Russian holding company AFK Sistema and Russian World Studios (RWS) have announced a joint venture for film production with facilities in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Anapa.

'The establishment of two RWS film studios in St. Petersburg and Anapa and the growth of the Moscow film studio will enlarge the release of products for traditional and developing digital and mobile platforms and broaden services to other producer companies,' RWS general director Andrei Smirnov told news agency Interfax.

Russian World Studios serviced the Moscow shoot of Hallmark Entertainment's 2005 TV thriller Icon, starring Patrick Swayze, and The Spirit, a short directed by Joseph Fiennes, as well as numerous Russian features and TV productions.

Sistema reaches 1.5m Russian households with its pay-TV service Stream TV. The company's Tema Productions subsidiary provides financing and production services for film production, manages content and rights libraries.

'We expect RWS to strengthen positions of AFK Sistema not only in the video segment, in which we plan to become the leader within three years, but also on the market of pay TV and Internet services,' Sistema first vice-president Anton Abugov told Interfax.

Sistema subsidiary Thema Productions has faced three years of delays in launching a six-stage production facility in St. Petersburg.

At the same time, property developer TriGranit, owned by Hungarian real estate mogul Sandor Demjan, who also owns Korda Studios in Budapest, is in negotiations with St. Petersburg to develop a film and TV production facility there.

Sistema owner Vladimir Yevtushenko is reported to be interested in taking over English Championship club Sheffield Wednesday.