Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired North American rights to Stalin-era stylish thriller “Captain Volkonogov Escaped,” which world premiered in competition at Venice and earned stellar reviews.
Sold by Memento International (“A Hero,” “Call Me By Your Name”), the film will have its North American premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Penned and directed by Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov, the film stars rising Russian actor Yuri Borisov (“Compartment 6,” “Petrov’s Flu”) as Captain Volkonogov, a well-respected law enforcer in the former Soviet Union who witnesses his colleagues being suspiciously questioned. Sensing that his turn will soon come, he plans to escape, only to find his former colleagues hot on his tail. When the vulnerable Volkonogov gets a message from hell that he’ll be sentenced to eternal torment, he must find a way to repent. But time is running out and the manhunt is closing in on him.
Memento International has now sold “Captain Volkonogov Escaped” in most major markets, including Eastern Europe (HBO Europe), Italy (I Wonder), Benelux (Imagine), Norway (Fidalgo), Poland (Mayfly), Greece (Cinobo) and Indonesia (PT Falcon). It will be released by Kinovista in France, Central Partnership in Russia and Homeless Bob in Estonia.
Borisov stars opposite Timofey Tribuntsev (“Petrov’s Flu”) and Natalya Kudryashova, who won best actress at Venice for her performance in Merkulova and Chupov’s 2018 film “The Man Who Surprised Everyone.” The movie was produced by emerging Russian producers Valeriy Fedorovich and Evgeniy Nikishov at MC2Production, Alexander Plotnikov at Lookfilm, in co-production with Estonia’s Homeless Bob Production and France’s Kinovista, with the support of Eurimage.
“We look forward to bringing this extraordinary film to audiences after its incredible premiere at Venice. Yuriy Borisov’s masterful performance powers the engine of this stunning feature from Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov,” said Samuel Goldwyn Films’ Miles Fineburg.
Variety’s Jessica Kiang described the film as both a “Dostoevskian tale” and “a street-pounding Soviet-era chase thriller with existential aspirations.”
Fedorovich said that “Samuel Goldwyn Films is a great choice of partner,” having started with ‘Lolita’ directed by Adrian Lyne with Jeremy Irons and “contributed greatly to the evolution of foreign language films’ distribution in U.S.”
The producer said Samuel Goldwyn Films will have a “tailor-made approach for the release.”
Nikishov pointed out Samuel Goldwyn Films’s recent track record with Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round,” which won the Oscar for best international feature film and went on to have a successful career in the U.S.
“Captain Volkonogov Escaped” has won several awards, including best film at Philadelphia, best art direction at Chicago and El Gouna’s Bronze Star nod, on top of the NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film.