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

Posted in Festivals & Markets | 2 Comments

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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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

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STALINGRAD: 3D-Show 60 Years After The Battle


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


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, 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

Posted in Documentary Films, Russian/Western Co-Productions, Uncategorized | 1 Comment