Russian-Ukrainian-Polish co-production to start shooting from October after German Jr completes short film From Tokyo

Moscow-based film and commmercials company Metrafilms is in negotiations with leading Russian actors Chulpan Khamatova (Good Bye, Lenin!) and Yevgeny Mironov (Burnt By The Sun) to appear in Alexey German Jr’s next feature Under Electric Clouds.

Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily during this week’s St Petersburg International Kinoforum, producer Artem Vasiliev said that casting would start soon in St Petersburg and Kiev on the film, which will be made over 75 shooting days in the two cities from this October to spring 2012.

Under Electric Clouds was the winner of the Screen International Best Pitch Award at the Baltic Event’s co-production meeting in December 2010. German Jr’s Paper Soldier won The Silver Lion for best director at Venice in 2008.

The film will be a Russian-Ukrainian-Polish co-production and has Dariusz Jablonski’s Apple Film on board as the Polish partner. Vasiliev said that they may seek to attract a Western European production partner in order to have access to post production facilities.

Previously, Metrafilms had been a minority Russian partner on Apple Film’s Aftermath, which received backing from Eurimages at its funding session last month. An application will now be made for the next funding deadline of the pan-European co-production fund and Under Electric Clouds could be one of the first – if not the very first – Russian majority co-production receiving Eurimages backing since Russia joined the fund last March.

Vasiliev explained that before shooting begins on Under Electric Clouds this autumn German Jr will be shooting a six to seven-minute short entitled From Tokyo, about a rescue team returning to Russia from the earthquake in Japan at the beginning of 2011.

The production, which is being financed by the Scotch whisky brand Chivas, will be shot digitally with the ARRI Alexa and give German Jr “the chance to test some of the creative elements proposed for the feature film”.

The short film comes after Metrafilms was commissioned by US chewing gum company Wrigley for the project Experiment 5 to make five arthouse shorts by leading young Russian directors Alexey Popogrebsky (Bloodrop), Alexander Veledinsky (Portrait), Igor Voloshin (Atlantika), Andrey Zvyagintsev (Secret) and Petr Buslov (Sunrise/Sunset).

Popogrebsky’s short was made in a Berlin studio in stereo 3D without dialogue and starring Grigori Dobrygin (one of the leads in the director’s Berlinale 2010 competition film How I Ended This Summer), while Voloshin’s French language piece featured Denis Lavant. Buzlov, who is the director of the forthcoming biopic on the legendary Russian bard Vladimir Vysotsky, shot his contribution in English, and the other two shorts were in the Russian language.