Bondarchuk connects with webizens

Producer plans film about social networking site

Russia’s first movie for the Facebook generation will be released at both theaters and as an Internet download when it is completed early next year.

A comedy set around the romantic adventures of the hip young Russians who log on in their millions every day to the country’s top social networking site Odnoklassniki.ru, the film will be produced by Fedor Bondarchuk’s Moscow-based Art Pictures Studio.

Bondarchuk, son of the famous Soviet director Sergei Bondarchuk, is one of Russia’s leading actors turned producer-directors.

Art Pictures Studio will start production on the $2.5 million-$3 million budget film this winter with Pavel Khudyakov’s company Khudyakov Production, after outbidding other producers for the rights to use the Odnoklassniki.ru trademark for the movie.

The film will be made in partnership with the social networking site, which generates around 8 million hits a day. Odnoklassniki.ru will be involved in casting the film and also make it available for download via the site when the film is released.

General director of Art Pictures Studio Dmitri Rudovsky, who will also produce the film, told Variety that the movie will explore the world of friendships and romances made via a site that combines elements of Facebook and British social networking site Friends Reunited.

“The comic elements of the plot will revolve around incidents that occur as a result of using the Odnoklassniki.ru site,” Rudovksy said Tuesday. The film is the first in Russia to tackle the topic of the Facebook generation, Rudovsky said, adding that an Italian film “Feisbum” — that also focuses on the comic aspects of friendships made via such sites was released recently.

Bondarchuk starred in and co-produced Russia’s biggest budget film, the $40 million sci-fi epic “Inhabited Island,” which was released in two parts earlier this year.

In the U.S., Columbia Pictures is in advanced talks with David Fincher to direct “The Social Network,” the Aaron Sorkin-scripted film for Columbia Pictures about the formation of Facebook, which will focus on the evolution of Facebook from its creation in 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg to the giant 200 million-user phenomenon it is today.

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