RECLAMATION (ESTERDAD), Iranian War Drama Filmed & Screened In Moscow

We didn’t expect this production in Moscow could have been so complicated.

After 8 weeks of hectic pre-production, in late-January 2012 the Iranian crew of 25 from Teheran-based Farabi Cinema Foundation arrived in Moscow – just in the most dramatic moment of their nation.

It seemed US-Iranian military conflict was imminent: US aircraft carriers were closing up in the Persian Gulf at the shooting range of the Iranian border. The Iranian crew was under the stress, worried about their families.

Besides, Iranian banks halted international transactions. A few times the film production was about to stop due to irregular cash-flow. So, twice Russian partners had to ensure a financial support.

Moreover, all along those five weeks the weather was cold with unprecedentedly freezing wind-chill factor. Shooting snowy Moscow locations, incl. The Red Square, or an ex-Soviet anti-nuclear bunker was really something…

For some reason RECLAMATION was released only in late-2013. I contacted Farabi Cinema Foundation and suggested to arrange the film premiere in one of the programs of the forthcoming Moscow International Film Festival.

By the time my idea was approved, another Iranian film was already selected for the Competition program. However, in May RECLAMATION was accepted for “Russian Trace” side-bar program.

RECLAMATION (ESTERDAD),  Iranian War Drama   Filmed & Screened In MoscowOn June 21 and 24 the film was screened at the Festival Center in “October” Mulitplex.

Both times the halls were full. The audience and film critics gave positive reaction about RECLAMATION, however, no festival award was granted.

 

Now we hope the film will be shown on Russian TV.

Eugene Zykov
President & Founder
Russian Film Commission — Film-Media

Posted in Co-Productions, Documentary Films | Leave a comment

STALINGRAD: 3D-Show 60 Years After The Battle

Stalingrad

Stalingrad_1Cast: Pyotr Fyodorov, Thomas Kretschmann, Sergei Bondarchuk Jr., Mariya Smolnikova, Yana Studilina
Director: Fedor Bondarchuk
Screenwriters: Ilya Tilkin, Sergei Snezhkin, Vasiliy Grossman
Composer: Angelo Badalamenti

The $30 million war drama STALINGRAD by Feodor Bondarchuk is a Sony Pictures release of a Non-Stop Production, Art Pictures Studio production in association with Twin Media, Russia 1 TV.

It premiered at Rome Film Festival (non-competition) in October 19, 2013. A massive PR campaign was launched in Russia to raise domestically $51,7 million box-office (7 million admissions) and… a bitter controversy. Russian public opinion was split.

The first-in-Russia feature released in 3D IMAX format is stuffed with stunning special effects, excellent DOP artwork by Maxim Osadchiy and breath-taking sets by production designer Sergey Ivanov. However, the film is a far cry from the great war masterpieces of the Soviet-era classics.

Lots of Russian WWII vets and younger-generation filmgoers were disappointed

Lots of Russian WWII vets and younger-generation filmgoers were disappointed

Lots of Russian WWII vets and younger-generation filmgoers were disappointed. The mega-battle which claimed over 1,2 million lives looks like a computer shoot-out game. Many criticize Rambo-like war actions and Hollywood soap-opera-style love stories. Others deplore overly positive depiction of the German officers and primitive Russian defenders, who in fact, were the true heroes.

Finally, as the festival film critics noted,the English subtitles on the print screened at the Rome Film Festival were often incomprehensible. Russian filmgoers also found some inconsistencies in the dialogs and messed up historical facts.

No wonder, STALINGRAD had little chances in the foreign language Oscar race.

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Sounds Strange? – It Is

December 2013 – Stuttgart (Germany).  Right now we´re working on our documentary about immortality for the German TV. We have filmed different protagonists around the globe who do not want to die. They all try to achieve radical longevity through different ways.

One of them is cryonic: the way to preserve human life with the intent of restoring good health when technology becomes available to do it. So, as soon as some particular person dies he/she or part of his/her body gets deep-frozen and stored in a special freezer  container filled up with liquid nitrogen. Hopefully, sometime later in the future he/she may rise from the dead or a new clone body is activated from his/her body fragments.

Cryogenic freezer repository

Cryogenic freezer repository for storing human brains and fragments

Sounds strange? It is. Anyway, Russia is the best location to shoot such strange fascinating things.

Russian landscape

During our research we got to contact Eugene Zykov from Russian Film Commission.
This gentleman is a perfect line producer, speaking fluent English. He seems to know everybody in Moscow. Eugene rendered both creative and logistic support during our shoots in Russia. He dedicated much time with his heart and soul to our film subject, offered a lot of great ideas for our movie which will definitely become part of the film. He also took care of everything so that we could work without any hindrance.

Eugene and his English-speaking driver Vladimir (who could be also a Russian stand up comedian) transported us safely and fast around Moscow or its suburbs despite a horrible traffic.

Eugene Zykov

Eugene Zykov, line producer

voditel

Our driver Vladimir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During our week-long shooting in Moscow we´ve interviewed amazing people: cryonic experts and their clients who dreamed and contracted to get frozen after they die.

irina-photo

Irina, a former space research scientist and cryonic client who already froze her deceased mother

We´ve also interviewed a formidable orthodox priest, who informed us that only God is able to let people rise from the dead.

Cyrill, orthodox priest

Cyrill, orthodox priest who is strictly against cryonics

In fact, there were a lot more great stories we learnt during our highly productive shooting in Moscow.

Retrospectively, I‘d say, our Moscow shoot was a very memorable experience for all of us. We´ve got an eye-opening material, visited spectacular locations and talked to fascinating people. Also we‘ve made fantastic friends there.

crew moscow

Our joint German-and-Russian film crew

Andreas Schnoegl, Director
EIKON SÜDWEST GMBH
TALSTR. 41 D-70188 STUTTGART, GERMANY

Posted in Documentary Films, Russian/Western Co-Productions, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE FLYING ELEPHANT On TV Channel “Russia-Culture”

On Wednesday, December 18th at 10.00 pm a 52-minute documentary “The Flying Elephant – Dynasty Of Sculptors)” produced by our FILM MEDIA with the financial support of the Russian Ministry of Culture will be shown by TV channel “Russia-Culture”.

Alexander RukavishnikovThe film portrays Alexander Rukavishnikov, one of the top 30 contemporary sculptors in the world. Many of his works of art are in various state art galleries or in different private collections.

Born in a famous dynasty of Russian sculptors and artists, he reflects on modern fine art in Russia and shines a curious light upon censorship in the USSR and on some modern realities which have an impact on his creative life.

Rukavishnikov, Pak and Kostenko

Alexander Rukavishnikov (left) in the sports hall

The film follows the sculptor as he works in his studio, meets his students at the Moscow Art Institute after Surikov, receives a prestigious award at the Modern Art Academy, or compliments from Vladimir Putin on the monument to renowned cello player Mstislav Rostropovich.

 

It is an insight into an amazing talent: his monuments always move and interact with audiences. His friends and colleagues reveal a few more of his hidden talents, such as launching eye-opening vernissages or his passion for karate, which earned him the nickname THE FLYING ELEPHANT.

Directed by Valery Krechetov, Anatoly Ivanov
Script by Valery Krechetov, Eugene Zykov
Producer Eugene Zykov
Production & World Rights: FILM-MEDIA Ltd
© 2012 FILM-MEDIA Ltd
Tel/Fax: (495) 686 18 88 Mob (905) 545 34 14
E-mail form

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Russian films at the 56th BFI London Film Festival

Russia is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets regarding film exhibition. In the last decade dozens of multiplexes were opened, yet now the vast territory  still totals only 2,500 movie screens. In 2011 Russia’s box office topped $1.2 billion, however, domestic movies accounted only for $170 million, or 14.7 per cent of the total. Predominantly US films out of 308 films released in 2011 collected the Russian audience: domestic film production can’t still recover from the world economy crisis.

This is why, each time a few Russian, often controversial, award-winning films show up at global film festivals, it could be regarded as nearly a miracle. Here’s an impressive Russian line-up at the BFI London Film Festival.

LONDON. October 10, 2012. The 56th BFI London Film Festival (October 10-21) will present five films recently shot by contemporary Russian award-winning filmmakers.

I’M GOING TO CHANGE MY NAME  (ALAVERDY) by filmmaker Maria Saakyan

This Russian-Armenian-French co-production is the second feature directed by Maria Saakyan Her debut short FAREWELL was nominated for the best film at the Karlovy Vary Fresh Films Festival.

 

I’M GOING TO CHANGE MY NAME  (ALAVERDY) is the story about Sona and her daughter Euridica who live in a small town of Alaverdy in Armenia (Caucasus). Sona is a conductor of a famous male choir, which performs Armenian folk songs. Her teenage Euridica makes a movie with the camera on her cell phone about her mother.

IN THE FOG (V TUMANE) by filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa

 

Director Sergei Loznitsa is a Russian, currently Germany-based award-winning documentary filmmaker. In London he presents his second fiction feature, which won the FIPRESCI award in Cannes. 

 

The historical drama is based on the novel by famous Belorussian writer Vasyl Bykov. In 1942 a trackman in the German-seized territory of Belorussia is falsely accused of collaboration with the Nazis. Two Belorussian guerrillas find him to execute for treason. The trackman tries to prove his innocence making a moral choice in such immoral circumstances.

LIVING (ZHIT’) by filmmaker Vasili Sigarev

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jit-pic4-452x302-80470[1] This is the second feature directed by Vasily Sigarev, one of the most controversial filmmakers in Russia.  LIVING won the main award at Wiesbaden Film Festival and Silver Camera 300 award at the Bitola Festival (Macedonia).  Sigarev’s first feature WOLFY was an award winner at Karlovy Vary three years ago and his play BLACK MILK was staged in New York and London.  

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The apocalyptic film filled with shocking naturalism focuses on three stories of life and death in the Russian province of Yekaterinburg. A dream of a tied alcoholic nearly comes true regarding the return of her parental rights, however she suddenly learns that both of her daughters die in a car crash. A couple of just-married young lovers attract a bunch of skinheads with their informal image.

Sigarev’s Russia is disgusting: people are always indifferent or aggressive, pouring and drinking vodka, roads are traditionally bad, plastic wreaths are scattered everywhere, personal belongings are cheap etc. After all this, anyone wants to live in Russia? No comment…

SHORT STORIES (RASSKAZI) by filmmaker Mikhail Segal

This is the third film by former clip maker Mikhail Segal. His debut feature FRANZ + POLINA won awards at film festivals Biarritz, Geneva, Montreal etc.

poster[1] RASSKAZY-2[1]

A young writer brings a collection of short stories to a Moscow publishing house. His manuscript mysteriously changes the karma of any employee who reads even a page of it.

TOMORROW (ZAVTRA) by filmmaker Andrei Gryazev

Director Andrei Gryazev presents his the second documentary. 

poster2[1] zavtra-1

zavtra-2

The documentary follows the Russian controversial leftist radical group Voina (War) which became known to the public in 2008. The two main protagonists are the founders of the movement. They live underground in a small family with their baby hoping to change the Russian society with their anarchistic political statements and performances, which balance between vulgar art and criminal code.

ATTENDING FROM RUSSIA

Directors Mikhail Segal, Andrei Gryazev, Maria Saakyan and Sergei Loznitsa, actress Maria Atlas-Popova (I’M GOING TO CHANGE MY NAME) and producer Roman Borisevich (LIVING) will attend the screenings.  Catherine Mtsitouridze, Director General of Moscow-based ROSKINO also takes part in festivals events aiming to promote these films and filmmakers. ROSKINO is in charge of promotion of Russian films at major film festivals and markets. The company also supports the distribution of Russian films and encourages investing and co-production in Russia.  In 2011 ROSKINO ran a promo campaign for Alexander Sokurov’s FAUST at the Venice Film Festival (the film won the Golden Lion award).

Posted in Films in the Western Festivals/Screenings | 1 Comment