Projects by the UK’s Cowboy Films and Russia’s Trikita Entertainment were awarded best pitch prizes at this year’s Moscow Co-Production Forum.

Two awards - each worth €5,000 and sponsored by the Russian Cinema Fund - went to UK producer Gavin Emerson for Martina Amati’s [pictured] £2m feature debut Competition and to Trikita Entertainment’s owner Yury Krestinskiy for Fedor Derevyanskiy’s $3m mystery thriller Civilians.

Emerson explained in his pitch at the Moscow Co-Production Forum that he had produced Amati’s three shorts, including her BAFTA-nominated Chalk and developed Competition, a drama about three teenage girl gymnasts coming to Russia for the Olympic Qualifying Competition, with Film4 who will also be the film’s key financier.

The UK producer said that he was looking for 15%-20% of the budget to come from a Russian co-producer.

Meanwhile, Trikita’s thriller Civilians is based on the popular psychological party game Mafia and is being developed by Krestinskiy with producer-director Sergei Bodrov with the Stateside production arm Trikita Productions also onboard..

Among the other public pitchings, Jim Steele, producer of Victor Ginzburg’s Generation P, revealed that the UK’s Chris Auty will serve as executive producer on its $12m sequel Empire V, the second part of author Victor Pelevin’s trilogy. 

Gorky Studio CEO Stas Yershov and Andrei Vasiliev are also being brought onboard as executive producers for the Top Pictures production which is set to begin shooting in the first quarter of 2013.

Ginzburg explained that Empire V “will expand the vampire film genre“ and be “a satirical take about the world we live in,“ while Steele added that the filmmakers were also interested in completing the trilogy by adapting Pelevin’s third novel in the future.

Meanwhile, Estonian producer Julia Leescu of Red Fox announced that Geraldine Chaplin and Marianne Sägebrecht are attached as cast to Oscar Vega’s comedy Stupid Party which is set to begin shooting towards the end of this year. She added that the production is keen to approach Katy Perry for the female lead in the Spanish-Irish-Estonian co-production.

At the same time, producers Gordana Milevcic and Dmitry Klepatsky said that their project, Alexander Kott’s psychological drama The Devil & Me, based on a screenplay by the UK writer Danny King (Wild Bill), is likely to be the first major Russian-Latvian co-production made since the breakup of the Soviet Union; and Russian producer-writer-director Angelina Nikonova   confirmed that sales agent Rezo Films is “also interested” in picking up her new feature project, the dramedy Welcome Home, after handling her previous film Twilight Portrait: she added that her producer Olga Dihovichnaya would again have an acting part in this $1.3m story located among the world of immigrants in New York.

Furthermore, Armenian director Vardan Hovannisyan, who made the award-winning documentary The Last Tightrope Dancer in Armenia in 2010, is now planning a fiction film version entitled Walking The Tightrope. His Yerevan-based Bars Media Film Studio already has France’s Agat Films, Belgium’s Artemis Films, and the National Cinema Center of Armenia onboard as partners.

On the event’s sidelines, Serbian director Darko Lungulov told Screen that his second feature film Monument To Michael Jackson – which was presented at Belgrade’s B2B and the Sofia Meetings - is due to begin shooting at locations in Serbia and Macedonia in three months’ time as a co-production between his company Papa Films, Germany’s Penrose Films (also a partner on Lungulov’s debut Here and There), Skopje-based Dream Factory and Macedonian filmmaker Aneta Lesnikovska’s AKA Film.