In the run-up to Saturday evening’s prize ceremony at the 2018 Berlinale, Alpha Violet has secured multiple major territory sales at Berlin on Alexey German Jr.’s Russian dissident drama “Dovlatov,” led by a Netflix deal for English-speaking territories (U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K. and Ireland) and Scandinavia, as well as a slew of foreign distributor deals.
One of this year’s Berlin competition front-runners and a Disney release in Russia. the Alpha Violet-sold “Dovlatov” entered Berlin with three pre-sales: China (Times Vision), Greece (Ama Films) and the Baltic states (Estin Films). It looks set to leave with 23 territory sales, according to Alpha Violet’s calculations, playing off an upbeat critical reaction.
“Six days in the life of Soviet dissident writer Sergei Dovlatov are evocatively conjured in this visually enthralling tribute to one artist’s refusal to conform,” Variety wrote in its review.
With “Dovlatov” punching the second highest score of any Berlin competition entry, many distributors did not want to wait to see if it scoops a Golden or Silver Bear to take it off the market.
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Set from Nov. 1 1971 and starring Serbian newcomer Milan Maric as the kindly, ironic Dovlatov, who battles to preserve his own sense of decency, despite censorship and rejected membership of Russia’s Writers’ Guild, “Dovlatov” was still striking sales on Saturday, when Alpha Violet announced its Netflix deal. It was also acquired at the European Film Market for France (Paradis Films), Italy (Satine Film) and Spain (Abordar).
Portugal (Leopardo Filmes), Bulgaria (Artfest), Turkey (Bir Film), Taiwan (Joint Entertainment), Brazil (Imovision), Argentina (CDI) and Romania (Bad Unicorn) have also closed. English-speaking territories, Scandinavia and Japan are still under negotiation, Alpha Violet reported in a press statement.
Disney will release “Dovlatov” in Russia on March 1. MCF Megacom Film in Serbia, in a deal clinched by “Dovlatov’s” Serbian co-producer, Art & Popcorn. The film’s Polish co-producer, Izabela Wojcik at Apple Film, is in negotiations regarding Polish and Czech distribution.
Said Alpha Violet’s Virginie Devesa: “‘Dovlatov’ addresses freedom of expression, which is a concern for all of us worldwide, with the utmost attention to art direction, cinematography and acting performances.”
She added: “Alexey created an important cinematic work that transports audiences with its dreamlike lyricism.”
“Dovlatov” is produced by SAGa, Metrafilms and Channel One and written by German and Yulia Tupikina.