Major inks pact with Interfilm

COTTBUS, Germany

Universal Pictures Intl. Russia is resuming movie distribution in Kazakhstan after it signed a distribution licensing agreement with Interfilm Distribution.

The Kazakh company will distribute all UPI titles in the country, including films acquired in Russia.

The first release, slated for Nov. 15, will be surfing drama “Chasing Mavericks.”

Releases rolling out through November and December that have already unspooled in Russia but not Kazakhstan include “The Bourne Legacy,” “Savages” and “Ted.”

Distribution in Kazahkstan, like most other former Soviet territories that remain outside the European Union, continues to be dominated by Russian companies, which buy rights for the country as part of package deals from international sales agents.

UPI’s move reflects recent pressure from local distributors in Kazakhstan to set up country-specific distribution that would allow greater flexibility in booking screens at theaters.

In June, Gallic helmer Julien Leclercq’s actioner “The Assault” was sold to Kazakhstan’s Arman distribution company by Elle Driver — the first direct film sale to the central Asian country since it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

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