BY THE WILL OF GENGHIS KHAN
Director: Andrei Borisov
Producers: Vladimir Ivanov (Russia), Brown Wolf Prods. (U.S.)
Stars: Eduard Ondar, Stepanida Borisova, Sergei Egorov, Orgil Makhaan, Efim Stepanov, Suzanna Oorzhak
The scoop: Genghis Khan, the great Mongol warrior, recast as a hero of Russia’s Far East in the first-ever epic to be filmed in Siberia’s remote Yakutia region, employing actors speaking the local language. Filmed on a budget of $10 million in a rich array of stunning locations that include Lake Baikal and Yakutia’s Verkhoyansk Mountains — where gigantic rock formations are said to be the petrified remains of Khan’s warriors — the legendary leader is more a man in tune with nature and the environment than the murdering avenger of popular lore. Producer Ivanov is confident the 120-minute epic has international sales potential, and kicked off the pic’s promotion campaign with showreel screenings in Cannes in May. Feb. 19 local release.
INHABITED ISLAND: 2
Director: Fedor Bondarchuk
Stars: Fedor Bondarchuk
The scoop: Part two of hugely ambitious, $40 million Russian futuristic sci-fi epic based on a famous Soviet-era book of the same name . First part of the film grossed some $14 million on Jan. 1 opening weekend; second part is set for Oct. 23. In a market where exhibition is the single biggest revenue stream, and only one film ever took more than $40 million at the B.O. (“Irony of Fate — Continuation”), producers’ decision to split the big-budget epic into two parts will help it recoup domestically.
Sales: William Morris Agency
Director: Ivan Vyrypayev
Producers: Valery Todorovsky, Vadim Goryainov, Leonid Lebedev, Krasnaya Strela
Stars: Karolina Grushka, Aleksei Filimonov
The scoop: With a $3 million budget, this high-art love story has a dreamlike quality; it was shot in a multitude of international locations by the director of 2006’s “Eyforiya” (which won a Little Golden Lion in Venice). “Kislorod” — Russian for oxygen — is a lyrical parable on the transformative qualities of love told through 10 “megastylish clips,” which, the producers of the 75-minute film promise, will give a boost of pure oxygen to audiences. Slated for Feb. 26 local release.
Director: Anders Banke
Producers: Sam Klebanov, Anna Katchko, Peter Hiltunen
Stars: Masha Mashkova, Sergei Garmash, Evgeni Tsyganov, Andrei Merzlikin, Maksim Konovalov
The scoop: A Russian-Swedish remake of Hong Kong helmer Johnnie To’s 2004 honor-among-thieves actioner “Breaking News,” but this time set in the gritty reality of the wild East’s capital, Moscow. Slated for April 16 local release.
Director: Vladimir Bortko
Producer: Central Partnership
Stars: Bogdan Stupka, Igor Petrenko, Magdalena Mielcarz
The scoop: A swashbuckling $25 million historical costume drama based on the famous Nikolai Gogol novel about the life of the eponymous 16th-century Ukrainian Cossack leader who sends his son to study in Poland to learn the ways of the oppressor, only for the lad to fall in love with a Polish noblewoman. In the first Russian epic on the theme (a 1924 version with a largely Russian cast was produced in Germany), top Ukrainian actor Bogdan Stupka takes the title role (played in the 1962 J. Lee Thompson version by Vladivostok-born Yul Brynner), with Igor Petrenko playing the son’s role. Set for April 2 local release.
Sales: Central Partnership
THE VERY BEST MOVIE 2
Director: Oleg Fomin
Producers: Comedy Club Prod., Artak Gasparyan, Garik Kharlamov, Monumental Pictures
Stars: Garik Kharlamov, Timur Batrutdinov, Oleg Vereschagin, Dimitry Khrustalyov
The scoop: A $4.5 million-budget sequel to surprise comedy hit of 2008, “The Very Best Movie,” a parody of Russian movies and TV serials that raked in $27.5 million at the Russian and CIS box offices. Producers have toned down riskier elements of the first film — which contained much adult humor — to appeal to a wider, younger audience. Sequel’s advertising materials feature familiar faces from popular television show “Comedy Club” rather than the revealing image of a leggy bride in a billowing dress that graced posters for the first film. Jan. 22 domestic release. Distribution deals inked for the Baltics (ACNE) and Ukraine (Gemini).