Roskino and Russian Cinema are joining forces for the first time to present companies in the Russian Pavilion at the forthcoming Marché du Film in Cannes.

In previous years, the two promotional platforms – Russian Cinema financed by the Russian Cinema Fund (RCF) and Roskino by the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Culture – had operated from separate locations in Cannes.

And at the Berlinale’s European Film Market, Russian Cinema has had a stand in the Martin Gropius Bau, while Roskino was based on the first floor of the Marriott Hotel.

At a press conference in Moscow, RCF executive director Anton Malyshev spoke about the reasoning behind the decision to organise a united stand and pointed to the “necessity for optimisation of expenditure” and the fact that the available resources were limited this year. Although the financing from the  state had not been formally cut, the weakening of  the Russian rouble vis-a-vis the US dollar had put the Fund in “an embarrasing position”.

Roskino’s CEO Catherine Mtsituridize took the occasion to suggest that a distribution support programme similar to those operated by German Films or Unifrance could be introduced to help foreign distributors of Russian films by contributing towards the release costs.

Companies in Cannes

Over 35 Russian companies have registered with the Roskino-Russian Cinema stand, including such regulars as the production houses Art Pictures, Rock Films, Wizart Animation, Profit, CTB Film Company, Kino Direction, Red Arrow, Bazelevs, as well as the Mosfilm, Lenfilm and Glavkino studios, and sales companies Planeta Inform, Reflexion Films and Intercinema.

From disaster to animation

Planeta Inform’s Cannes line-up of new projects will include:

  • Nikolay Lebedev’s disaster action blockbuster Crew, produced by Nikita Mikhalkov’s TRITE Studio as the second Russian film in the IMAX 3D format, starring Danila Kozlovsky as a young pilot making a life and death decision with his crew in a rescue mission to save hundreds of lives, for release by Central Partnership in spring 2016.

  • Kozlovsky, popularly known as “Russia’s answer to Brad Pitt”, also stars in Andrey Kravchuk’s medieval action adventure Viking, for the Kino Direction film company, to be released by Central Partnership in 2016.

  • Central Partnership is also the producer of the epic historical action film Furious by Oleg Stepchenko, based on actual events in Kievan Rus in the 13th century during the Mongol invasion, for release in autumn 2016.

Producer-director Timur Bekmambetov’s company Bazelevs will be offering, among others, Indar Dgendunbaev’s fantasy film Dragon which is currently in production for release in 2016, while Glavkino’s Ilya Bachurin will be in Cannes to promote Andrey Migachev’s adventure thriller Eternal Cold about an ice hockey team going on a tour of a natural history museum and meeting up with some unexpected residents.

Eternal Cold is a collaborative project with leading Russian producers Fyodor Bondarchuk, Dmitriy Neldov and Stanislav Dovzhik  has already been likened by the Russian press to such films as Night At The Museum or From Dusk To Dawn.

Moreover, the flag of Russia’s animation will be held high at the Marché by such companies as Wizart Animation – with its two Snow Queen features, Sheep And Wolves and Urfin and His Wooden Soldiers - , Riki Production Centre, the producer of the Kikoriki animated adventures, and Planeta Inform with a new animation franchise Quackerz.

Russian briefs

  • This year has seen the RCF allocating development support in addition to its production funding. Four projects received backing in this new category at the last session, including Beirut by Art Pictures’ Studio, which will be presented as a project for potential co-production at an event in the Russian Pavilion during Cannes.

  • Steven Soderburgh has declined an offer to direct the film Lenin to be produced by Yelena Yatsura and Yuri Krestinsky.

    Speaking earlier this week in Moscow at the public pitching for independent companies seeking financial support from the RCF, Yatsura said that Soderbergh had liked the screenplay by the author Vladimir Sorokin, but he will be busy with directing TV series in the next two years.

    German Oscar winner Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s name has also been mooted as a possible candidate to direct. The production by Trikita Entertainment is aiming for a release in March 2017.

  • Producer Fyodor Bondarchuk announced yesterday (April 30) that he is now preparing to sue Ukraine’s Committee for Cinematography for allowing a copy of his new production Soulless 2 to be distributed on the Internet several days before the film’s premiere or theatrical release on March 5.

    The $4m sequel to Roman Prygunov’s 2012 film – which also stars Danila Kozlovsky as former top manager Max Andreev - is being handled internationally by RWV.