The recently created Saint-Petersburg-based Point Of View (POV) Development Fund has backed three film projects a total of $86,000 (€65,000).

An international expert group of producers that selected the projects included Sergei Selyanov (CTB Film Company), Artem Vasiliev (Metrafilms), Riina Sildos (Amrion), Konstantinos Kontovrakis (Heretic) and Berlin-based sales agent Jean-Christophe Simon of Films Boutique.

The films they selected each have the fate of a woman at their centre:

  • The Woman From Ingria, to be produced by Pavel Odynin, is based on the biography of a simple woman in the north-western corner of Russia during the 20th century (€25,000);

  • Svetlana follows the real love story between Stalin’s daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva and the Indian raj Brajesh Singh in the mid-1960s. It will be produced by Anastasia Perova, Olga Kolegaeva and Konstantin Nafikov with Karsten Stöter of Germany’s Rohfilm,which was a co-producer of Ritesh Batra’s Cannes hit The Lunchbox (€25,000);

  • Manifestation, the feature debut by Georgian-born film-maker Anna Sarukhanova will be produced by Vita Aktiva’s Julia Mishkinene, producer of Bakur Bakuradze’s Shultes and The Hunter and his latest project The General.

The private POV fund is intended to help develop the film industry infrastructure in Saint-Petersburg and is aimed at projects of “high artistic value” and “with strong distrbution potential or global festival potential”. The grants are repayable on the first day of principal photography unless agreed otherwise.

The three projects will be presented in Saint-Petersburg on Sept 15 as part of the first edition of the Northern Seas Film Forum (NSFF), which is being held during the Saint-Petersburg International Fim Festival from Sept 15-17.

Nine selected for Northern Seas Film Forum

Co-production projects from Veiko Ounpuu, Petri Kotwica and Leslie Manning are among nine films selected for NSFF’s first edition which is targeted at the countries of Northern Europe and the bordering countries – from Russia to Ireland.

Estonian director Ounpuu (The Temptation of Saint Tony) will be bringing The Last One, a surrealistic fantasy set in a mining community in the north of Finland, which already has Finland’s Bufo and Estonia’s Homeless Bob as production partners.

Kotwica’s suspense-filled drama Cross Your Heart will be presented by Vertigo Production before being pitched at the Netherlands Production Platform in Utrecht at the end of September.

Manning’s long gestating project Telepathy, written by Stephen Volk and to be produced by David Collins’ Samson Films, about the story of two identical twins whose telepathic links become stronger when one of them becomes a cosmonaut.

The lineup also includes Allan van O.T. Anderson’s Escaping Sunshine, which won the Baltic Event’s Best Pitch award last December and raised over €15,000 in a crowdfunding campaign this summer to shoot a short teaser.

The other projects selected for pitching in St Petersburg are:

  • Antti Jokinen’s drama about organised crime on the Russian-Finnish border, The Criminal (Finland);
  • Mikhail Mareski’s St Petersburg-based comedy Patriots (Russia, UK);
  • Krzysztof Zhonchynsky’s mystical drama He (Poland);
  • Marianne Ahrne’s biopic of the famous Swedish illustrator John Bauer – The Mountain King (Sweden).

The three-day event will also have a Netherlands Session with support of the Holland Film Meeting (HFM) as part of the Russia-Netherlands Year of Culture, to present another three new projects.

HFM has selected UK writer-director Luke Watson’s The Devil’s Outlaw about the 15th century English female bandit Kate Torn; Thijs Schreuder’s Witch Of The Fen, a love story in a Dutch village set against the background of the First World War, to be produced by San Fu Maltha’s FuWorks; and Joost van Ginkel’s EAVE Puentes project La Holandesa, to be produced by Smarthouse.

Saint-Petersburg hosts B’EST workshop

Ahead of the Film Forum, ten producers from the EU, CIS countries and Georgia will be in Saint-Petersburg for the second edition of the Baltic Bridge East by West (B’EST) workshop (Sept 11-15).

The European side is represented by Vienna-based Russian debutant film-maker Elena Tikhonova’s gangster comedy Kaviar, French director Valerie Gaudissart’s second feature, the road movie You Hid Saint Petersburg in Your Bag, NFTS graduates Egle Vertelyte and Lukas Trimonis’s post-Soviet tragicomedy A Miracle, and FAMU graduate György Kristóf’s debut feature Out, and Tatiana Korol’s comedy Passing Clouds, which was pitched by the UK’s Scala Productions at the Moscow Co-Production Forum in June.

On the Eastern front, the workshop will be attended by the producers of Azeri Ru Hasanov’s second feature Northbound, veteran award-winning Georgian director Merab Kokochashvili’s drama Terzo Mondo, Kalmyk film-maker Ella Manzheeva’s debut The Gulls, The Light Thief’s Aktan Arym Kubat new project Centaur  from Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine’s Oleg Sentsov’s Kai which was also pitched in Odessa in July.

jOBS opens second Saint-Petersburg IFF

Joshua Michael Stern’s jOBS will open the second edition of Saint-Petersburg’s International Film Festival (Sept 13-22), which will have 14 films from 14 countries competing for the Golden Angel statuette.

The competition line-up includes Michael Polish’s Big Sur, Lars-Gunnar Lotz’s Shifting The Blame, Yariv Horowitz’s Rock The Casbah, Tudor Giurgiu’s Of Snails And Men, Michael Winterbottom’s Everyday, and Slawomir Fabicki’s Loving.

Other programme highlights will include a special programme dedicated to Oliver Stone who will come to Saint-Petersburg to introduce his 10-hour documentary series The Untold Story Of The United States and the 206-minute ‘ultimate cut’ version of Alexander as well as screenings of Savages and JFK.