Anne Weil and Philippe Kotlarski’s 1982-set feature will shoot in Germany, Russia and Israel

With the ink barely dry on this week’s agreement to create a French-Russian Film Academy, Rock Films has announced that it will be the Russian co-producer on Anne Weil and Philippe Kotlarski’s next feature film Friends From France.

Co-directors Weil and Kotlarski’s original screenplay is set in 1982 when two cousins travel to Leningrad on a mission to make clandestine contact with Soviet Jews who face persecution – the so-called ‘refuseniks’ – and have a range of encounters that will mark them for life.

Producer Kira Saksaganskaya told Screen Daily at this week’s Kinoforum that the film will begin principal photography this autumn at locations in Germany, Russia and Israel, and will be a co-production between delegate producer Les Films du Poisson, Berlin-based Vandertastic and her St Petersburg-based production house Rock Films.

Funding for the project has already come from such sources as the German regional fund Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (MDM) and the French-German ‘mini-traité’ co-production agreement.

Friends From France is the second collaboration between Les Films du Poisson and Vandertastic after working together on Michale Boganim’s Terre Outragée which was shot at locations in Ukraine in two blocks last summer and at the beginning of this year.

Boganim’s drama is set in a small Ukraine town under the shadow of the Chernobyl nuclear plant, following a group of characters from just before and during the catastrophe and then fast-forwarding to ten years after the event.

This year, Les Films du Poisson received the Daniel Toscan du Plantier in the category of Best Producers from France’s Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma.

Last week, Rock Films revealed that it is teaming up with Le Quattro Volte’s producer Vivo Films for an Italian remake of Alexey Uchitel’s 2003 film The Stroll.