Russian film promotion body Roskino has unveiled the program for its digital Key Buyers Event, a virtual content market that will present over 300 projects from more than 120 leading Russian companies to international buyers.
Presented with the support of the Ministry of Culture and the Moscow city government, the digital market will run from June 8-15. The program features a host of live presentations, panel discussions, and cultural events, along with pitching sessions for dozens of film, TV and animation projects looking for international co-production partners.
Buyers and producers from more than 40 countries are slated to take part, including RTL Group, AMC Networks, CGV Mars, Wild Bunch, Beta Film, and Chinese streaming service iQIYI.
“Such a national virtual market is unprecedented, and it is exciting to be the pioneers,” says Roskino CEO Evgenia Markova. “During these challenging times, we are adapting to champion our filmmakers to give them every opportunity to engage in global exchange through the virtual market.”
The event will host a diverse industry program of panel discussions with Russian and international media and industry professionals on co-production, animation, the TV and film landscape in Russia and beyond, and new international opportunities in a post-pandemic world.
The speaker lineup includes Pierre Sissmann, CEO of Cyber Group Studios (France); Richard Rowe, director of international acquisitions and co-productions at Wildbrain (U.K.); Yan Li, CEO of Beijing Joy Culture Media Co. (China); Lionel Marty, managing director of APC Kids (France); and Ariel Tobi, CEO of SNAP TV Latin America (Argentina), in a panel moderated by Thatcher Mines, director of development and deals at Power Animals United (Finland), about Russian animation and its international success.
The Moscow Film Commission will also host a discussion on film production after the pandemic, with Jess Conoplia, president of the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI), and Pavlína Žipková, the head of the Czech Film Commission, among the speakers.
Other speakers will include Juliana Da Cunha Jacobsen, head of acquisitions and operations at BF Distribution (Latin America); Jordan Fields, VP of acquisitions at Shout Factory (U.S.); and David Ellender, CEO of Sonar (U.S.).
Notable Russian speakers include producer-director Timur Bekmambetov (“Nightwatch,” “Wanted,” “Profile”), producer-director Fedor Bondarchuk (“Stalingrad,” “Attraction,” “Invasion”), CTC Media general director Vyacheslav Murugov (“Sputnik,” “Invasion”), producer Ilya Stewart (“Persian Lessons,” “Leto,” “Sputnik”), Valeriy Fedorovich and Evgeniy Nikishov of Premier Studios (“Ordinary Woman,” “Identification,” “Dyatlov Pass,” “Metro 2033”), producer Artem Vasiliev of Metrafilms (“Dovlatov,” “Dau,” “Air”), and Vadim Vereshchagin, CEO of Central Partnership.
Many of Russia’s leading broadcasters and media groups, as well as a host of production, distribution and sales companies, will be presenting exclusive footage from their latest projects for the international market. Among the participants will be the National Media Group, GPM ETV, CTC Media, Russia Television, and NTV.
Production and distribution companies taking part include Central Partnership, Planeta Inform, Art Pictures Studio, Mars Media Entertainment, Bazelevs, Yellow, Black and White, CTB Film Company and Premier Studios. SVOD platforms include Start and more.tv, while animation will be represented by studios including Soyuzmultfilm, Wizart, and Riki Group.
The digital market follows on the heels of the inaugural Key Buyers Event last fall, which brought more than 50 buyers and commissioning editors from across the globe to Moscow to meet with leading figures in the Russian industry. That event—considered a rousing success by Roskino and its local partners—proved that the market for Russian content is robust, with Markova estimating that international sales have been rising by up to 25% a year.
While the coronavirus pandemic has certainly complicated efforts to further that growth, Markova insists innovative solutions like the digital market will help to keep buyers’ interest piqued in Russian content.
“Obviously, there is an economic downturn. This is something which we can’t control,” she says. “But we want to keep our global partners informed about what’s going on…and give them all the info that they need to address their needs.”