New films by Alexey Fedorchenko, Alexander Veledinsky and debutants Natasha Merkulova and Alexey Chupov are on the slate of the new Russian sales company Antipode Sales & Distribution being launched at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily, Antipode’s founder Anton Mazurov said that his company will have its own stand in the Marché du Film and hold market premieres of two films which were presented as “works in progress” at the Red Square Screenings in Moscow last October.

These are co-directors Merkulova and Chupov’s farce Intimate Parts and Veledinsky’s comedy Geographer Drank His Globe Away, which is based on Alexey Ivanov’s eponymous bestseller.

Both titles will have their Russian premiere as part of the Kinotavr “Open Russian” Film Festival in Sochi next month.

Selling Fedorchenko

Antipode will also handle international sales on Alexey Fedorchenko’s latest feature film Celestial Wives Of The Meadow Mari, which won the FIPRESCI Critics’ Prize and the Federal Foreign Office’s Award for “artistic originality which creates cultural diversity” at the goEast Film Festival in Wiesbaden last month.

The Moscow-based company will also have Fedorchenko’s previous films, including the award-winning mockumentary First On The Moon and Buntings, on offer in its back catalogue.

Mazurov revealed that his slate includes two future projects currently in pre-production from Fedorchenko: retro movie Angels And Revolution and Space Mowgli (working title), a screen adaptation of the science fiction novel The Child by the Strugatzky brothers. Previous adaptations of Strugatzkys novels include Roadside Picnic, The Ugly Swans, It’s Hard To Be A God and The Inhabited Island.

Another two films in the new player’s line-up are Alexander Proshkin’s Expiation, based on a novel by screenwriter Friedrich Gorenstein (Solaris and House With A Turret), and Georgy Paradzhanov’s Everyone Is Gone that has been described as “a Georgian Amarcord”.

Mazurov, who was one of the organisers of last year’s first edition of the Red Square Screenings, has put a team of experienced film sales executives at the new company, including Elena Podolskaya as head of sales, Daria Appolonova and Karina Ayrapetova responsible for international sales, and Anisya Kazakova coordinating PR and development.

Reflexion Films

The launch of Antipode follows the setting up of another Russian sales company, Reflexion Films, by the organiser of Moscow Business Square to handle international sales of Russian fiction feature films and documentaries.

Reflexion had been selling Svetlana Baskova’s For Marx at this year’s Berlinale and attended Nyon’s Visions du Réel last month to represent the Russian-Azerbaijani documentary My Kith And Kin by Rodion Ismailov.

Reflexion’s latest additions to its sales line-up include Alexandra Strelyanaya’s drama The Sea, produced by Alexander Uchitel’s Rock Films, and Gleb Glebov’s Snowstorm, starring Grigoriy Dobrynin (How I Ended This Summer) and based on Leo Tolstoy’s story of the same name.

Life after Fond Kino 

These developments follow the closure of the Russian Cinema Fund and its international department “due to political reasons”, according to the department’s former head Elena Romanova.

She pointed out in a mailing that international collaboration in the field of cinema will now be fully coordinated under the auspices of Russia’s Ministry of Culture, which is supposed to be delegating different lines of activity to “various operators”.

“As you can imagine, I enjoyed my work very much and I always wanted to do something really useful and valuable for promoting Russian cinema industry in all aspects abroad,” Romanova said.

“I believe that these initiatives, especially in the sphere of co-production and supporting young and talented [filmmakers], should be continued and developed further.”

To this end, she has established a new independent fund called Open World Fund with backers from the worlds of Russian cinema and business to support and promote culture and cinema.

The new initiative will be launched during the forthcoming Cannes Film Festival on May 25 at the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc in Antibes, featuring a fashion show by Yulia Yanina and DJ Sylvain Armand.