Project is discussed by Cinecitta Luce at Russia’s Voices festival, where there is a strong Italian presence.

Italy’s Vivo Film, producer of Michelangelo Frammartino’s award-winning film Le Quattro Volte (Four Times), will partner with St Petersburg-based Rock Films on an Italian remake of Russian director Alexey Uchitel’s romantic drama The Stroll from 2003.

Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily, Rock Films‘ Kira Saksaganskaya [pictured] said she and husband Uchitel will produce the Russian-Italian co-production with Marta Donzelli and Gregorio Paonessa from Vivo Film.

Funding for the project will be coming, on the Russian side, from the Russian Cinema Fund and, on the Italian, from Cinecitta Luce.

Saksaganskaya said that a decision would now be made on which Italian city the action of the remake should take place. “The director, scriptwriter and main actors will be Italian, the DoP will be Russian,” she said, adding that the shoot is planned for March 2012.

Uchitel’s original film focused on three 20somethings — a girl and two chance companions — as they walked halfway around St Petersburg, flirting and teasing one another.

Claudia Bedogni, responsible for acquisitions and co-productions at Cinecitta Luce, explained to ScreenDaily that this project is the first fruit of an agreement signed between the Russian Cinema Fund (RCF) and Cinecitta Luce “to encourage as many co-productions as possible between Italian and Russian producers.“

“We will look out for projects to propose ourselves and the Russian Cinema Fund will do likewise, or they can come from the producers,” she said, pointing out that the idea for an Italian remake of The Stroll had come from the RCF.

“We were immediately fascinated by the story that takes place in the space of one day and we like the idea of reproducing the same cinematographic theme in an Italian town,” Bedogni continued. “We are considering many Italian towns and want to use something new like Genoa rather than choose somewhere like Rome.”

In addition, she suggested that the part of the young girl could be played by a Russian actress and that there might be some cameo appearances by some famous Italian and Russian stars.

Bedogni recalled that she had elicited “a very enthusiastic response” from Vivofilm’s Marta Donzelli when she pitched the project to her and had then brought her to last week’s Moscow Business Square to meet Kira Saksaganskaya to discuss the collaboration.

It is possible that the remake may be directed by a first or second-time director since Cinecitta Luce’s mission, according to Bedogni, is “to scout for young talents and concentrate on first and second-time directors, accompany the projects to the international arena and help promote co-productions.“

Bedogni is now part of a delegation of Italian film industry figures attending the second edition of Voices (Vologda Independent Cinema from European Screens Festival) which is running until July 10 in the historic city of Vologda, situated mid-way between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The Italian presence at Voices is part of the year-long Russia Italia 2011 arts festival which began last month.

Francesca Archebugi’s film Questione di Cuore opened the festival which has also been honoured with the presence of legendary actress Claudia Cardinale and veteran director Paolo Taviani.

“When Claudia Cardinale learned that the Voices festival promotes young European cinema, she offered to become a muse of our festival,“ Voices art director Korinna Danielou said. “In recent years, she has helped a lot of novice directors.“

In addition, the festival has been able to welcome producer Alessandro Borrelli of La Sarraz Pictures, whose production of the Italian brothers Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio’s fiction feature debut Sette opere di misericordia will have its world premiere in Locarno next month; director Gianluca Sportelli from Centro Sperimentale Cinematografica who is working on a film about the Russia - Italia 2011 year of events; and producer Paolo Maria Spina and directors Roberto Menotti and Mario Marchionni who will be presenting new film projects of potential interest to Russian co-producers at a pitching  roundtable on Friday afternoon (July 8).

Meanwhile, John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard, Brigitte Sy’s Free Hands, Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur, and Oleg Flyangolts‘ Indifference are among 10 first and second European feature films competing for the Voices Grand Prix which will be decided by a jury headed by veteran UK director Hugh Hudson and including Serbia’s Goran Paskaljevic, Ukraine’s Sergei Loznitsa – who won last year’s Grand Prix at the first edition of VOICES with My Joy, Russian actress Kseniya Rappoport, Sofia International Film Festival director Stefan Kitanov, and Italian actress and model Caterina Murino.

On Wednesday evening, Paolo Taviani presented the newly created “Talent Without Border Award“ to his Russian colleague Alexander Sokurov before a screening of Russian Ark. Master classes have been given during the festival by these two directors as well as by fellow filmmakers Krzysztof Zanussi and Nana Djordjadze.