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Russian Cinema: Alexander Rodnyansky Backs Local Hits and Works with Global Pics

For the Russian biz to develop further it needs to cultivate more producers of the stature of Alexander Rodnyansky, who has established a stable of interlinking companies that allow him to exploit the films he produces both in Russia and abroad.

On the production side there is his shingle AR Films, which backs both Hollywood pics, such as Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete Kills” and “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” and Russian big-budget movies like Fedor Bondarchuk’s 3D World War II epic “Stalingrad,” which will be released in Russia later this year.

Rodnyansky’s watchword is diversification, so along with the spectacular pics for mass audiences, he pursues “high-end quality movies that are the passion projects of the great writers, directors and actors,” he says. These include Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Leviafan,” the director’s followup to “Elena,” which won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section.

“My personal choice is to work with the talented people from different segments. If we speak about Russian popular cinema, I always work with Fedor (Bondarchuk), because I trust him and I believe in him. He proved himself with big films and he is one of the very few Russian directors who can handle technologically difficult and complex productions, he is very uncompromising.”

The producer also owns a c

ontrolling stake in A Co., a Berlin-based shingle led by Alexander van Duelmen that distributes pics across Central and Eastern Europe, and invests in production, such as “Cloud Atlas.”

Besides distributing international indie films, A-Company recently decided to release local-language pics, such as Russian comedy “Classmates” starring Bondarchuk and American rapper Snoop Dogg.

Rodnyansky has also partnered with Sergei Bespalov, who heads up L.A.-based film financing and sales company Aldamisa Entertainment. Aldamisa handles the international rights for most of the pics that Rodnyansky produces, including Billy Bob Thornton’s “Jayne Mansfield’s Car,” D.J. Caruso’s “Standing Up,” “Machete Kills,” “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” and Jon Favreau’s “Chef.”

“We have managed to build up the infrastructure that can give us the chance to attract private investors to use the financial possibilities of our markets, and trust the people who work here (in Central and Eastern Europe) to be a legitimate partner for Hollywood executives and studios who follow the same model as we explore,” Rodnyansky says. “So that’s why I believe that our expertise in our part of the world will be beneficial to all the projects we develop because it could mitigate the risk, because of the potential of the movies in our part of the world.”

Pictured above: Alexander Rodnyansky on the “Jayne Mansfield’s Car” set with star-helmer Billy Bob Thornton.

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