Russian content gains international momentum

After a successful Key Buyers Event: Digital, which concluded on June 10, Russian content continues to announce new agreements and recognitions in the worldwide market place. On the one hand, TV-series Chiсks and Psycho were elected for prestigious international film festivals, and on the other, the documentary Memory received IDFA Bertha Fund Europe grant and a French co-producer.

Two fiction projects produced by Russian OTT-service more.tv, Chiсks and Psycho, were selected for the official lineups of SeriesFest international festival and Long Island International Film Expo. The first series have been nominated for the IPC Drama and the second has been chosen for IPC Dramedy category. There are 7 international projects presented in the "Independent Pilot Competition" section this year, and these were the only Russian TV series.

Unconventional point of view to the raised issues, and reveal of the characters from the different angles were the main criteria for projects’ selection to SeriesFest, a non-profit organization that champions and empowers artists at the forefront of episodic storytelling by providing year-round opportunities for creators and industry experts to connect, collaborate, and share stories, which inspire and impact global audience. Besides, the committee of SeriesFest place particular emphasis on female representation in production crew of the shows when shortlisting the series. Traditionally, the jury of the festival includes award-winning actors, producers and production executives such as Allison Wasserman, Director, Original Programming, HBO, Col Needham, Founder and CEO, IMDb, Amanda Palley, SVP Current Programs, CBS, and others. The festival will be held online on June 24 - July 11.

Chiсks and Psycho were selected for the official lineup of the Long Island International Film Expo which will take place in New York August 10 - 15. The LIIFE has been running since 1997. About 450 international projects apply for the festival every year. Long Island International Film Expo has been attended by some Hollywood’s finest including: John Amos (What’s Happening), Ed Asner (Mary Tyler Moore Show), Robert Davi (Goonies), William Sadler (Shawshank Redemption), John Nolan (Taking Back Sunday), Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), Billy Baldwin (Backdraft), Ed Burns (Saving Private Ryan).

On the other hand, Russian feature-length documentary film Memory by Vladlena Sandu receives a grant from the IDFA Bertha Fund Europe in the "International Co-production" category. Following the grant French producer Karim Aitouna for Haut Les Mains came on board to join the project. One of the 17 feature-length films presented at the Key Buyers Event: Digital co-production pitching section became a recipient of a €40,000 grant from IBF Europe. In addition to the grant, the project will also receive tailored support through IDFA's Filmmaker Support department and year-round opportunities for connecting with IDFA’s professional network.

For the April 2021 IBF Europe selection round the fund considered 36 projects of which 6 are selected. The IDFA Bertha Fund selection committee included Henrik Underbjerg, IMS, Stray Dogs Productions, Adriek van Nieuwenhuijzen, Head of Industry, IDFA, Armi Rae Cacanindin, Cinematografica Films, Estelle Robin You, Point du Jour - Les Films du Balibari, and Isabel Arrate Fernandez, Managing Director, IDFA Bertha Fund. 

Memory is an autobiographical feature-length debut by award winning Russian female writer-director Vladlena Sandu (Holy God, Eight Images From The Life Of Nastya Sokolova, Identification), produced by Yanna Buryak, founding director of Moscow based production company MIMESIS. Half of the documentary was recently shot on 16mm film in Chechnya, over the course of April 2021. The film is now officially a co-production between Russia, Netherlands and Kosovo: Yanna Buryak for Mimesis, Raymond van der Kaaij and Kirsi Saivolsalmi for Revolver (www.revolver.nl), Eroll Bilibani for BZ SH.P.K. 

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