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Most production outfits in the East have hunkered down to complete post-production during the cold, dark winter months after the short and frantic shooting season of summer and autumn.

In Russia 2003 was the best year for film production since 1991 with more than 100 features produced - as the GDP continues its fifth straight year of growth topping 6.7% and the real spending power of individuals increased by 10%.

Mosfilm continues as a production power-house with nearly 80 feature films shot there this year. Among the most lavish is Karen Shakhnazarov's The Pale Horse - a much anticipated historical drama about the world's first modern-day terrorist, Boris Savinikov, now in post-production.

Other anticipated films include St Petersburg-based Alexei Balabanov's The American produced by Sergey Selyanov's STV Films that shot in New York and Siberia earlier this year. A contemporary thriller, the film follows the adventures of the unlikely combination of an American stockbroker, an escaped Russian prisoner and a schoolteacher. It is co-produced by the UK's Tartan Films.

Director and producer Alexander Atanessyan spent the summer in Cuba on his ambitious project Amphibian Man, a fantasy about a man who lives under the sea. Produced by Atanessyan Angel Films, the production is due for delivery early next year as both a live action feature and an animated TV series.

High on the list of festival programmers this year is bound to be Valery Todorovsky's latest, My Step-Brother Is Frankenstein, that has just wrapped. The film is a psychological drama about a Moscow family whose routine is shattered when they learn of a son they did not know existed.

Perhaps most anticipated of all is Nikita Mikhalkov's sequel to Burnt By The Sun due to be produced by his Moscow based production outfit Three T. The project remains shrouded in mystery as the Oscar winning director continues to tinker with the script.

Meanwhile, further West in Poland which is currently recovering from a funding crisis that beset the industry over the past two years, production has been modest. But the artistic quality of a number of low-budget films, mostly supported by Polish public broadcaster TVP, has been high as witnessed by the success of Warsaw, a TVP production a feature debut by Dariusz Gajewski that swept all the prizes in Gdynia this year.

The production or productions most likely to occupy the spotlight in the coming months are two versions of the true-life story of the massacre of Polish officers by NKVD troops in the Katyn forest in 1940.

Producer Marek Nowowiejski head of Warsaw based Bow & Axe Entertainment is gearing up for a version of the story titled The Gorki Sanatorium with a script by Robert Glinski and Dzamila Ankiewica. Glinski is already attached as director. Nowowieski plans to shoot the film in Russia near the scene of the tragedy.

Meanwhile a rival plan for a production about Katyn is also being developed by Polish ikon Andrzej Wajda. Wajda's plan to tell his story through the eyes of a Russian officer has already sparked controversy in Poland where the massacre is still an open wound in Polish history.