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.

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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. 

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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 | 3 Comments

Red Square Screenings Launched For The Western Market

MOSCOW. OCTOBER 11, 2012.  Moscow will host over a 100 international buyers and distributors who attend Red Square Screenings (RSS) on October 15-18.

Fifty Russian films released in 2011-2012 will be screened at the GUM Movie Hall and about a hundred of other Russian titles, as well as some new Ukrainian and Kazakh films produced in the last few years will be viewed in the RSS video library during the event or available online within the next 12 months.

The main 50-titles program offers a variety of Russian films, such as Karen Shakhnazarov’s White Tiger selected for the forthcoming Academy Award from Russia. or a number of winners/participants of the major global film festivals, such as Kirill Serebrennikov’s Betrayal, Lyubov Arkus’s Anton’s Right Here, Sergei Loznitsa’s In the Fog, Alexey Mizgirev’s The Convoy, Vasiliy Sigarev’s Living, Vitaly Mansky’s Motherland or Death, Pavel Ruminov’s I’ll Be Around, Mikhail Segal’s Short Stories, Avdotia Smirnova’s Kokoko and Igor Voloshin’s Bedouin.

RSS also presents a program of commercial films including Roman Prygunov’s Dukhless, Andrei Proshkin’s The Horde, Egor Baranov’s The Suicides, and Rezo Gigineishwili’s Love with Accent.

On October 18 the gala screening of Boris Khlebnikov’s Till The Night Separates Us will crown the RSS closing ceremony.

RSS in partnership with the CentEast Film Market / Warsaw Film Festival will also run a pitching for such Russian films in production or pre-production as Oleg Stepchenko’s Viy 3D, Alexander Voytinsky’s The Jungle, Alexander Veledinsky’s The Geographer Sold His Globe For a Drink as well as Maxim Sveshnikov and Vlad Barbe’s The Snow Queen etc.

RSS is organized by the RAC! (Russians Are Coming!) Creative Bureau with the Russia’s Cinema Fund and it is run in partnership with Ukrainian State Agency Of Cinematography, headed by Director Ekaterina Kopylova, and Kazakh Film Studio, presided by Ermek Amanshayev.

INTERNATIONAL GUESTS OF RSS

Among the VIPs of the international film community attending RRS are Jerome Paillard, Executive director of Marché du Film, a delegation of China Film (the exclusive Chinese film import company), Tom Luddy, the founder of Telluride FilmFest, Nadia Dresti, the Head of Locarno’s Industry Office etc.

RSS will also host CEOs of the leading distribution companies and buyers with prior experience of acquisition of Russian films, such as:

  • Marie-Pierre Valle, Creative director of Wild Bunch Distribution
  • Philippe Bober, Head of Coproduction Office
  • Laurent Danielou, Executive director of Rezo Films International
  • Ellis Driessen from Dutch Fortissimo
  • Eva Diederix, International Sales Director of Elle Driver
  • Per Löwendahl from Swedish TriArt
  • Richard Mortiboys, Film British Artificial Eye Film Company Ltd.                                 

Correspondents from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Screen International, Filmbulletin and other world-known film media will cover the event.

Elena Romanova, Head of the International Department of the Russian Cinema Fund:

Red Square Screenings became a logical follow-up on our work on promoting Russian films in the international film markets. As we were developing the concept of Red Square Screenings, we considered the experience of UniFrance in organizing the annual runs of French motion pictures, and also that of the Latin-American cinema market, Ventana Sur. It was crucial for us to create a comfortable and up-to-date platform where our colleagues from different countries could familiarize themselves in detail with Russian cinema in all its variety. And this should be done not in-between the festival runs, but thoroughly and carefully, as it is worthy of.”

Yevgeny Gindilis, Executive director of Red Square Screenings

“Three years ago, in the fall of 2009, we held the first small film forum, Project for Tomorrow/ CentEast in Moscow, in the Pioneer movie theater. The main goal of that forum was the most broad-based integration of Russian and Eastern European film industry into international distribution. We proceeded from very basic ideas: independent producers and large film companies alike are very interested in making our films available to the widest possible audiences, not only in our country, but also abroad.

Red Square Screenings have become a sequel to Project for Tomorrow – a new platform for promoting Russian cinema. We have also opened our doors to our colleagues from Ukraine and Kazakhstan. I truly hope that RSS will become an important date in the calendar of international film markets for our colleagues all over the world, for many years to come.”

Posted in Festivals & Markets, International sales, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Russian Films At The 69th Venice Film Festival

Three Russian films will be screened at the Venice Film Festival: a psychological drama The Betrayal  by Kirill Serebrennikov (the Main Competition program),  I Also Want It by Alexei Balabanov (the Horizons program) and Anton’s Right Here by Lyubov Arkus (side-bar program).

The 69th edition of Venice International Film Festival held in August 29 – September 8, 2012  presents 60 films from 41 countries, including 18 titles in competition. They were selected by a new Festival’s Artistic Director Alberto Barbera, who claims he was focusing on “quality not quantity”.

The Main Competition Program

The following films will compete in the Main Program for the festival’s principal award, the Golden Lion:

  • The Betrayal by Kyrill Serebrennikov (Russia)
  • To The Wonder by Terrence Malick (US)
  • Pieta by Kim Ki-duk (South Korea)
  • Outrage Beyond  by Takeshi Kitano (Japan)
  • Something In The Air (Apres Mai) by Olivier Assayas (France)
  • At Any Price by Ramin Bahrani (US-UK)
  • Dormant Beauty (Bella Addormentata) by Marco Bellocchio (Italy-France)
  • La Cinquieme Saison by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth (Belgium-Netherlands-France)
  • Fill The Void (Lemale Et Ha’Chalal) by Rama Burshtein (Israel)
  • E Stato il Figlio by Daniele Cipri (Italy-France)
  • Un Giorno Speciale  by Francesca Comencini (Italy)
  • Passion  by Brian De Palma (France-Germany)
  • Superstar by Xavier Giannoli (France-Belgium)
  • Spring Breakers by Harmony Korine (US)
  • Thy Womb (Sinapupunan) by Brillante Mendoza (Philippines)
  • Linhas de Wellington by Valeria Sarmiento (Portugal-France)
  • Paradise: Faith (Paradies: Glaube) by Ulrich Seidl (Austria-France-Germany)

The Betrayal by Kirill Serebrennikov

The Betrayal by Kirill SerebrennikovThis psychological drama / thriller is a strong love-and-hate, passion-and-sin cocktail. A man meets a woman. Soon they find out that their spouses are lovers. They start a passionate tit-for-tat love-affair, the adultery mainly occurs at the hotel.

Producer Sabina Yeremeyeva: “Our film is about the most destructive power of passion, about our hidden emotions, our secret world, which we want and hate, …which eventually results into a loneliness.”

Director: Kirill Serebrennikov
Script: Natalia Nazarova, Kirill Serebrennikov
D.O.P.: Oleg Lukichev
Starring: Franziska Petri (Germany), Dejan Lilich (Macedonia), Albina Dzhanabaeva, Andrew Shchetinin, Arturs Skrastins (Latvia), Svetlana Mamresheva, Guna Zarina.

Producer:
Sabina Yeremeyeva
Production: Elephant Film Studio (with financial support of the Russian Ministry of Culture), Sol’ Film Company (Russia).

The Horizons Program

The Horizons Program includes:

  • I Also Want It  by Alexei Balabanov (Russia)
  • Wadjda by Haifaa Al Mansour (Saudi Arabia-Germany)
  • The Paternal House (Khaneh Pedari) by Kianoosh Ayari (Iran)
  • Gli Equilibristi by Ivano De Matteo (Italy-France)
  • L’intervallo by Leonardo Di Costanzo (Italy-Switzerland-Germany)
  • Winter of Discontent (El Sheita Elli Fat) by Ibrahim El Batout (Egypt)
  • Tango Libre by Frederic Fonteyne (Belgium-France-Luxembourg)
  • The Cutoff Man (Menatek Ha-Maim) by Idan Hubel (Israel)
  • Fly With The Crane (Gaosu tame, wo cheng baihe qu le) by Li Ruijun (China)
  • A Hijacking (Kapringen) by Tobias Lindholm (Denmark)
  • Leones by Jazmin Lopez (Argentina-France-Netherlands)
  • Bellas Mariposas by Salvatore Mereu (Italy)
  • Low Tide by Roberto Minervini (US-Italy-Belgium)
  • Boxing Day by Bernard Rose (UK-US)
  • Yema by Djamila Sahraoui (Algeria-France)
  • Araf – Somewhere In Between by Yesim Ustaoglu (Turkey-France-Germany)
  • The Millennial Rapture (Sennen no Yuraku) by Koji Wakamatsu (Japan)
  • Three Sisters (San Zi Mei) by Wang Bing (France-Hong Kong-China)

I Also Want It  by Alexei Balabanov

I Also Want It  by Alexei BalabanovRussian mystic drama I Also Want It by Aleksei Balabanov is screened in the Horizons festival program. The film resembles Andrey Tarkovsky’s Stalker. The four main characters are searching for an old desolate church, a miraculous temple in the distant territory close to a nuclear power plant. Some seldom visitors, the chosen-ones, enter the church and find eternal happiness there.

I Also Want It  by Alexei Balabanov

Director and screenwriter: Alexei Balabanov
D.O.P.: Alexander Simonov
Starring: Yuri Matveyev, Alexander Mosin, Oleg Garkusha, Alice Shitikova
Producer: Sergey Selyanov
Production: STB Studio (Russia)

Out of competition

  • Anton’s Right Here by Lyubov Arkus (documentary)
  • L’Homme Qui Rit by Jean-Pierre Ameris
  • Love Is All You Need by Susanne Bier
  • Cherchez Hortense by Pascal Bonitzer
  • It Was Better Tomorrow dir: Hinde Boujemaa (documentary)
  • Sur Un Fil by Simon Brook (documentary)
  • Enzo Avitable Music Life by Jonathan Demme (documentary)
  • Tai Chi 0 by Stephen Fung (documentary)
  • Carmel (2009) by Amos Gitai
  • Lullaby To My Father by Amos Gitai
  • El Imenetrable by Daniele Incalcaterra, Fausta Quattrini (documentary)
  • Penance by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • Bad 25 by Spike Lee (documentary)
  • Witness: Libya by Michael Mann (documentary)
  • Medici Con L’Africa by Carlo Mazzacurati (documentary)
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist  by Mira Nair
  • O Gebo E A Sombra by Manoel De Oliveira
  • The Company You Keep by Robert Redford
  • Shark (Bait 3D) by Kimble Rendall
  • Disconnect  by Henry-Alex Rubin
  • La Nave Dolce by Daniele Vicari (documentary)
  • The Iceman by Ariel Vromen

 Anton’s Right Here by Lyubov Arkus

Anton's Right Here by Lyubov ArkusRussian documentary “Anton’s Right Here” by Lyubov Arkus from St-Petersburg is screened in the out-of-competition slates as a Special Event program entry along with films by Spike Lee, Robert Redford, Liliana Cavani, Manoel de Oliveira and Suzanne Bier.

Plot: Anton Kharitonov is a sick autistic teenager, who lives in a shabby apartment in the outskirts of St.Petersburg and has to attend the asylum for examination now and then.

Director and screenwriter: Lyubov Arkus
Producer: Sergey Selyanov
Production: STB Studio (Russia)

Two Russian directors have won Golden Lions in the past. Andrei Zvyagintsev won two Golden Lions in 2004 for his film debut, The Return. 7 seven years later in 2011 a Golden Lion was granted to Alexander Sokurov for Faust.

Posted in Festivals & Markets, Films in the Western Festivals/Screenings | 1 Comment

Stream and Miramax announce agreement to provide iconic Miramax films in Russia

Stream will stream Miramax classics to Russian audience through SVOD on Internet-connected devices in HD

stream-miramax 

MOSCOW and LONDON, July 10, 2012 – Stream LLC, (formerly Omlet.ru), a leading multimedia entertainment services company in Russia, and Miramax, one of the world’s leading independent film and television studios, today announced a multi-year subscription video on demand (SVOD) partnership, making Stream the first Russian multimedia entity to digitally distribute Miramax’s acclaimed movies to the Russian marketplace.

Under the distribution deal, a broad array of Miramax’s award-winning classics, such as Kill Bill, From Dusk Till Dawn, Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, The English Patient and many other masterpieces of modern cinema, will be available to Stream SVOD customers.  Stream SVOD viewers will have the opportunity to watch their high quality HD movie selections directly through www.stream.ru, or to download them to internet-connected devices including tablets, smart phones, game consoles, Blu-ray players and connected TVs.

“Stream’s alliance with the acclaimed Miramax film studio is a milestone success for us,” said Inna Shalyto, CEO of Stream. “We are glad that thanks to partnership with Miramax we shall bring some of the world’s most original and favored titles to Russian audience. Besides, it is also means a breakthrough in Stream’s efforts to create a civilized film market in Russia with sophisticated and quality digital content public distribution through business relationships with international content owners.”

“We’re extremely excited to begin bringing Miramax’s award-winning movies to Russian audiences through Stream,” said Danny Goldman, Miramax Senior Vice President and Head of Sales, EMEA.  “Stream has developed into a leader in the Russian media content market, and we are very pleased that they are our first partner in Russia as we continue to extend Miramax’s global relationships.”

About Stream

Stream.ru is a Russian multimedia content portal launched by Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) in 2009.  Sistema JSFC (“Sistema”) (LSE: SSA), the largest diversified publicly-traded investment company in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), joined forces with MTS in 2012 to develop and manage Stream.ru (formerly Omlet.ru).  Stream’s content is available on Smart TV devices from Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Philips as well as smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes, and PCs.  Stream’s portfolio includes about 7,000 movies and TV series episodes from leading international and Russian studios (Universal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Walt Disney, Bazelevs, Central Partnership). Stream’s portal reaches more than 1.5 million unique visitors monthly.

For more information visit www.stream.ru

About Miramax

 Miramax is a leading worldwide film and television studio with a library of more than 700 motion pictures.  Miramax sells directly and licenses its titles globally through strategic partnerships including: Lionsgate, Netflix, Facebook, Hulu and StudioCanal.  The Miramax library holds some of the world’s most original and acclaimed independent films including Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, The English Patient, Kill Bill Volumes I and II, Life is Beautiful, Reservoir Dogs, Sex, Lies and Videotape, Cinema Paradiso and My Left Foot – as well as scores of commercially successful films such as The Aviator, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bad Santa, Chicago, There Will Be Blood, and the Scream, Hellraiser, Scary Movie and Spy Kids franchises.  In 2011, Miramax released three new films including the critically acclaimed film The Debt, starring Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain, directed by John Madden.  Collectively, the Miramax library has received 284 Academy Award nominations and 68 Oscars, including four Best Picture awards. 

Miramax is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with a sales office in London.  For more information, please visit www.miramax.com, “like” the company on www.facebook.com/miramax and follow Miramax on Twitter @Miramax.

Posted in Film Industry Reports & Interviews | Tagged as: , , | 1 Comment

Over 300 Warner Bros. Movies To Upload In Russia

Warner BrothersMOSCOW. July 5, 2012.  Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD), a market leader in video-on-demand and electronic sell-through, has partnered with Russian Stream LLC (former Omlet.ru) to provide over 300 movies for millions of Russian viewers through www.stream.ru.

In a world of instant information, streaming videos are replacing DVDs. Stream LLC announced, it will offer WBDD’s classic films and blockbusters like The Dark Knight  for nearly $3 and films like Sherlock Holmes, or Harry Potter, or Matrix for about $1,7 or a bit more.

“Russian viewers will download the WBDD’s quality HD content to watch it in full screen with their PCs, or iPhones, iPads and other portable devices”, comments Inna Shalyto, Director General of Stream LLC.

“The films are stored now in the so-called Sky-Cloud Directory, our next generation service,” – says Inna Shalyto. “In the near future we’ll offer an expanded WBDD’s catalog of films for Samsung Smart TV and other devices.

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