Meet Russia’s rising stars and upcoming projects with international potential

VASSILY SIGAREV - writer-director

Sigarev won acclaim in 2009 with feature debut Wolfy (Volchok). The psychological drama took festival awards including a special mention at Karlovy Vary, the best international feature prize at Zurich and several awards at the international youth film festival in Kiev. An established playwright, Sigarev was the first non-English-speaking playwright to win an Evening Standard theatre award in the UK for most promising playwright in 2002. He is now shooting his next film in the city of Suvorov, in Russia’s Tula region. To Live (working title) is being produced by Roman Borisevich’s Koktebel film company, which specialises in low-budget films aimed at the local market.

Contact: (7) 343 213 90 13


The 23-year-old Dobronravov made his debut with an arresting performance in Andrei Zvyagintsev’s acclaimed breakout, The Return, which won the Golden Lion at Venice in 2003. Last year Dobronravov picked up the best actor prize at the Kinotavr Open Russian Film Festival for his performance in Svetlana Proskurina’s drama Truce (Peremirie). “This is a talented and certainly a promising young artist, who deservedly won the main prize of the festival in 2010,” says Karen Shakhnazarov, a producer and screenwriter and the director general of Russia’s Mosfilm studios.

Contact: Russian Academy of Theatre Arts; (7) 495 691 9192


Born in Siberia in 1988, Chugin impressed with his first screen role in the 2009 local hit Green Beret. He has since become one of the country’s most in-demand young actors with roles in mainstream Russian films including The God’s Gift and Night Of The Fighter. His performances have impressed critics, who note his crossover potential to English-language films. In addition to film work, Chugin is actively involved in the theatre and is a student of the Moscow Theatre Art Studio, which is headed by Sergei Zhenovach.

Contact: Theatre Art Studio;;

In the pipeline: upcoming projects


Dir: Nikita Mikhalkov

This third film in Mikhalkov’s epic trilogy carries on where Burnt By The Sun 2: Exodus left off. Mikhalkov stars again as the revolutionary war hero betrayed by Stalin, with Oleg Menshikov. Filmed together with a reported budget of $35m-$55m — making the pair the most expensive Russian films of the post-Soviet era — Exodus disappointed critics when it premiered at Cannes in 2010. Central Partnership opened The Citadel in Russia on May 6 and after two weeks the film had grossed $1.3m. Wild Bunch is doing brisk international business on the last film, with multi-platform distributor Arrow Films buying both The Citadel and Exodus for the UK. “They are on a scale that we don’t see very often outside a major studio,” said Tom Stewart, head of acquisitions at Arrow Films, at the time of the deal in November 2010.

Sales: Wild Bunch;


Dir: Alexander Sokurov

Faust is the fourth and final instalment of the director’s films about the corruption of power following Moloch, Taurus and The Sun. Set and shot in Germany with a German cast led by Johannes Zeiler, Anton Adasinsky, Georg Friedrich and Hanna Schygulla, Faust is a loose interpretation of Goethe’s play about a man who sells his soul to the Devil. Moloch and Taurus both played in Competition at Cannes, so a festival berth later this year looks likely for Faust.

Sales: Films Boutique;


Dir: Josée Dayan

Gérard Depardieu stars as the controversial Tsarist monk in this $12m France-Russia co-production between Anastasia Kovtun of Russia’s B-Twin, France 3 and Russia Channel. The French and Russian-language project is now in production in a village in the far north of Russia, just outside the city of Arkhangelsk and in St Petersburg. It follows the last years of the life of Rasputin, who was close to the Russian royal family and historical events in the Russian Empire prior to the Revolution. Well-known Russian actors Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Mashkov, Anna Mikhalkova and Ksenia Rappoport co-star with France’s Fanny Ardant as Alexandra. The film is being made for both TV and theatrical release.

Contact: Russia Channel; (7) 495 955 8641