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Moscow Best Pitch Award won by Russian cinema's 'enfant terrible'

Moscow Business Square’s Best Pitch Award has been won by Valeria Gai Germanika for her planned update of a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale.

Germanika, who focusses on coming-of-age films, is known as Russian cinema’s ‘enfent terrible’ and receied the Caméra d’Or at Cannes in 2008 for her feature film Everybody Dies But Me..

Her latest project, The Dream-God, is a contemporary reworking of Christian Andersen’s Ole-Luk-Oie. The $2.45m (€1.875m) production by Andrey Sigle’s St Petersburg-based Proline Film already has $1.6m (€1.25m) in place.

The film’s action centres on a seven-year old boy haunted by a friendly monster called The Dream-God who visits him every night in the form of a Goth singer from the poster in his elder sister’s bedroom.

Proline’s Leonid Choub revealed during the pitching at the Business Square that they intend to cast a Western rock star in the role of the Dream-God and feature his music on the soundtrack.

The award, worth $33,000 (€25,000) of services from Moscow’s Glavkino Studios, is being presented for the second time. The inaugrual prize was awarded last year to Peter Greenaway for his adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novella Death In Venice, set to be shot in the UK in 2014.

Other projects attracting particular interest among the visiting Western producers were:

  • Stean Tolz’s Georgian-set Fizz - Little Shop Of Soda, produced by Germany’s Heino Deckert (ma.ja.de) and Georgian film-maker Nana Djordjadze (Studio 99);

  • Pavel Lungin’s $11m English language Queen Of Spades, adapted from Pushkin’s famous novella by The King’s Speech screenwriter David Seidler and set to shoot in February 2014;

  • Russian-Chinese drama You Are My Mama, to be directed by Leonid Rybakov and produced by Hong Kong-based Chow Keung of Xstream Pictures. 

Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily during the Co-Production Forum, Dutch producer Bruno Felix of Submarine said that principal photography on Greenaway’s next feature project, Eisenstein in Guanajuato, is to begin at the original locations in Mexico at the beginning of November and will wrap shooting by the end of December.

More than $2.6m (€2m) of the $3.5m (€2.7m) budget is now in place with backing from the Netherlands Film Fund and broadcaster VPRO and Paloma Negra, Potemkino, Climax Films and Rija Films attached as production partners.

Felix added that Greenaway is looking to cast a Russian actor in the role of Eisenstein and will need to gain access to documentary footage and drawings of Eisenstein to be used in the film.

Screen also learned from producer Artem Vasiliev (Metrafilms) and his Polish co-producer Dariusz Jablonski (Apple Film) that shooting has been temporarily halted on Alexey German Jr.’s new feature Under Electric Clouds following the death of his 74-year-old father Alexey German in February.

German has been asked to complete the post-production on his late father’s adaptation of the Strugatsky brothers’ science fiction novel Hard To Be A God. A previous adaptation was made in the 1980s by German director Peter Fleischmann.

Under Electric Clouds received the Screen International Best Pitch Award at the Baltic Event in Tallinn in 2010.

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