Russia at Cannes Film Festival: more than 60 projects, new brand and main dealsOn July 6-15, the Russian delegation at the 74th Cannes International Film Festival and International Film Market Marché du Film had several announcements and deals, organized by ROSKINO and supported by Cinema Fund and the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. An unified export brand was launched, Russian Content Worldwide, 60 projects from 30 companies were presented and new sales have been confirmed.
More than 30 Russian companies presented over 60 projects on a virtual stand dedicated to Russian filmmakers operated on the Marché digital platform, while 10 leading producers and distributors made video presentations of their projects including CTB, Planeta Inform, Art Pictures Distribution, All Media, Central Partnership, Mirsand Ltd., START, Proline Film, Russian World Vision and Sputnik Vostok Production.
Evgenia Markova, CEO of ROSKINO, said: 'Russian participation was as profound as in the Cannes Film Festival. Offline and online presentations of Russian producers were organized. We are delighted to have presented the Russian animation, one of the fastest-growing segments generating 30 per cent of the export revenue of all content. As part of the Producers Network platform, we introduced foreign colleagues to promising Russian producers working with minority co-production. Several large deals secured by Russian participants at Marché du Film signify the continuing trend of growing interest in Russian content not only from the festival audience but also from buyers and viewers, while the geography of our content sales is constantly expanding. Our commercial films, TV series and animation are in demand no less than the art films, which collect festival awards”.
Luminescence, official distributor of the CTB film company, finalized an agreement with New Select to sell the fairytale fantasy Upon the Magic Roads to Japan. The animated fairy-tale film made a billion-dollar box office in Russia; the rights to the film recently have also been sold to USA. The company has also closed a deal for the sci-fi action movie Cosmoball with Koch (Italy) and Entermode (Korea). Animated comedy My Sweet Monster, already successfully sold in 97 countries, will be sent to France through the distributor Koba. The company is also in the process of signing a deal for the cartoon The Nutcracker and the Magic Flute and The Barkers. Mind the cats! for North America.
With help of its sales agent Riverlet Films, Rock Films has finalized the sale of world aviation rights to The Whaler Boy, which won the Grand Prix of the Days of Venice program at the 77th Venice Film Festival. In addition, another sales agent of the film Loco Films is finalizing new deals on the implementation of rights to new territories (previously the film was sold to USA, China, Switzerland, Portugal and other countries). Distributors and festival selectors have shown interest in another Rock Films debut, the feature film Zemun by Eduard Zholin. Furthermore, the rights to the military drama by Andrey Kravchuk Once Upon a Time in the Desert, the release of which is scheduled for February 2022, are also being negotiated for sale. A highly professional team of creators of the film, a universal plot, and a popular genre of the film together with high-quality production allow distributors to be confident in the potential of this project on the international scene.
Planeta Inform has closed a deal for a horror film package, including The Ex and the mystical thriller with references to Slavic folklore Sententia, with India and Taiwan. In addition, negotiations on the film are underway with Latin America. In this regio, BF Distribution (Chile/Brazil) is carrying out the theatrical distribution of the film, which has grossed over USD 220,000 in Mexico and is due out in Chile, Argentina and Colombia shortly. The company's projects in this genre are also of interest in Japan and Southeast Asia, while North America, Germany, France, Eastern Europe and China are more interested in the science fiction We, the film adaptation of the dystopian novel by Eugene Zamyatin about the totalitarian society of the future, and the war movie Wings over Berlin, which is scheduled for release in 2022.
Russian World Vision has reached preliminary agreements on the implementation of the rights to the sports comedy Girls Got Game and the thriller Home!, where the action is set in the coronavirus pandemic in Latin America. The company has also agreed on a deal on the military action film Red Ghost in MENA. Viewers here will also see the animated film Ginger’s Tale.
RIKI Group has announced a partnership with the German company Sola Media – the agent has received the distribution rights to the animated film Finnick and will represent the film in UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Poland, the countries of the former Yugoslavia, Benelux, Scandinavia, South Africa and others. Sola Media MD, Solveig Langeland, said: 'This is a project with beautiful animation and wonderful humour that is especially necessary for viewers today”. Finnick will be released simultaneously in Russia and several countries in early 2022. International scriptwriters worked on the film, and the production was carried out at the Petersburg studio that produces the popular projects Kikoriki, Malyshariki and others'.
START has seen a tendency of growing interest in their projects from the French audience. So, this year two original projects have already entered the shortlist of the official programs of the largest TV festivals Serie Series, a drama about the seamy side of surrogacy Container, and Series Mania, a detective comedy The Vampires of Midland. At the Marché du Film, these series have attracted the interest of French, German, Polish, Australian channels and streaming sites. At the moment, negotiations are being held.
Art Pictures Distribution noted that, despite the format of the film market, there was an opportunity to present TV series with the premiere of the comedy Brothers, the sports drama Rugby, the new season of the already known to the market Lanky Girls and others. The projects have interested buyers from France, the USA, Germany, Canada and several Asian territories. As part of the presentation, the company also presented a documentary film dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Sergei Bondarchuk Battle – not a typical biography of the hero of the day, but a visual immersion in a unique period in the history of world cinema.
All Media, part of the START holding, presented various films to the international distributors including commercial projects, strong art films and directorial debuts – about 30 meetings with both key and new partners were held. As noted at All Media, buyers from Germany, Italy, Spain, France, the USA and Latin America were the most active. The great interest was aroused by the films Litvyak about the Soviet fighter pilot Lydia Litvyak, the most productive female pilot of the Second World War, Accomplices, A Team of Heaven and Lie to Me the Truth. Central Partnership presented a new film December by Klim Shipenko about the last days of the life of the poet Sergei Yesenin, a massive disaster film Fire, a breathtaking thriller Row 19, a war film Pilot and a horror movie Ice Demon, which is currently in production.
Mirsand Ltd. presented the thriller I Want to Play about death groups and the terrible crazy game Blue Whale, the war film directed by Timur Bekmambetov and Sergei Trofimov Devyatayev and the space drama about the heroism of Soviet cosmonauts The Age of Pioneers. According to the company representatives, partners from all over the world have shown interest in the films. Proline Film presented to foreign buyers the projects of the eminent director Alexander Sokurov, who celebrated his 70th anniversary this year, already well-known by the Russian audience – two parts of a tetralogy on the theme of power: Faust based on the tragedy by Goethe (film-winner 68- the Venice Film Festival), and The Sun, a historical drama about the life of the Japanese Emperor Hirohito in the last days of World War II. A co-production project in the development The Last Times was also presented as well as the war drama Flight about the separation of two twins who dream of becoming military pilots and a fantasy film The Melody of String Tree.
Sputnik Vostok Production presented the film Elsa's Land based on the play by Yaroslava Pulinovich about the touching love of Leonid and Elsa, heroes over 70, whose happiness disturbs their families. The film was warmly welcomed by the Russian and the festival audience and received more than ten different prizes. Also at Marché du Film, the company announced a new family adventure film Up to the Sun, a co-production of Russia and Uzbekistan made possible with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation in collaboration with Uzbekkino.
The Grand Prix-winning film Hytti Nro. 6 directed by Juho Kuosmanen will be released by Sony Pictures Classics, which will present the film in North and Latin America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. In Russia, the premiere is scheduled for October 28 – Sony Pictures Production and Realizing will be the distributors. The film was shot with the minority support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation in co-production with international companies: CTB (Russia), Aamu (Finland), Amrion (Estonia), Achtung Panda! (Germany), as well as with the support of the Finnish Film Fund, YLE, ARTE, Estonian Film Institute, MEDIA, Eurimage. Sony Pictures Classic called the film a "treasure" and "one of the best films in Cannes."
The rights to the film Petrov’s Flu were sold by Charades Productions (France) to Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg (Imagine), Greece (Weird Wave), Italy (I Wonder Pictures), Portugal (Films4you), Poland (Gutek Film), Czech Republic and Slovakia (Film Europe), Baltic states (Kino Soprus), countries of the former Yugoslavia (Megacom). Theatrical rights were also sold to Israel (Lev Cinema / Shani Films), Turkey (Fabula Films), Mexico (Cine Canibal) and Indonesia (Falcon Pictures).
Among the Russian projects presented at Marché Du Film were also two projects of the Leos Film company, created in 2017 by director Valeria Gai Germanika, – a documentary film about the Russian MMA fighter Alexander Emelianenko, as well as the feature film Nur, which tells a story of a woman who returned to Moscow during a lockdown in the spring of 2020 and was forced to share her home with a company of Kyrgyz migrants.
At Marché du Film two co-production projects were presented at the online pitching session of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. Producer Denis Kovalevsky presented the film On the Eve, co-production Russia-France with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the KINOPRIME Foundation. An animation project of Estonia-USA-Russia production Pinocchio and the Water of Life was also presented.
In addition, the Cannes Docs section of documentaries featured a Russian documentary in post-production – Frau Schindler's List, which tells the true story of Emily, Oskar Schindler's wife, who cared for the Jews who were saved by her husband. The film was shot in Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Israel and Australia. According to producer Raisa Fomina, this film is "an attempt to restore historical justice and pay tribute to Oskar Schindler's wife, who unjustly remained in the shadow of her husband. As part of the Short Film Corner (an industrial program dedicated to short films) at the Marché du Film, the first Russian agency for the distribution of Russian short films, VOSTOK, has presented 8 of the most titled Russian short films of the last two years from its extensive catalogue: Sulfur, It seemed, The Year of the White Moon, Naked, Golden Buttons, Mom's Hair, Katya, The Mistress of the Copper Mountain. The films have been added to the Cannes Film Market Library, which allows official participants to watch them online within six months of the start of the film market.
The Russian presence in Cannes has also expanded through participation in the traditional programs of the Cannes film market. As part of the Animation Day, ROSKINO held a presentation of six Russian animation projects in development: Christmas fairy tale The Nutcracker and the Magic Flute is about the adventures of the little girl Marie and her toys – the enchanted prince produced by CTB; the fifth film of the popular Snow Queen franchise - The Snow Queen 5 by Wizart studio; the animated film The Warrior Princess, based on the poem by Alexander Pushkin, is another Wizart project; Finnick is the flagship original animated feature of the Riki Group and was created with global animation and story development trends in mind; adventure, the family project Teddy Boom, another project of the Riki Group; The Formula of Water from SMF (Soyuzmultfilm) is a post-apocalyptic family romance about a girl named Dana, who sets out on a journey to rescue her kidnapped father, a scientist who created a machine capable of restoring drinking water to the planet.