Workshops part of CentEast next spring

MOSCOW — Russian producers are to benefit from international expertise early next year in the first of a series of seminars on how to create co-productions.

The workshops scheduled to launch in Moscow next spring are part of CentEast, a works-in-progress industry event jointly run by the Warsaw Film Festival and Moscow’s 2Morrow fest.

Moscow-based producer and event co-founder, Yevgeny Gindilis, said that international co-production is the weakest part of the Russian film industry.

“We have to develop the knowledge, the know-how to work internationally,” Gindilis told Variety.

“That’s why we’re introducing a new ‘First 2morrow’ next spring when international experts will come to Moscow for the first of a series of workshops with Russian film professionals.”

Now in its third year, CentEast screens clips from movies already in production or trailers for films in post-production at the two fests, which take place in the second half of October separated by a week.

Gindilis’ co-production track record with his Moscow-based Tvindie includes Dutch director Jos Stelling’s 2007 “Dushka.” He says the main focus of CentEast is to find international distribution outlets for films from central and Eastern Europe and Russia and encourage co-productions between Russia and Poland.

The event — backed by EU program Media Mundus and this year, for the first time, by Russia’s federal Cinema Fund — draws a wide range of local and international sales agents, distributors, fest programmers and producers.

In Warsaw, around 200 accredited guests, including 100 foreigners (half of them producers), came to see 11 works in progress, including four Russian projects. In Moscow on Saturday and Sunday 10 Russian projects were added to the 11.

Gindilis says some of the latter pics missed the Warsaw deadline, but the Moscow event draw a different range of guests, including 120 local movie pros and 30 foreign guests, producers, distributors and fest programmers.

Projects screened included trailers for films already completed — such as Roman Prygunov’s “Soulless,” a commercial take on Moscow’s contempo, power-driven careerists, who mark success in fast cars, drinks, drugs and women.

Producers for the near $3 million-budget film include Fedor Bondarchuk and Dmitry Rudovsky. They are in talks with a Hollywood major for international distribution. It goes out on 600 prints in Russian in the spring.

Smaller-budget projects included limited release “The Layabouts,” directed by Andrew Zaytsev about a group of young drifters. It’s inspired by the early songs of Soviet-era subversive rock legend Viktor Tsoi, of the group Kino, who died age 28 in a car crash in 1990. The $120,000-budget film is set for a boutique release in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Saratov, central Russia, early next year.

Other projects with co-production potential included a documentary work-in-progress “Tarkovskaya,” about the sister and family of the late Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky who work to keep his memory alive.

“CentEast is a natural platform for selecting a foreign partner; it allows for a good overview of the industry and gives access not only to particular projects but also to the new projects that all the participants have,” Gindilis adds.

Films that have come through earlier CentEast programs and found international success include “Chapiteau Show” by Sergey Loban and “Once There Lived a Simple Woman” by Andrey Smirnov, from the first edition in 2009; and two films from the 2010 — “Generation P” by Viktor Ginsburg and “Gromozeka” by Vladimir Kott.

Simone Baumann, a German producer who has extensive experience of working in Russia, said, “Seeing projects that are already beyond script stage is very useful; you get to see how an industry is developing and keep on top of trends as well as identify potential new partners.”

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