Loco Films has taken world sales rights on Alexander Zolotukhin’s “Brother in Every Inch” ahead of its world premiere in the Berlin Film Festival’s competitive Encounters section. The Paris-based sales agent has also acquired “The Land of Sasha,” the feature debut of Julia Trofimova, which plays in the festival’s Generation 14plus strand.
Zolotukhin’s sophomore feature is the story of twin brothers whose inseparable bond complicates their efforts to fulfill their shared dream of becoming military pilots. The film is produced by Andrey Sigle and Mary Nazari for Proline Film.
The son of a pilot, Zolotukhin was granted rare access to a working military base to shoot “Brother in Every Inch.” Acclaimed cinematographer Andrey Naydenov (“Dear Comrades!”) worked with military engineers to construct special camera cases that would allow him to capture high-octane flight scenes.
“I wanted to show the process of being a pilot as realistically as possible,” said Zolotukhin, whose feature debut, “A Russian Youth,” bowed in Berlin in 2019. “I spent my entire childhood on military bases, so the theme of aviation is very close to me. These bases are very warm and pleasant memories of my childhood. I tried to bring such a pleasant, warm feeling into my film as well.”
The 33-year-old filmmaker studied at the directing workshop of Alexander Sokurov (“Russian Ark”), whose graduates include Un Certain Regard prize-winning directors Kantemir Balagov (“Beanpole”) and Kira Kovalenko (“Unclenching the Fists”). Sokurov served as creative consultant on “Brother in Every Inch.”
Trofimova’s first feature, “The Land of Sasha” is the story of an indecisive 18-year-old struggling to pursue his desire to become a painter as his mother urges him to choose a safer career path. The sudden appearance of the boy’s estranged father complicates things further. But when Sasha has an unexpected encounter with an unusual girl called Zhenia, he realizes he has no choice but to finally grow up.
“There are different angles which I could have chosen to depict youth and its problems,” said Trofimova. “What I wanted to capture is the fragile but very tender moment in your life when everything is possible. I would like to share this emotion with the audience, the feeling that a whole new life is opening up for you and you should not be afraid to step into it.”
“The Land of Sasha” is produced by Katerina Mikhaylova and Konstantin Fam for Moscow-based Vega Film, whose credits include Ivan I. Tverdovsky’s Venice Days premiere “Conference” (2020) and Maria Ignatenko’s “Achrome,” which bowed in the Tiger Competition at this year’s Rotterdam Film Festival.
“Over the last few years, time after time, Russian cinema has continued to prove its outstanding quality of filmmaking on the festival circuit,” said Loco Films in a statement. “We are thrilled to work with these extremely gifted new voices and to introduce them to buyers at the Berlinale.”