My most memorable trade show in 2017

London. December 5-6. The 3rd edition of FOCUS 2017 held at The Business Design Centre has turned out the only European free-to-attend high-level audiovisual trade show which I liked so much. This annual international convention for the global film industry offered very good business opportunities, even better than in 2016. As a result, there were lots of brilliant meetings with old good friends and with many promising contacts. This time I met many more Chinese film-makers and even a few Russian-speaking men and women, from Georgia, Ukraine, Lithuania and two London-based Russian ladies, both named Olga… all great fans of the film business.

NETWORKING was really excellent. The trade show provided easy-to-meet contacts with professionals from all sectors of the creative screen industries. Over 170 companies from 61 countries were exhibited at the event: European and international agencies, location and service providers, production technology outfits, film/TV production companies and, of course, film commissions. The Business Design Centre offered many very convenient locations for informal parties or facilitated meetings with a rear atmosphere of festive fun and hospitality.

THE FOCUS PROGRAMME was very informative. It was developed in consultation with BFI, BFC, PACT, APA, PMA, Creative Skillset, Animation UK, Games London, WFTV etc. Variety magazine was present at its own booth as FOCUS media’s partner. Other partners included the Production Guild, BECTU, LMGI, LPG, EUFCN, 1.4, AdGreen, Albert, Dresd and other exhibitors. For obvious reasons I skip mentioning the official sponsor of beer, cheese, ham etc. although I must admit, the quality was great.

GUEST-SPEAKERS, peers and leading experts, most of them were a real highlight of the FOCUS panel discussions. Their presentations and debates at nearly 30 seminars and workshops, covered key topics of film, TV, advertising, animation or interactive sectors: from the impact of high end TV, or sustainability, commercials and branded content, to legal matters and international markets.

There was always enough time to ask random questions on the spot, or go into more specific details afterwards, privately, at various booths, or at traditional Pub in the centre of the Business Design Centre.

BUSINESS TALK PATTERN. Everyone was so eager to hear about tax credits, funding and projects. Quite a few guests were surprised to hear that Russia was more cost-effective and as safe as the United Kingdom. A bit later, being on more friendly terms, we all started to operate such terms as “risks”, “cost-effective tips”, “minimizing the budget” etc.

Then we came to discussion of script(s), casting, available equipment etc. Then followed the exchange of business cards (I brought back home stacks of them) and we showed each other our family photos. Then, inevitably, the question: “Is it true, that there are so many beautiful girls in Russia?” – “Yes, jokes apart, this is still our golden asset.”

AIMING AT FOCUS-2018. I returned home with sweet memories of an enjoyable and productive time at FOCUS, with new contacts and projects, lots of interesting ideas and great tips.

Shortly before Christmas, I emailed my seasonal greetings to Clara Le and all other folks from FOCUS/ A day later I received their update with reports and stories on FOCUS followed by a well-structured survey which I had a pleasure to return with some hope that my contribution would help this great team to create still better FOCUS in 2018. And, of course, I’ll attend it again!

Eugene Zykov,
Founder, Owner, Producer
Russian Film Commission — Film-Media

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German documentary: russian soul is still immortal

At last, I got the trailer (click to screen it) of a finished documentary by Andreas Schnoegl from Eikon Sudwest GMBH from Stuttgart, Germany about people around the world who try to reach immortality at all costs.

The film will be aired on German TV, as well as hopefully worldwide and in Russia soon.

I am glad, Andreas accepted my idea to research and compare the view points of Moscow-based pragmatic-and-commercial Cryonic businessmen (‘there’s no soul, just the body’) with Russian traditional and spiritual faith in immortality of ‘mysterious Russian soul’.

Eugene Zykov 
Russian Film Commission

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Russian Film Industry: The Time for a New Reality

Despite the ups and downs of global politics, Russia seems ready to wrench the door open to new international partners. The West is welcome, and inspired not only by traditional hospitality, but also by a hidden fear (from both sides) for the return to the years of the Iron Curtain.

More and more European and US producers are bringing their projects to Russia to launch international co­productions. Some of them even ask for locations which double for Europe or the USA to minimize the budget and avoid extra travel­-and­-shoots.

Also, importantly, they are ready to invest more and request less money back from Russian partners / co­producers even despite the fact that the number of Russian currency billionaires has doubled during the recent world crisis.

Indeed, now it’s a lot cheaper for foreign companies in Russia if they’re willing to take the risk. Their interest in co­productions in Russia was sparked by the record high exchange rate of US dollar and the Euro against the Russian ruble. Definitely, it is a positive factor for international productions. However, the main reason is: Russia reveals a new reality.

In fact, this reality is not so long forgotten in Russia. For several generations all Russians have lived according to the motto: “IT’S BETTER TO HAVE A 100 FRIENDS THAN A 100 RUBLES”.  In fact, the Soviet people survived after the devastation of WWI, the Civil War and WWII by mainly being patriotic, united (“friends­in­need”), and amazingly creative and not materialistic. And later, before  the collapse of the Soviet Union in those romantic times our people were open to give a generous support to each other and, specially, to a western guest.

So, welcome to a new Russian reality…

Eugene Zykov
President & Founder
Russian Film Commission ­­ Film­Media (Moscow, Russia)
Publisher & Editor of ALL THE SHOWCASE+ film magazine
Tel/Fax: +7 495 686 1888 Cell: +7 905 545 34 14
Skype: ezykov
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Live!Ammunition! was a total success!

RUSSIAN FILM COMMISSION's Berlinale highlight was Live!Ammunition!Berlin. February 6, 2015. My Berlinale highlight was Live!Ammunition!  More than 200 filmmakers gathered that night at HomeBase to watch an Open Mic pitching competition. Each of 50 contestants were to deliver their movie ideas within 2 minutes only to convince the panelists, top film executives, to read, or buy the script.

I was among the Jury of seven panelists who needed to comment right away. It was not easy: some ideas were crazy or confused. Luckily we had a fantastic moderator Elliot Grove, founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He was great with funny, sometimes a bit provocative remarks, which made the audience involved and emotionally charged. We all felt the adrenaline was in the air: some speakers sang, danced or used body language.

At the very start each of the Jury members introduced themselves. A US producer next to me was laconic: “I shot many films in Hollywood. So give me your ideas and then I tell you I could buy or I’d rather not buy the script”.

I said: “I am producer too. I shot a few films and helped to shoot many int’l productions in Russia. By the way, I am based in Moscow and I am Russian… So, please do not ask me about Ukraine… (Nervous smiles in the audience).

All I can say is that due to sanctions and currency crisis in Russia our Ruble has has now fallen 50 percent against the USD and even more against Euro. So… now you can spend half of your budget if you shoot your film with me in Russia. (Dead silence)

And something else: my US colleague will confirm it: some people in Hollywood spend years in court and few of them manage to prove that his/her idea written on the napkin in the restaurant – just 5 lines! – was later stolen for the blockbuster. So, first think well before you intrigue us with your compelling stories, or keep secret about the most important final part”.


The winner was Ameen Nayfeh, born 1988 in Palestine, who spent his formative years between Jordan and Palestine. His pitch was ‘200 METERS’ about a man who needs to reach his close relatives nearby across Palestine­Jordan border despite all odds.

The runners were Paul Chernosky with “LA MARSHAL” as well as Heikki Kujanpaa and Mikko Reitala with “THE FUNNIEST MAN OF THE WAR”

Here’s a letter from our fantastic moderator Elliot Grove.

Dear Eugene,

We would like to thank you being part of the panel at this years’ Raindance Live!Ammunition! show in Berlin. More than 200 filmmakers gathered that night at HomeBase to deliver some amazing pitches. It is with no doubt one of the best pitching events we have ever had. We hope you enjoyed the event as much as we did. If you have any feedback please feel free to contact us.

Yours in filmmaking,

Снимок экрана от 2015-03-18 12:06:29Elliot Grove

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Mission In Moscow

Chinese police action. Staring Jacky Chan and / or Jet Li. Research & location scouting for pre-production was made in Moscow.

See «Mission in Moscow» at

Director Ding Sheng (on the photos) in Moscow visiting the Russian Army Museum (click to see full size).

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