Russian producer Sergey Gribkov is close to completing a bigbudget spy-action blockbuster called Countdown,set to be one of the most ambitious films ever made in Russia.

Directed by Evgeniy Lavrentiev (Swindle, Dream On), the multi-million dollar picture has beenshooting for 26 weeks in and around Moscow, the Caucasus and Georgia. Theproduction moved to Italy earlier this month for a 3-day shoot in Rome.

Themovie focuses on a group of international terrorists who plan to launch a majorchemical attack on Rome and destroy the city, where a world summit on terrorismis taking place. The world's leaders, however, put their heads together andcooperate to stop the attack and fight international terrorism.

Written by Ramil Yamaleev, the film is lit by British-borncinematographer and commercials director Stasch Radwansky Jr. The cast includesUK actress Louise Lambard (Hidalgo),who plays the part of a journalist, alongside Russian actors VyacheslavRazbegnev, Alexey Makarov, Yury Tsurilo and Victor Verzhbizkiy.

Gribkov, whose credits include Roman Prygunov's The Solitude Of Blood (Odinochestvo Krovi) and RuslanBaltzer's hit franchise Don't Even Think!(Dazhe Ne Dumai!), is producing through his Moscow-based company, Top LineProduction.

The film is being entirely financed in Russia throughprivate Russian investors and banks, as well as the Russian cultural ministry.The Russian army has provided tanks and other military equipment to theproduction. A USanti-terrorism specialist is acting as advisor on the film.

Countdown wrapsproduction at the end of June and is expected to be released in Russia onSeptember 9.

International sales are being handled by StratinvestRu, aconsulting company based in Rome and Moscow, which is pitching the film as"a cocktail of Die Hard and 007"