EXCLUSIVE: The Russian Cinema Fund (Fond Kino) is backing the first Red Square Screenings – to be held in the historic building of the GUM department store in Moscow city centre over five days from October 15-20, 2012 – to promote Russian cinema in the international market.

International sales agents and theatrical distributors with past experience of handling Russian films as well as festival programmers, film journalists and academics will be invited to attend screenings of 50 new Russian films as well as productions from the Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus. They will also have access to a further 100 titles in a video library.

Speaking exclusively to Screen Daily at this week’s Odessa International Film Festival, Anton Mazurov, creative director of the Screenings’ organiser RAC! (The Russians Are Coming!), said that “the model for this event is the Rendez-Vous in Paris in January and Ventana Sur in Buenos Aires in December. We will be inviting 100 people, ranging from theatrical distributors through TV buyers and festival programmers to international press. The Screenings are intended to become an annual event because it is a perfect time in October between Pusan and Tokyo, and now that Rome has moved to November.”

“The Screenings are for all of the industry,” Mazurov explained. “We will not just be showing festival or arthouse films and will cover fiction feature films, documentaries and animation. We as organisers will not be making any selection of the films to be shown, but the lineup will be decided by the producers as they submit their films. There may also be some gala premieres, and one day will see a programme of works in progress.”

“The Red Square Screenings will be the first Russian market for face to face business for the promotion and selling of Russian films,”  said Mazurov who had previously served as the programme director of the 2Morrow Festival in Moscow and worked for the Russian distributor Cinema Without Borders.