Pemberton puts ‘Finger’ on adaptation

Surreal tale a co-prod'n between Rohfilm, Kalatozov Fund

One of Russia’s cult novels of the late 1990s is set for an English-language adaptation from U.S. director Tony Pemberton.

Victor Pelevin’s “Buddha’s Little Finger” (published in Europe under the title “The Clay Machine Gun”) is a surreal tale whose action switches between Russia’s civil war years and the chaos of its revolutionary 1990s.

Project, set to start shooting this summer, is a co-production between Germany’s Rohfilm and Russia’s Kalatozov Fund.

It’s budgeted at $4.5 million and was presented at last year’s Berlinale Co-production market. Development was funded by regional subsidy org Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and the European Union’s Media initiative.

New York-based Pemberton has been developing the project for some years, and was a longterm resident of Moscow in the 1990s, where he made his 2000 Sundance competitor “Beyond the Ocean.”

British thesp Rupert Friend will play the lead, Pyotr Voyd.

Rohfilm also will produce helmer Marat Sarulu’s Russian-language pic “Songs From the Southern Seas,” covering strife between Russia and neighboring Kazakhstan.

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