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Apple Inks First-Look Deal With Oscar-Nominated Producer Alexander Rodnyansky’s AR Content (EXCLUSIVE)

Alexander Rodnyansky
Courtesy of Ilya Vartanian/Non-Stop Production

Apple has signed a first-look deal with AR Content, the production company led by Academy Award-nominated producer and director Alexander Rodnyansky (“Beanpole,” “Leviathan,” “Loveless”), Variety can reveal.

The deal is for a slate of both Russian-language and multilingual shows for Apple TV Plus, set both inside and outside Russia, and creatively led by both Russian and international writers and directors.

Although the pact is with Rodnyansky’s L.A.-based AR Content, which he set up three years ago to finance the development of feature films and television, it is his production expertise and experience in Russia that appeals to Apple most.

The deal is similar to those Apple has signed with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment.

Rodnyansky credits the global streaming platforms with having “opened the doors and destroyed the borders,” enabling foreign-language shows to find audiences worldwide.

“This is an amazing time when you have ‘Fauda’ in Hebrew and Arabic doing really well across multiple territories, when you have French-speaking shows like ‘La Mante’ or ‘Marianne,’ or German shows like ‘Dark’ or ‘Babylon Berlin’ crossing borders,” Rodnyansky told Variety in Cannes. “This is a time for Russian-speaking — or multilingual shows — to do the same. That’s why we are developing new shows with the best international writers and directors, and at the same time trying to keep our positions within movies.”

He added: “[The global drama boom] is a chance for filmmakers from all over the world to deliver their stories, on the life they know very well, to international audiences with no limitations. That’s what makes me excited. This is part of the contemporary world, and it can break down borders to make the world united, and can change it completely.”

As well as his deal with Apple TV Plus, Rodnyansky also has a pact with Russian search engine Yandex to develop and produce seven series over the next three years for its KinoPoisk VOD platform.

Despite his interest in series, Rodnyansky, who was Oscar-nominated for Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Cannes prizewinners “Leviathan” and “Loveless,” continues to produce independent films, two of which were selected by Cannes: Kira Kovalenko’s “Unclenching the Fists,” which is in Un Certain Regard, and Ari Folman’s “Where Is Anne Frank,” which plays Out of Competition. Last week, Rodnyansky announced new films with Zvyagintsev, Kantemir Balagov and Godfrey Reggio, the last of which he is co-producing with Steven Soderbergh.