Top Russian producer Alexander Rodnyansky, who was Oscar nominated for Andrey Zvyagintsev’s films “Leviathan” and “Loveless,” is reteaming with Zvyagintsev for his first English-language film, and with Kantemir Balagov, who directed “Beanpole,” best director winner in Cannes Un Certain Regard in 2019. Rodnyansky will also co-produce a documentary by Godfrey Reggio alongside Steven Soderbergh.
Rodnyansky has two films in Cannes Festival this year: Oscar nominated Ari Folman’s Out of Competition title “Where Is Anne Frank,” and Kira Kovalenko’s Un Certain Regard selected “Unclenching the Fists.”
Zvyagintsev’s “What Happens,” which will be shot in the U.S., is written by Oleg Negin. It is a contemplation on the nature of human relationships, the state of modern man, and the fragility of human life. Rodnyansky and Zvyagintsev collaborated on “Leviathan” and “Loveless,” both of which were nominated for an Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.
“After Andrey finished working on ‘Loveless,’ which I always thought was the final film of our Russian trilogy, we took a break. Only last year we have been discussing our potential future plans and finally decided that our next film would be in English. It has always been my belief that Andrey’s work, in its incredible analysis of human nature, is absolutely universal in its core and transitioning to English – the universal language in today’s global society – will help him reach a broader audience,” Rodnyansky said.
Balagov will direct his next feature film Monica after he wraps on HBO’s “Last of Us” for showrunner Craig Mazin. “Monica” will be Balagov’s third film, following his two Cannes-awarded features “Closeness,” which won the festival’s International Critics’ Prize, and “Beanpole,” which in 2019 won the Un Certain Regard director award and the FIPRESCI Prize for best film. “Monica” tells a story of a complex relationship between father and son, in which the son imbues his father with qualities he doesn’t actually possess. The script is co-written by Balagov and Russian best-selling author Marina Stepnova.
“It is always a special pleasure to see how Kantemir creates the script. We began discussing the idea of ‘Monica’ almost immediately after the premiere of ‘Beanpole.’ Kantemir always begins by thinking about the story and the world in which it takes place, the complex characters that inhabit this world. And once the idea of the film has fully formed, he joins forces with an experienced novelist to flesh it out, to infuse the world with details and texture and nuances. As always, the story he is about to share with the world is very personal, at once tender and heart-wrenching,” said Rodnyansky.
Told in Reggio’s signature impressionistic style of documentary art, the upcoming “Neooonowww” is described as a fairy tale for the young and young at heart, focused on the forging of a new culture in a world threatened by ecological collapse and unprecedented technological transformation. The film will be directed by Reggio with music by Philip Glass, and co-produced by Soderbergh and Rodnyansky.
Rodnyansky said: “When Steven reached out to me and told me about Godfrey Reggio’s new film, I never doubted for a second that this is a chance that I absolutely cannot miss. I have always been a passionate admirer of Godfrey’s films and it is an honor for me to collaborate with him and Steven on this project.”