedy Follow Your Dream. These titles have also attracted the buyers working with international airlines. We are also negotiating the deal with a Chinese distributor for Temporary Difficulties, and rights are going to be sold to international airlines as well. Moreover, rights for Break and Tankers are still on the table for countries that are as yet uncovered.’Mirsand Ltd distributions showcased Timur Bekmambetov’s Profile, an online terrorist thriller, winner of the audience award at the Panorama section of Berlinale-2018.Parovoz Studio announced a 6 min educational animation project, Boo the Cat and the Good Boy by Roman Vereschak as well as Koshchey. The True Story, a family adventure by Andrey Kolpin scheduled for release in 2020.Marie Llida, Parovoz Studio International Projects producer‘Parovoz Studio presented two new projects: Koshchey. The True Story, a feature animation, and an animated series under the title of Boo the Cat and the Good Boy. Both projects have been well received by AFM participants. We have discussed potential cooperation with digital platform content aggregators and other perspective partners. We have also had a new round of negotiations with our Latin American partners to work on a co-production aimed at Spanish-speaking territories.’Film Collection showcased Pain Threshold, a thriller by Andrey Simonov narrating the story of a group of young people that fight for their dear life against the striking settings of Altai Mountains. The film generated a lot of interest at the AFM, and negotiations with several international buyers were opened as a follow-up of the market.The AFM lineup of RFG Distribution featured Never Say Goodbye by Pavel Drozdov, Witnesses by Konstantin Fam, Escape to Greece by Stas Ivanov,The Last Trial by Alexey A. Petrukhin, and The Lost Reflection by Elena Zhigaeva.Marina Mnatsakyan, RFG Distribution Head of Sales:‘The AFM was an intense and exciting time for us. Apart from negotiating the distribution of our own projects, we decided to acquire a number of titles to diversify our content portfolio, and next year we are going to start a co-production with Poland and India. We’ve got big plans, and our team is set on their implementation. As for the market follow-ups, a series of deals are currently being finalized.’
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