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-film presentations to briefings on the most relevant industry issues to press conferences held by the filmmakers selected for the main competition. Among the 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 of Companies 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, Mila Rozanova, 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 at the 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 of Film 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 Commissioners International) 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 at Toronto 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 numerous delegates 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 professional outlets all over the world, both print and digital. Russian Pavilion events were spotlighted by publications as influential as Variety, Screen International, Cannes Market, Le Film Français, and LA Times. CNN ran a long interview with ROSKINO CEO Kate Mtsitouridze, in which she discussed the Russian presence at Cannes and the high-profile presentation of the Moscow Film Commission that featured leading film industry professionals from Russia 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 Cannes daily program (10,000 copies in circulation) were purchased as advertising space for Russian films. Seeing those covers every day gave the participants of Marché 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 PROGRAM
Moscow Film Commission Presentation
One of the Russian Pavilion's highlights was the presentation of the Moscow Film Commission intended to promote Moscow as a location for film- and TV 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 was introduced by Vladimir Filippov, Deputy Director for the Moscow Department of Culture; Evgeny Gerasimov, Head of the Commission for Culture and Mass Communications at the Moscow City Duma; Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO; and producer Igor Ugolnikov. Among their foreign colleagues invited to the event were Arie Bohrer, Head of Advisory Board, European Film Commission Network; Valérie Lépine-Karnik, CEO of Film 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; and Sigmund Elias Holm, Vice-chairman of AFCI (Association of Film Commissioners International) and Head of the West-Norwegian Film Commission. As they shared their experiences the esteemed guests explained the importance of establishing film commissions in major 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: http://filmmoscow.com/
All applications should be emailed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Presentation of New Info Resource from Cinema Fund
Anton 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 Showcase
KIT 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 Showcase
Mars 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 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. This family drama based on a true story was honored with the highly prestigious FIPRESCI Award.
Maison 1618 Showcase
The 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 and Moscow Government. It was presented by Vladimir Filippov, Deputy Director for the Moscow Department of Culture; Evgeny Gerasimov, Head of the Commission 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 Presentation
The 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 Kononenko
BREAKING UP WITH JENNY, directed by Petr Antokhin; produced by Nodar Dzhincharadze, Petr Antokhin
AMNESIA, directed and produced by Gala Shiyan
The 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 COMPETITION
Andrey 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.
"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?""
"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.
"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."
"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 RESULTS
All 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 Soviet basketball 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.
"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) and drama «Buy Me» (dir. V. Perelman). They also announced а sequel to the sci-fi blockbuster «Attraction» (dir. F. Bondarchuk).
«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.
«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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
«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 the best 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 film.