Russians hoping for a Berlin boost

Homegrown market titles sent to fest

Berlinale competition title “Innocent Saturday,” directed by Alexander Mindadze and produced by Alexander Rodnyansky and Sergei Melkumov, is among the Russian titles being touted at the EFM this year. Sales agent is Bavaria Film Intl.

A Russia/Germany/Ukraine co-production, it tells the story of the tragic events of April 1986 when the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, near Kiev, Ukraine, went into meltdown. The $3 million film, which follows the true story of the doomed attempt of a young Communist Party official to find his girlfriend and escape the unfolding disaster, gets its world premiere in Berlin.

Alexander Zeldovich’s “Mission” (Target) screens in Panorama Special. Produced by Dmitri Lesnevsky, a co-founder of Moscow-based television station Ren-TV who began his career as a producer with Andrei Zvyangintsev’s acclaimed 2003 debut, “The Return,” the 154-minute film is set in 2020 when a group of wealthy Muscovites travel to a long-abandoned astrophysics center said to harbor a power source that can stop ageing. Repped at the EFM by Beta Film, the film stars Vitaly Kishchenko and features South African-born actress Justine Waddell.

Other Russian films at the market include:

“The Stoker” (Kochegar), directed by Alexei Balabanov and produced by Sergei Selyanov of CTB, film tells the story of a retired army major forced to take a humble job during the “wild east” years of the 1990s. Sales company: Intercinema.

Intercinema also has an unusual comedy, also produced by CTB: “Yakuza’s Daughter Never Cries” by Guka Omarova and Sergei Bodrov. It’s the story of a Japanese girl lost in Russia and whose criminal gang boss grandfather pledges a $13 million reward for her return — and revenge on anyone who dares harm her.

Leading Russian sales, distribution and production shingle Central Partnership has a full catalog of more than 40 films at the market. Highlights include: “Brest Fortress,” Alexander Kott’s account of the Soviet heroes who fought against overwhelming odds as Hitler’s troops invaded Russia in 1941. Film was produced by Central Partnership on behalf of an official Russian/Belarussian agency set up for the purpose.

The company also has its own 3D movie, “Dark World,” Anton Megerdichev’s thriller about a group of students who awaken evil spirits when they stumble upon an ancient tomb; it’s also repping Andrei Konchalovsky’s “The Nutcracker in 3D,” produced by the director and Moritz Borman. Pic was released last November in the States and performed poorly at the B.O.

More from Berlin Daily Spotlight: Russian Cinema
Bigger pond, smaller fish

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