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 2017/2018. 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.
ROSKINO Press Relations
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