Production got underway this week on acclaimed Russian director Alexei Balabanov's new film The American (Amerikanets).

A week of filming in New York started on Monday (3 Nov, 2003) before the production uproots and moves to Siberia for a further month.

The thriller is a co-production between Russia's CTB Film Company and the UK's Tartan Films and is produced by Sergey Selyanov and Hamish McAlpine.

Balabanov has a track record of alternating art-house films and dramas, such as Freaks And Men and his adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Castle, with more commercial fare such as War (Vojna) and The Brat.

The American fits the latter category. Starring Michael Biehn, Aleksei Chadov and Viktor Sukhor, it is the tale of a US investment banker (Biehn) who makes an unauthorised investment in a Russian pulp mill. When the deal turns sour, he travels to Siberia to uncover the mystery.

Cinematography on The American is by Balabanov regular, Sergei Astakhov who filmed War, The Brat and The Brat II and Elmo Nuganen's Names In Marble. Production design is by Pavel Novikov.