IFC Midnight has acquired North American rights from XYZ Films to Russian sci-fi thriller Sputnik, which was set to receive its world premiere in Tribeca Film Festival’s Midnight section later this month.
Oksana Akinshina from Lilya-4-Ever stars alongside Fedor Bondarchuk in Egor Abramenko’s directorial debut based on his acclaimed 2017 Fantastic Film Festival short The Passenger. Art Pictures Distribution handles international sales.
The story takes place at the height of the Cold War as a Russian psychologist is assigned to treat a cosmonaut whose Soviet spaceship has crashed-landed on Earth. As the psychologist assesses the returning commander’s mental state it becomes clear he may unwittingly have brought something dangerous back to Earth. The cast includes Pyotr Fyodorov and Anton Vasilev.
Oleg Malovichko and Andrei Zolotarev wrote the screenplay to Sputnik, a Vodorod Pictures, Art Pictures Studio, Hype Film, Cinema Fund, NMG Studio and CTC Network production, produced by Mikhail Vrubel, Alexander Andryushenko, Bondarchuk, Ilya Stewart, Murad Osmann, Pavel Burya, and Vyacheslav Murugov.
IFC Midnight will release the film in select theatres, digital platforms, and cable VOD on August 14, 2020. The sci-fi thriller had been scheduled for release in Russia on April 16 through Sony Pictures, but due to theatre closures amid the Covid-19 pandemic it will now debut digitally on Russian platforms on April 23.
Arianna Bocco, IFC Films executive vice-president of acquisitions and productions, said: “Egor has created a stunning film with Sputnik in the vein of the classic sci-fi epics that captivate US audiences. We’re thrilled to bring this visually impressive debut to audiences across the country.”
Abramenko added, “I’m excited to share my film with American audiences. I was inspired by many American films when making Sputnik so it’s a very important country for me to show this film. I am so happy to be partnering with IFC Midnight who represent a great family of international filmmakers.”
IFC director of acquisitions Aijah Keith brokered the deal with Pip Ngo of XYZ Films on behalf of the filmmakers. Abramenko is represented by UTA and managed by Peter Van Steemburg at XYZ Films.