Russian actor Sergey Puskepalis is to make his directorial debut and has cast Alexey Serebryakov, star of Cannes winner Leviathan.

Clinch is billed as a drama with tragicomic elements starring Serebryakov, who headlined Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan, winner of best screenplay at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Clinch, which is being produced by Ruben Dishdishyan’s Mars Media Entertainment, also features the actress Asya Domskaya in her first screen role.

Speaking to RIA-Novosti, Puskepalis explained that the film’s story, which he had developed for the past five years, focuses on “the clinch of relations between the ‘next’ generations and people of my age”.

“We are not very good at understanding the kids who are around 20-22 years-old. And there’s an essential difference between us – they are citizens of Russia and we are all still from the USSR,” he added.

Puskepalis and his co-star Grigory Dobrygin shared a Silver Bear at the 2010 Berlinale for their performances in Alexey Popogrebsky’s How I Ended This Summer.

They also both appear in the international cast of Kevin McDonald’s upcoming submarine adventure thriller Black Sea, which was in production in the UK last summer.

Dobrygin – who attended last month’s Moscow International Film Festival to present Anton Corbijn’s John Le Carré adaptation A Most Wanted Man - has also donned the director’s hat to make two shorts.

These include Verpackungen, which premiered at the Kinotavr Open Russian Film Festival in Sochi where it won the Short Film Jury’s Special Diploma “for the high level of direction” and the Guild of Film Critics and Film Scholars’ prize.

Shot on location in Wandlitz near Berlin, Dobrygin’s film about the order of things includes the Romanian actor George Pistereanu who starred in Florin Serban’s If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle which competed at the same Berlinale as How I Ended This Summer.

Ministry of Culture pays out $22m

The Russian Federation’s Ministry of Culture has now confirmed allocation this year of RUB 750m ($22m) to national auteur feature projects, children’s films and TV series.

A total of RUB 400m ($11.7m) will be distributed to 12 feature film projects, ranging from Andrey Konchalovsky’s biopic Viki through Tatyana Voronetskaya’s Dostoyevsky adaptation White Nights to Fyodor Bondarchuk’s omnibus film project  Petersburg: A Category Of Feelings with episodes to be directed by such international film-makers as Todd Solondz, Ilmar Raag and Cedric Klapisch.

RUB 140m ($4.1m) will be invested into children’s film projects such as Darya and Ekaterina Nosik’s debut Alyosha and Sergey Rusakov’s Nikita Khotabitch and RUB 200m ($23.4m)for TV serials, including Ekaterina and Chernobyl.

In addition, RUB 10m ($300,000) was made available for the completion of Yuri Kara’s feature project Head Constructor about the chief Soviet rocket engineer Sergey Korolyov.

Meanwhile, according to RIA-Novosti, Russia’s General Prosecutor – the Genprokuratura – has levelled criticism at the Ministry of Culture for insufficient monitoring of its distribution of RUB 1.1bn $32.25m) of subsidies in the years 2011-2013 for projects by documentary filmmakers.