China awaits new Russian animation, sci-fi films and drama

At the international film market in Shanghai, Russian film companies made a number of

deals and discussed joint production with Chinese partners

In mid-June, as part of the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), the SIFF Market was

held, where ROSKINO, the Russian film promotion body with the support of the Ministry of

Culture of the Russian Federation, organized the Russian Content Worldwide (RCW) stand

for the Russian film industry. Eighteen Russian companies presented 75 projects to

international content buyers: feature films, documentaries, animation films, and series.


Significant results included an agreement on the theatrical release of the full-length animated

film The Snow Queen&The Princess in China in October 2023; a deal with China Mobile

on the sci-fi film Reversible Reality. A number of buyers are considering purchasing the

new drama Three Minutes of Silence; the thriller Centaur; Woland —a new adaptation of

Mikhail Bulgakov's novel Master and Margarita; the films Elsa’s Land and We are from

the Future, the historical series Noble Detective and The Road to Calvary, the action films

Silver Spoon and Silver Spoon Goes South, the film In the Moscow Slums and other

projects.Negotiations on co-production with international partners were conducted by Russian

animation companies: for example, co-production of the Finnick franchise was discussed.

CTB Film Company introduced new films and its extensive library of older releases to the

film market. As a result of negotiations, a disaster film Three Minutes of Silence about the

dramatic events on a fishing vessel is being considered by a number of buyers for mainland

China. The company’s animation projects were also of great interest to Chinese

representatives: new episodes of Moonzy; a full-length cartoon based on the Moonzy series

(in production), new episodes of The Barkers, animation projects from the series about the

adventures of The Three Heroes. Negotiations are underway on the co-production of new

projects and distribution of The Barkers.

Art Pictures Distribution is finalizing a deal with China Mobile, one of the largest

telecommunications companies in the world, on the film Reversible Reality — a sci-fi

thriller about a life-threatening virtual game. In 2022, the film was sold to India and the UAE.

The company also introduced a number of TV series to the market, including the new Dog’s

SWAT about the work of an experimental canine squad. Representatives of Art Pictures

Distribution noted the great interest in military-themed content, in particular, in the series

The Final Battle, Fog, and the series Sergeant.

The major Chinese VOD platform Wing Sight has shown interest in purchasing two films

from Sreda Production Company, Silver Spoon and Silver Spoon Goes South, and the

drama Tell Her. Sreda is also negotiating with Huawei, a major Chinese service, to host the

company's films and series on their site. Several film and television agents were also

interested in presenting the company's films and series in China.

Russia Television and Radio noted the interest of Chinese content buyers in full-length films

from the company’s extensive library. The dramas Elsa's Land, Two Tickets Back, Ivan

Son of Amir, the military drama We Are From the Future, and The Russian Game—a

comedy based on Nikolai Gogol's The Gamblers—are being considered for purchase.

Chinese partners also showed interest in action mini-series (4, 8 episodes) for placement on

digital platforms.

A number of Chinese companies have shown an interest in historical series from NTV, in

particular, in the projects The Road to Calvary, Unsung Hero and Noble Detective. The

historical detective Noble Detective was successfully sold to Japan in 2021 The attention of

potential partners was also attracted by the melodrama Dr. Driver and the detective story

Five Minutes of Silence. Chinese companies were also interested in TV shows for adaptation

in China.

Mosfilm noted demand from Chinese buyers for a new film—the historical detective story In

the Moscow Slums. International representatives were also interested in the classics from Mosfilm's collection, primarily military dramas. According to representatives of the

company, there are specific proposals from Chinese buyers which are now being worked on.

The new thriller Centaur, presented in China by the Planeta Inform Group, also aroused the

interest of SIFF Market participants. The film, which will be released in Russian cinemas in

July, was presented as part of a showcase organized by ROSKINO. The company noted that

the coordination of content for China takes considerable time, so specific agreements may

appear later.

Mars Media Entertainment was also involved in many negotiations. Their new films Woland

(based on Master and Margarita) and A Dog named Palma 2, the fantasy drama Mira, and

the company's series were popular at the film market.

SMF Animation said there was interest in the animated feature film Detective Chirp&the

Golden Beehive from major distributors in mainland China and Taiwan; negotiations are also

underway with representatives of India and Bangladesh. The attention of buyers was also

attracted by the TV series I’ll get you! Holidays and The Secrets of Honey Hills. There is

also interest in placing the studio's library on a number of Chinese digital platforms and

IPTV. Media companies negotiating with SMF Animation are from China, Hong Kong,

Macau, Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Australia, and Iran.

For the Riki Group, the SIFF market was an opportunity to personally discuss with partners

full-length projects with rights to China—the KikoRiki franchise and Fixies vs Krabots. The

main purpose of participation in the film market was the presentation of the feature-length

animated film Finnick, which was a great success at the Russian box office, and is now being

released in cinemas around the world: so far foreign box office is 1.3 million USD. This

summer the film will be released in Turkey and Brazil. The studio is working on the series

Detective Finnick as well as the second full-length cartoon. With potential Chinese and

Middle Eastern partners, they discussed the distribution of the first Finnick film and co-

production of the franchise.

As part of the SIFF Market, Voronezh Animation Studio signed an agreement on the

theatrical release of the full-length animated film The Snow Queen&The Princess in China.

The release is scheduled for October 2023 The heroes of the franchise have gained

popularity in China where all parts of the Snow Queen franchise have been released—the

third part was the highest-grossing Russian animated film in the region, and the series The

Tales of Wonder Keepers, a spin-off of the franchise, was co-produced with the Chinese

online platform iQIYI and topped the ranking of the platform's children's content. Voronezh

studio also presented the animated series The Steel Family: Brotherhood vs Gold for

teenagers, produced with the support of IRI, and the studio’s new full-length project for the

family audience, Arctic Heroes, which is under development.

YARKO Animation company presented at SIFF Market the animated series Dragonia, Team

M.A.T.C.H., Fly Deliveries, Tommy the Little Dragon and Tickabo. The representatives of the company noted their interest of Chinese buyers in animation for preschool children, as

well as in 3D projects.