OUTCOMES OF THE RUSSIAN PAVILION AT THE 71ST CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND MARKET
The Russian delegation was brought to the 71st Cannes International Film Festival and Marché du Film by Roskino with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Government of Moscow, owing to the strategic partnership of Aeroflot Russian Airlines PJSC and the patronage of the strategic partner Len Blavatnik.
For the last 11 years the Russian pavilion officially represents the country at the Cannes Festival and Marché du Film and provides a consolidated information center for Russian filmmakers as well as a universal platform for promotion of Russian films at global markets.
In 8 days the Russian pavilion hosted 14 events attended by over 4500 industry professionals. The programming ranged from feature and short films presentations to participants’ press conferences and panels covering topical issues on today’s industry agenda. 85 top industry professionals from Russia and other countries took part in these events, including the executive director of Marché du Film Jérôme Paillard, Sony Pictures Classics Co-President Tom Bernard, Zephyr Films president Chris Curling, AFCI Vice President Jess Conoplia, Heartland Films Inc. founder Sue Vicory, TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey, TIFF Documentary associate programmer Dorota Lech, producer, director and Fusion Features founder Debbie Vandermeulen, Taormina and Sardinia film festivals manager Tiziana Rocca, director and Bad Hat Films founder David Raynor, Head of International department of ANICA Association of Italian Producers Roberto Stabile, Eurimages representative Vadim Lysikov, The Guardian’s chief film critic Peter Bradshaw along with representatives of Busan, Beijing, Montreal, Tallinn, Chicago and other film festivals from around the globe.
DDA, the leading global film and entertainment PR agency, was responsible for the international promotion and coverage of the Russian Pavilion’s activities. In 8 days 20 press releases were written and sent out through the exclusive database of over 6000 international printed and online industrial outlets. The Russian Pavilion was covered by top industry publications including Variety, Screen International, Indie Entertainment Magazine, Le Film Français, along with other British, American, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Croatian, and French media. The panel held in the Russian Pavilion was covered by the VIVAGLAM magazine multimedia website. The French IDFM radio station interviewed Roskino CEO Katya Mtsitouridze on Russian participation in the Cannes festival and film market and paid particular attention to the high-profile presentation of the Moscow Film Commission that had attracted top industry professionals from around the world.
71ST CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL LINEUP
This year Russia had 5 titles in the official selection of the festival, a record number over the past few years. Most notably, there were two Russian films in the main competition: Summer, a biopic by Kirill Serebrennikov, and Ayka, a social drama by Sergey Dvortsevoy. Both of them received awards. The performance of Ayka’s lead actress Samal Yeslyamova scored the prestigious Best Actress award and Summer received the independent Cannes Soundtrack award for the performance of Zveri (Beasts) band.
Samal Yeslamova, actress, winner of the Best Actress award of the 71st Cannes Film Festival:
‘I am totally and completely happy. I cannot even grasp the full meaning of what happened that night. I would like to thank the festival, the jury, but first and foremost Sergey Dvortsevoy. He is a wonderful person and a great director.’
Sergey Dvortsevoy, director:
‘I am so happy for Samal. She is a wonderful actress. The film was a tough challenge for her but she made it and I am glad the jury appreciated her performance. It is very important for the whole team. Although Ayka is an international co-production of five countries it is first and foremost a Russian film and a Russian victory. I would also like to express my gratitude for festival support and lasting attention towards independent filmmaking to Roskino and personally Katya Mtsitouridze who has been helping us at various stages of this production for several years.’ Another Russian title, Calendar, a short by the young director Igor Poplaukhin, won the second prize of the prestigious Cinéfondation section. Poplaukhin’s drama along with 17 other titles was selected out of 2,500 submissions from around the world.
The lineup of Semaine de la Critique, or International Critics Week, included Normal by the young Russian director Mikhail Borodin while the Cannes Classics section, a true cinephile haven, featured Sergey Bondarchuk’s War and Peace. Film I. Andrei Bolkonsky, the first episode of the acclaimed four-part epic meticulously restored by Mosfilm studios specialists, with the personal support of the studio’s head Karen Shakhnazarov.
Katya Mtsitouridze, Roskino CEO:
‘It has been an unforgettable year in Cannes with a total of five Russian films in different sections and two jury members judging the main competition and Un certain regard section. Roskino’s partnership with the Producers Network brought Russian filmmakers into the spotlight of the best possible platform for co-production partnerships. All the events of the Russian Pavilion generated a lot of interest from the public and the international press. The market participants registered an increasing demand for Russian projects that manifested itself through distribution deals for various territories of Europe, Asia and North America. Several territories were interested in Russian titles of the main competition line-up: rights for Kirill Serebrennikov’s Summer and Sergey Dvorstevoy’s Ayka are being handled by top European sales agents. The Best Actress award bestowed upon Samal Yeslyamova, the main star of Sergey Dvortsevoy’s Ayka, is an acknowledgement of the fact that Russian independent cinema fits into the international framework perfectly well. It is especially important considering the troubled global agenda. Positive news about Russia are more important than ever.’
Focus on Russia at Producers Network
The Producers Network Country Spotlight section in the Village International included a special session focused on Russia where Roskino CEO Katya Mtsitouridze presented six young Russian producers with internationally oriented projects open for co-production.
Mila Rozanova of New People Film Company showcased Ivan Tverdovsky’s latest project Jumpman and had a series of meetings with representatives of Eurimages and co-production markets of IFFR and the Berlinale as well as programmers of Karlovy Vary and Toronto international film festivals. Business talks were held with several production companies: Arizona (France), Tremora (Lithuania), and FAME (Ireland). The good news is that Jumpman will feature in the main competition lineup of the Karlovy Vary international film festival.
Ekaterina Filippova of Pan Atlantic studio had a tight meeting schedule that involved pitching The Man Who Surprised Everyone, a Russian/French/Estornian co-production directed by Natalya Merkulova and Alexey Chupov.
Katerina Mikhailova, CEO and producer of Vega Film, showcased Dolls by Andrey Troitsky and She Has a Different Name by Veta Geraskina starring Svetlana Khodchenkova. Both projects attracted considerable attention and the presentation led to numerous meetings. Gørild Mauseth of Orto Polare AS from Norway was especially interested in Dolls. Eileen Tasca, managing director of Alien Films and Task Films, is also considering cooperation options.
Soyuzmultfilm studio launched several new projects including Smart Clay Numbers by Sergey Merinov, Orange Cow by Maria Koneva and Irina Elshanskaya, Chequered Zebra by Andrey Kuznetsov, Pirate School by Alexey Lebedev, and Hoffmaniada by Stanislav Sokolov.
Katerina Tarbo-Ignatenko of Viva Films pitched Crystal Swan by Darya Zhuk, a Belorussian/Russian/US/German co-production that attracted both festival programmers and distributors and allowed Viva Films to meet new potential partners. As an outcome of the Producers Network meetings, Crystal Swan will be opening the East of the West section of the Karlovy Vary festival. Negotiations are going on with Marc-Henri Wajnberg from Belgium and his colleagues from Luxembourg. Canadian, Indian, Ukrainian and British companies are also considering some options.
Sergey Yakhontov joined the Producers Network to pitch a new project of Stereotactic studio, The Snow Way. He participated in a masterclass held by top management of two famous independent studios, FilmNation and XYZ Films, and held negotiations with Andy Whittaker, the founder of the legendary Dogwoof documentary distribution company from the UK.
RUSSIAN PAVILION 2018
Presentation of 1968.digital mobile-first series
The Future History creative studio of Mikhail Zygar and Karen Shainyan jointly with Timur Bekmambetov’s Bazelevs Production launched the pioneering mobile-first vertical series with innovative interactive Screenlife elements. The project was presented at the Russian pavilion by its co-creators, the screenwriter and director Mikhail Zygar and executive producer Karen Shainyan. The producer Timur Bekmambetov addressed the public through a video message.
Mikhail Zygar, Future History studio founder:
‘I think 1968 is a crucial moment that shaped the world we live in today. It is the year of the introduction of the earliest Internet, the year when the sexual revolution along with revolutions in fashion and music took shape. Our project is focused on persons who were 20 to 30 years old at the time and behaved much like us. We used a new cinematic language to close the gap between us and the people of 50 years ago. The older generation often scolds the young for living in their smartphones and missing out on self-education. We tried to accept this reality and use it to our advantage, to translate history into a cinematic language that would be relevant today.’
Rabbit Paw presentation
The drama was presented by the director Nana Dzhodzhadze, winner of Cannes awards and member of American and European film academies along with the producer Julia Sobolevskaya and the screenwriter Irina Mariychuk. Principal photography of the project starring Pierre Richard, Evgeniya Dobrovolskaya and Evgeniy Tkachuk is starting in June, 2018.
58.5 Production studio showcase
Producer and lead actor Alexey Guskov presented The Eternal Life of Alexander Christoforov jointly with the actor Igor Ugolnikov. The latest 58.5 Production project is directed and partially written by Evgeniy Shelyakin. The comedy tells the story of its namesake, a famous Soviet actor that now is relegated to the miserable life of an extra in a theme park where he impersonates a Roman general. However, the director of the park played by Igor Ugolnikov is constantly threatening him with a transfer to the Christianity pavilion to become Jesus Christ. Alexander’s only son does not want to have anything to do with him, and his ex-wife considers him a public danger. Moreover, his medical perspectives are hardly promising. And yet he gets an unexpected gift of fate: a loving woman and eternal life. The film has a formidable cast with Oksana Fandera playing the protagonist's true love.
Alexey Guskov, actor, producer:
‘All good comedies are intrinsically sad: there is no laughter without tears. Ironically, sad stories are the funniest ones. This film has a lot of humour, self-mockery and reflects some of my own experiences. I have realized that being able to laugh at oneself is paramount.’
The film is slated for release by Nashe Kino on October 18, 2018.
VOENFILM Studio Showcase
The two VOENFILM Studio projects, Last Frontier and Saving Pushkin, were presented by the general producer Igor Ugolnikov and the creative producer Evgeniy Ayzikovich. Last Frontier directed by Vadim Shmelev narrates of the heroic combat deeds of the Podolsk artillery and infantry school cadets that were ordered to improvise a defense at the Ilyinsky frontier outside Moscow in October, 1941 and hold off the Nazi troops until reinforcements manage to arrive. Young boys sacrificed their lives to stop the greatly outnumbering forces of the enemy. The project is endorsed by the senator Viacheslav Fetisov.
Igor Ugolnikov, general producer:
‘The story of the Podolsk cadets is mind blowing, and yet it is hardly known. Evgeniy and I did an extensive research in the Defence ministry archives and ended up finding out all the names and knowing of each and every one of the 3500 personally. The experience of The Fortress of War and Battalion trained us to stick to the facts while appealing to the sensitivity of the public and creating relatable characters so that the people in the audience keep thinking: what would I do at this point? This is exactly how we intend to proceed with the story of the heroic cadets from Podolsk.’
The second VOENFILM project, Saving Pushkin, is set in Mikhailovskoe, outside Pskov, in the winter of 1943-1944. The Pushkin family estate had been seized by the Nazis at the very beginning of the war and used for exemplary execution of the locals. Some of them go into hiding and join the guerrilla forces while others collaborate with the occupants. The village handyman Sergey hopes to sit it out without taking sides but his fate is turned around by the arrival of Frau Schiller, a professor of literature who comes from Germany to explain the great Russian poetry to Wehrmacht soldiers and local peasants. Sergey and Frau Maria find solace in Pushkin’s lines as well as in each other but soon the headquarters in Berlin order all historical valuables to be removed from Mikhailovskoe. Sergei wants to save the national patrimony at all costs. The plot is based on the true story of Frau Schiller of Goethe Institute who visited Pskov in 1941.
Igor Ugolnikov, director and general producer:
‘The magic of Pushkin’s poetry reconciles the irreconcilable and totally changes all mindsets. It uplifts and awakens love in spite of wartime cruelties.’
Two stars, the Russian Sergey Bezrukov and the German Ute Lemper, are attached to the project that secured the support of the Russian Ministry of Culture. Principal photography is sheduled to start on May 10, 2019. The producers held a series of meetings with potential German partners at the Cannes market.
Moscow Film Commission presentation
The Russian Pavilion hosted the presentation of the Moscow Film Commission initiated by Roskino with the endorsement of the Moscow Government in order to assist local and international productions in setting up filming in Moscow, streamline and fast-track organisational, administrative and production issues, facilitate filming permits and access to sensitive and restricted locations.
Pilot programs started already in 2017, and on February 21, 2018 an interdepartmental authority for facilitation of filming on location in Moscow was formally established by Moscow Government decree, with the Deputy Mayor Leonid Pechatnikov as President, the Head of the Moscow Department of Culture Alexandr Kibovsky as Vice President, and Moskino CEO Svetlana Maksimchenko as Secretary-General.
The presentation was delivered by Roskino CEO and creator of the Moscow in Motion project Katya Mtsitouridze alongside the acclaimed photo artist and Moscow in Motion co-creator Anton Lange, Moskino President Igor Ugolnikov, Secretary-General of the Moscow Film Commission Svetlana Maksimchenko, and Valeriy Kupeyev of the MVC International Department, with the participation of a special guest, AFCI Executive Vice President Jess Conoplia.
Katya Mtsitouridze, Roskino CEO:
‘The Roskino team jointly with our international colleagues of DDA communication agency came up with a slogan: Shoot Moscow in Moscow! The international film professionals used to have security and economic concerns about the Russian capital. As it is, Moscow is now one of the world’s most comfortable and welcoming cities, the rest is history. On top of that, the favourable exchange rates make Moscow a competitive low-cost filming destination. Locations of Budapest and Prague fail to render its unique metropolitan spirit while Moscow itself, once you are there, offers many sites that look like other world capitals and lend themselves favourably for shooting. Unfortunately rebates for international film crews are still on their way. However, the Moscow City Government and the Moscow Film Commission it established offer preferential treatment as well as discounts at local top notch production services and equipment rentals. These favourable conditions mean that shooting in Moscow ultimately pays off even when compared with cities that have a working tax refund system. The whole team behind the Moscow Film Commission and related projects would like to express heartfelt gratitude to the Head of the Moscow Department of Culture Alexander Kibovsky, his deputy Vladimir Filippov, the Head of the Moscow Department of Transportation, Deputy Mayor Maxim Liksutov, Deputy Mayor Leonid Pechatnikov, and most of all to the man whose personal understanding, endorsement and participation made it all happen, namely to the Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin.’
The speakers illustrated the strategic aims and first year results of the Moscow Film Commission. Several ambitious pilot projects created to promote Moscow as a filming destination and facilitate the shooting process were presented to the audience, including Moscow in Motion, a multimedia project initiated by Katya Mtsitouridze to promote Moscow and its multitude of diverse locations. It combines photography, an action short, and an AR smartphone app.
The Russian Pavilion hosted the premiere of the Moscow in Motion short that was filmed in a variety of restricted and sensitive locations made available by municipal and federal authorities, including the Presidential Administration, the Moscow Government, the Ministries of Defence, Foreign Affairs, Interior, and Emergencies along with the Federal Security Service, Federal Security Guard Service, the National Guard, and many other structures.
Katya Mtsitouridze, the project’s general producer, received a warm applause and acclaim from colleagues that she shared with the whole crew. The short is meant to demonstrate the various prospects Moscow has to offer including the Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow City skyscrapers and the Tretyakov Gallery, Luzhniki Arena, several waterways, intricate road junctions, Moscow Central Railway, the Triumphal Arch, the Russian State Library, and many other sites.
One of the top Russian professionals, internationally acclaimed photographer Anton Lange is attached to the photo part of the project. He has already shot hundreds of city locations that were made available by the Moscow Government and personally by the Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. The project will feature images of all seasons. Roskino intends to publish a 400-page photo album and a compact production guide to facilitate location scouting for international productions. Every night the Russian Pavilion ran out of production guides with two different sets of covers that were offered to the public: apparently Cannes had much more visiors interested in filming in Moscow than expected.
Anton Lange, photographer, winner of several international awards:
‘Oddly enough, the most difficult thing to shoot is the city you live in. Katya suggested the subject, Moscow in Motion, and it proved fascinating. I am proud to be a part of this ambitious initiative and the wonderful Roskino team.’
The Moscow in Motion AR smartphone app presented jointly with the film uses over 200 episodes of Soviet and Russian film classics shot in the Russian capital to make virtual tours.
Roskino commissioned by the Moscow Department of Culture created the Moscow Film Commission website that is currently in test mode. It will be launched shortly after final approval. The website provides a full production toolkit including unique comprehensive databases of internationally oriented local productions, top notch equipment rentals, and English-speaking talents with their representatives. Roskino jointly with the Moscow Department of Transportation and Infrastructure established a clear set of rules and regulations concerning shooting in various city locations including waterways and road junctions that comes complete with a reliable timeline for obtaining the necessary permits. The website also provides the necessary details on visas, filming permits, and the MFC itself.
Svetlana Maksimchenko, MFC Secretary General
‘It is essential for us to promote the image of Moscow as a diverse metropolis that can turn both ancient and futuristic. We place no restrictions on the creative side of the projects. Quite the contrary, we try to open up previously inaccessible locations. For instance, just recently we managed to secure Vasilyevsky Spusk, the part of Red Square that descends towards the river, for the crew of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Gleb Panfilov. We even obtained the temporary closure of a part of the Kremlin embankment. Аnother example: some episodes of Frenchman by Andrei Smirnov were filmed on the Teatralnaya square in front of the Bolshoi and inside the Moscow Metro. And we are not going to stop there. In a short while our website will offer a comprehensive database of locations and certified film services available in Moscow. This selection will facilitate the work of international producers that was previously hindered by the uncertainty of choice. I must also mention that in full compliance with international standards the consultancy and services of the MFC are offered completely free of charge. As for the pressing issue of the Football Cup, no one could even dream of filming during such events before, and now it is made possible.’
The MFC has already joined the AFCI, the worldwide network of film commissioners that rely on State support to attract film productions to their regions.
Jess Conoplia, AFCI Vice President
‘I have been to many places around the world and I have to admit that Moscow is one of the most beautiful, clean and safe cities I have ever seen. My MFC colleagues demonstrated the full range of their resources and I believe that the city has all the prerequisites for quality, safe, and cost-efficient filming. I am much impressed by the commitment of the municipal authorities to the cultural agenda. The support of the Moscow Government is extremely valuable.’
Russian Film Industry 2017 analytical report presentation
The Russian Film Fund presented the English version of the analytical report on Russian film industry in 2017. The research features key numbers and trends of national production, distribution and box office with insider comments on perspectives. The presentation was delivered by the Russian Cinema Fund CEO Anton Malyshev and the Head of Analytic Department Fyodor Sosnov.
Big Cinema Studio Showcase
The Unforgiven was presented by the director Sarik Andreasyan, the main star Dmitriy Nagiev, and the producers Gevond Andreasyan and Armen Ananikyan. The film is based on the true story of the architect Vitaly Kaloyev who lost his family in a terrible air disaster. The film uncovers the reasons behind the dramatic consequences of the crush. Unforgiven is slated for release by Karoprokat on September 27, 2018.
Dmitriy Nagiev, actor:
‘I come across lots of scripts but Unforgiven is truly gripping from the very first lines. It is probably the only thing I read over the last few years that made me cry like a fine novel. It does not matter to me if I look like Kaloyev or not. Our project is a work of fiction. The hardest part of all was gathering body parts of children at the crush site: the set designers and makeup artists made it all look quite real. I believe the story shows that even in the darkest of times there is a ray of hope that one should follow. Moreover, I think Russian cinema gained a true master that for some reason used to hide behind dubious projects.’
Global Film Showcase panel
The Global Film Showcase panel was co-organized by Cloud 21 International, Roskino, and Kultura PR International. Leading industry specialists discussed topical issues on today’s agenda focusing on the most relevant global trends such as gender equality, female empowerment, documentary cinema boom, international co-productions and other crucial industry subjects.
The list of speakers who shared their experiences included the acclaimed actress Sariann Monaco, Roskino CEO and Channel One film expert Katya Mtsitouridze, director and Bad Hat Films founder David Raynor, director and Heartland Films Inc. founder Sue Vicory, and Fusion Features CEO Debbie Vandermeulen.
David Raynor, director and Bad Hat Films founder:
"I think the state of the global film industry has never been better. Some people might disagree with me, especially the major film companies, but I see real stories being told now. The scripting is better, the big budgets are gone, with exception to the Marvel movies and some animation. Thus, more films will be made because of the ceiling of the $10 million investment which has been targeted by production and film companies."
Debbie Vandermeulen, producer, Fusion Features founder and CEO:
‘First of all, investors are very sensitive to the transparency of information the producers provide on the project. They have to be sure you offer full details in all honesty. All the fragments of the puzzle have to fit and be transparent. Moverover, producers always have to be open for new partnerships and collaborations with filmmakers of different countries and regions.’
Sue Vicory, director, Heartland Films Inc. founder:
‘I have filmed both domestically and internationally. Opportunities are made by the filmmaker. Being a woman has had no bearing on my ability or inability to get things done to my satisfaction. The only limitations are my own.’
Presentation of The Case. The Story of Anatoly Sobchak, Vladimir Putin’s Patron
Xenia Sobchak presented a documentary that investigated the political biography of her father, Anatoly Sobchak. She co-wrote the script with the acclaimed journalist and director Vera Krichevskaya while Nino Maisaia produced the project. The creators believe that apart from neatly summing up the political situation in the run-up of the 1996 presidential election the film offers a lot of insights into the current state of affairs.
The Case is dedicated to the first Mayor of St. Petersburg and co-author of the Russian constitution Anatoly Sobchak, the man who introduced his former student Vladimir Putin to politics. In June, 1996 Sobchak lost the regional election to his deputy Vladimir Yakovlev, and that was the end of his political career. In 1997 Putin helped Sobchak go get out of the country and move to France in the midst of a raging smear campaign. The ex-Mayor became the very first political emigrant in the history of democratic Russia. Shortly before the presidential election of 2000 he briefly returned only to die suddenly a few months later.
The film is based on an extensive interview with Vladimir Putin that took place on September 19, 2017. This is the first time the Russian President ever spoke of his role in smuggling Anatoly Sobchak out to France. Sobchak joins Krichevskaya to give the floor to her father’s colleagues and opponents. She reads the materials of the case that ruined his career and tries to imagine his feelings in today’s Russia. In front of a packed pavilion where Sobchak’s mother Lyudmila Narusova was among the special guests Xenia admitted that she dreaded the project.
Xenia Sobchak, journalist and co-author of the film:
‘I have to admit I never fully believed what my mother told me about my father. As a journalist I always doubted and challenged these stories. I thought she was just upholding her late husband’s honour as a loyal wife would, and I was ready to face some unnerving truths. What I found out was that my father was really a victim. The film helped me to get a heavy load off my chest. Just try to imagine a smear campaign that was so intense that even Sobchak’s own daughter doubted his integrity.’
Vera Krichevskaya, director:
The Case narrates a political cycle from the beginning to the end, from the meteoric rise to the summit where you command masses to the utter moral and physical downfall. It is the flip side of politics and its close examination offers an insight into the mechanisms of political manoeuvring and manhunting.’
Press Conference of the Russian Participants of the 71st Cannes Festival Lineup
The Russian Pavilion hosted the press conference of the Russian participants of the 71st Cannes International Film Festival lineup. The event dedicated to Russian shorts in various sections of the festival was moderated by the Kommersant editor-at-large Andrey Plakhov.
Calendar is a tale of an ordinary woman who disappears every now and then to undertake an extraordinary journey visiting a mysterious prisoner. But does he exist at all? The director Igor Poplaukhin presented his project jointly with the lead actress Irina Salikova on the day of the Cinéfondation premiere. The film shared the joint second prize of the section with The Storms in Our Blood by Shen Di from China.
Igor Poplaukhin, director:
‘It is crucial for a director to be understood at home, by his own countrymen, and I feel a strong support coming from Russia. I was very much inspired by the premiere: people from the public and English-speaking critics approached me and asked questions although I used to be sure only Russians could understand what I intended to say. I am truly grateful to Roskino for believing in us and supporting our film and our team.’
Igor Poplaukhin’s work along with 17 other titles was selected out of 2500 submissions from around the globe.
Mikhail Borodin’s I Am Normal was included into the Semaine de la Critique lineup. The director presented his film jointly with the director of photography Pavel Belyavsky and the producer Valentin Rogatin. His film tells the story of a high school student from a marginal little town. He conforms to the crowd by pretending to be a tough bully but deep inside he dreams of escaping to a big city and entering a university. However his first love and his family are pulling him back.
Mikhail Borodin, director:
‘It is a great honour for us to present our film in the prestigious Semaine de la Critique section. I wanted to give a voice to the young generation and dwell on the subject of the freedom of speech which is incredibly relevant for Russia nowadays. Kirill Serebrennikov has not walked the Cannes red carpet and Oleg Sentsov is in jail. And yet we have to speak up and discuss what matters to us most of all. We must not be afraid.’
GLOBAL RUSSIANS 2018 Presentation
The Russian Pavilion hosted the presentation of GLOBAL RUSSIANS 2018, the annual DVD selection of Russian shorts also showcased in the Short Film Corner of the Marché du Film. This year’s format was a 60-second Instagram video dedicated to the city of Moscow.
From March 12 to March 30 a professional jury reviewed over 50 Instagram videos tagged #globalrussians2018, #Роскино and #Roskino to select 5 shorts for the Russian Pavilion. The selection was made by the film critics Denis Ruzayev (Lenta.ru, TimeOut.ru) and Vasily Koretsky (Colta.ru, Vogue Russia), Roskino CEO and Channel One film expert Katya Mtsitouridze, the producer MIkhail Druyan, and the Head of Youtube Partnerships in Russia, Israel and Eastern Europe Youri Khazanov.
Global Russians 2018 projects
Boris Milovanov is a Russia Today journalist. He made his first musical video in 2014 and in 2017 the Moscow Film Festival screened his debut short Pest.
‘I submitted the film for Global Russians with no expectations and actually forgot the whole thing because of a mission to Syria. It was there that I learned that my film had been selected. I could not believe my own luck: first of all, winning always comes as a surprise when you have no expectations and secondly, everyone thinks that only friends of friends can win. Apparently this is not quite true, and I am grateful to the Roskino team and the jury for this wonderful opportunity.’’
Maria Shalaeva is an acclaimed actress that starred in The Mermaid, About Love, I’ll Be Around, Nirvana, Masha, and some other titles. She has received major national film awards for her acting but in her free time she likes to experiment with making short videos.
‘The idea of Moscow-Paris Repairs was spontaneous: I filmed the everlasting street works in front of my home in Moscow, then went to Paris and found out that my street was exactly in the same state. I had the idea as soon as I heard the familiar drilling. My friends convinced me to participate in the open call so I submitted 5 videos and all of a sudden the jury liked one of them. Many thanks to the jury and to Roskino! I have long been dreaming of Cannes, and sometimes dreams do come true when you least expect them to.’
Moscow in 60 Seconds
Sergey Nikolaev is a Moscow-based director. His portfolio includes Looking for a Woman, a documentary feature, Santorini, an action short, and City in 60 Seconds, a socially oriented project that includes the episode selected by Roskino.
‘I invited my friend Konstantin Maidannik to join the adventure and make an original video about the city we live in. And I am especially proud of bringing my brainchild, albeit so short, to the most prestigious film event of the world. My warmest thanks go to Roskino and personally to Katya Mtsitouridze for this unique opportunity. I hope it becomes a jump start for my filmmaking career.’
Soviet Soldier as a Symbol of Victory
Anton Olshevsky’s artistic name is Tony LaPron. He has a 10 years experience of making videos and music that are often inspired by his travels. Currently he is employed at Mirasfilm as director of photography.
‘I made Soviet Soldier as a Symbol of Victory for the Victory Day with my two friends, the actor Alexey Karkushko who played the protagonist and the cameraman Victor Koreshev. The fact that our film was selected for the Russian Pavilion means that I have to go on writing, filming, and creating. This is a great honour and a unique opportunity to be heard, meet new people and find those who think the same way.’
I Wish You Were Here
Vladimir Petrushin is a Moscow-based director and cameraman. He used to work as a TV journalist and made several popular science films for the regional TV.
‘I tried to see the familiar city from a different perspective and imagine it completely void. The protagonist, my friend Nikita Ryumshin, enjoys the experience but step by step he comes to realize that solitude is a wrong idea however picturesque it might be. Being a part of Global Russians is a great honour for me. I tried submitting my work for many open calls but this is my first success. I would like to thank Roskino for taking this chance and giving me the opportunity.’
MARCHÉ DU FILM WRAP-UP
The Russian market participants summarized the outcomes of the Marché du Film from their perspective.
The highlight of the ALL MEDIA Cannes lineup was the war drama Sobibor, the directorial debut of Konstantin Khabensky that tells the dramatic story of a prisoner revolt in a Nazi concentration camp. The stellar international cast includes Christopher Lambert, Felice Jankell, Philippe Reinhardt, Michalina Olszanska, and the Russian actress Maria Kozhevnikova whose performance is truly impressive. More action was offered by Tobol, Igor Zaytsev’s epic tale of the reclamation of Siberia produced by Yellow, Black and White studio. The story unravelling in the times of Peter the Great is aimed at mass audiences. The combination of historical events and mores with a fast-paced narrative and a tale of first love is relatable throughout the world.
The company’s portfolio also included The Superfamily: High Voltage by Dmitry Dyachenko, a new installment of the popular family-oriented franchise.
Zhanna Shakhshaeva, Head of All Media International Department:
‘During the Cannes market we focused on Sobibor by Konstantin Khabensky and Tobol by Igor Zaytsev. The rights for Sobibor have already been sold for all the key territories but it still generates a keen interest. We get a lot of feedback and the Cannes screening was no exception. Konstantin was there to present the project in person, he spoke both to the industry professionals and the international journalists and there was a new surge of interest among the global industry protagonists. As for Tobol, a Yellow, Black and White adventure project set in the times of Peter the Great, all buyers admired the quality of the production. This is a brand new project that will take a long time to release but the rights are already sold to Spain. Other European countries also made their offers that we are currently considering. We are also entering into negotiations for our new Superfamily episode. It is still too early to evaluate results but the reaction of the buyers allows us to hope for good deals in the near future. It is worth noting that Chinese partners are especially interested in the whole range of our productions, both the latest projects and the rest of the portfolio.’
Planeta Inform Group showcased its recent titles: Deadly Still, a horror by Anton Zenkovich, Unforgiven, a drama by Sarik Andreasyan starring Dmitriy Nagiev, Tanks for Stalin, a period adventure film by Kim Druzhinin, I Am Losing Weight, a comedy by Alexey Nuzhny, and The Lost Place, a horror thriller by Nadezhda Mikhalkova.
Anastasia Bankovskaya, International Sales & Acquisitions Director at Planeta Inform:
‘Deadly Still was sold to Japan, Latin America, some countries of South-East Asia, Taiwan, Korea, and France. There are some interested buyers from the Czech Republic, Germany, Brazil, India, and Spain.
Unforgiven could hardly leave anyone indifferent. All buyers commented on the high potential of the drama. During the market we sold it to China and are currently in talks with Middle East, India, France, Taiwan, Brazil, Italy, and Korea.
Tanks for Stalin was sold to France, China, Japan and Korea already in the very first days of the market. There are interested buyers from the UK, Spain, Brazil, Taiwan and Poland.
I Am Losing Weight got a Chinese buyer at the market. Everyone commented favourably upon the fresh and original idea and requested screeners. We are in talks with South-East Asia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Korea, Japan, Brazil, India, Turkey, Britain, and Poland.
We chose the Marché du Film to unveil our new project and show the trailer of The Lost Place. The horror thriller generated a keen interest since it is hard to find a film of this genre aimed at 16+ audiences. Our partners were excited about the striking visuals and are looking forward to seeing the entire film in the fall.’
Mars Media presented a number of new projects such as T-34, a military action by Alexey Sidorov which was sold to Korea and Spain. The footage screened at Marché du film started negotiations for more than 20 countries. The Ideal, a mystery drama by Kirill Pletnev, enjoyed a great demand from Asian and European distributors, and remakes are being discussed with China, Korea, and Spain.
Central Partnership sold the rights for Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy’s horror The Mermaid. Lake of the Dead to more than 100 countries. The recent sports dramas, Coach by Danila Kozlovsky and Going Vertical by Anton Megerdichev, were also quite popular, and follow-ups of negotiations started at the EFM in Berlin took place in Cannes.
Wizart Animation wrapped up Marché du Film by selling Snow Queen: Mirrorland directed by Alexey Tsitsilin and Robert Lence to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (distributor ACME film). The fourth instalment of Snow Queen will soon be available in Poland where it is distributed by Kino Swiat while in ex-Yugoslavia the theatrical rights were sold to Blitz d.o.o. CinemArt Territories will be releasing the animation in Czech and Slovak republics while PRO Films got the rights for Bulgaria where Snow Queen 3: Fire and Ice became the highest grossing independent animation in the history of the local film market. Sheep & Wolves: Pig Deal directed by Vladimir Nikolaev will be released in Norway by Storytelling Media, in ex-Yugoslavia by MCF MegaCom, in Bulgaria by PRO Films, and in the Baltic states by ACME Film.
Mosfilm studios showcased a number of recent projects and closed deals for several territories including China, Japan and Korea for Decision: Liquidation by Alexander Aravin that is slated for national release on June 7, 2018. Negotiations have started for several European territories, and distributors from Latin America are also interested. Negotiations were carried on concerning Karen Shakhnazarov’s period drama Anna Karenina: Vronsky’s Story loosely based on Leo Tolstoy’s classic and In the War, a novel by Vikenty Veresaev. Several meetings with European and Asian distributors will hopefully lead to perspective deals.
Elena Orel, Mosfilm Head of International Relations and Distribution:
‘Apart from the previously scheduled meetings the Marché du film allowed us to establish contacts with several international distributors that will hopefully lead to the widening of our sales scope both for new projects and for the precious Mosfilm library. I would like to acknowledge the seamless organisation and beautiful stand design provided by Roskino - Russian Cinema Worldwide. Such a prestigious presentation is instrumental in achieving the right level of working contacts.’
As a result of the Marché du film, RUSSIAN WORLD VISION sold Well Hello There, Oksana Sokolova by Kirill Vasilyev to China. The film will also be included in the video catalogue of French, Dutch, and Polish airlines. Chinese distributors are interested in a full package of rights as well as the theatrical distribution of Break by Tigran Saakyan and Temporary Difficulties by Mikhail Raskhodnikov, and deals are being negotiated. Break is still in production but deals are already closed for German-speaking territories, Japan and Hungary.
UK buyers are interested in Insuperable (working title Tankers) by Konstantin Maximov. Rights are already sold for Japan, South Korea, German-speaking and French-speaking territories and a number of other countries.
Distributors from China, Japan, France, Germany and a number of other countries are interested in Dmitry Suvorov’s The First while Dead Swallows by Natalya Pershina is considered by buyers from Japan, South Korea, and Germany. An Indian distributor made an offer for a package including Panfilov’s 28, Sparta, Yana + Yanko, Kids for Rent, Oil Painting, and Spiral.
The RWV Indie Vision branch presented Thawed Carp by Vladimir Kott and two directorial debuts: Light Up by Kirill Pletnyov and Middleground by Alisa Khazanova.
Alisa Stolyarova and Marianna Ibragimova, Indie Vision curators: ‘Our independent and art mainstream division carried on with promotion of independent filmmaking. We held over 20 meetings during the Cannes film market. Our lineup attracted buyers from France, the Baltic states, the US, Asia, and festival programmers from Europe and Asia also seemed interested. We agreed upon the broadcasting of About Love by Anna Melikyan on HBO Europe, and all the other projects are still in consideration.’