Independent filmmakers Sergey Sarkisov and Nick Sarkisov have launched Blitz Films as a finance and production company, Variety has learned exclusively.
The first project the company is producing and financing is “Heart of a Champion,” a martial arts story written by David McKenna (“American History X”). Produced in association with Straight Up Films, the film follows a high school judo prodigy who steps into the Ultimate Fighting Championship cage to face the ultimate rival in a battle for recognition and retribution –- his father.
Blitz, which made the announcement Wednesday, will specialize in “responsibly-budgeted” indie fare along with a wide variety of genre projects. Producer Eryl Cochran has signed on as head of production and development for Blitz and will work out of the company’s Los Angeles office.
Nick Sarkisov will make his American feature directorial debut with “Heart of a Champion.” He began his career working with independent television producer Evan Charnov and was later hired by the STS Channel in Russia to direct all episodes of the hour-long drama series “The Moon.” He made his feature directorial debut on “Krasny,” with his father Sergey Sarkisov producing. He is also developing the animated feature “Imaginary Friend” with Jeremy Renner.
Sergey Sarkisov is the chairman of the board of directors and majority owner of the Russian insurance company Reso, which he started in 1991 with Avtobank and Chupa-Chups. In 2015, he obtained a master’s degree in scriptwriting and directing from the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow and his short film “Floating” premiered in 2016 at the Russian Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival. In addition to producing “Krasny,” he also directed “To Paris,” which is currently in post-production.
The Sarkisovs also bought rights to “The Fixies,” an animated series with over a billion views online and has aired on Russian televisions for over 10 years, and produced the animated feature of the same name.
Cochran’s development projects include Ben Affleck’s “Daredevil,” “The Spirit” starring Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, and “From Prada to Nada” starring Camilla Bell and Alexa Vega. She wrote, directed and produced “Totality: The American Eclipse” last year and was the VP of development and acquisitions for Gigi Pritzker’s Odd Lot Entertainment.
“We created Blitz films because we realized the stories we wanted to tell were not being told,” said Nick Sarkisov. “As filmmakers ourselves, we actively support the careers of up-and-coming creatives, as we seek out diverse, character-centric and conversation-provoking entertainment.”