Producer Ilya Stewart has launched an independent studio based in Europe that will operate on a global scale, working with international talent and focusing on English-language feature films and television series, Variety can exclusively reveal.
Hype Studios is the new venture from Stewart, the formerly Moscow-based producer who in recent years has been a fixture at the Cannes Film Festival, where his collaborations with Russian auteur Kirill Serebrennikov, including “Petrov’s Flu” and “Tchaikovsky’s Wife,” have premiered in competition.
Among the co-productions with American and European partners currently on Hype Studios’ slate is Zach Wigon’s “Sanctuary,” starring Margaret Qualley and Christopher Abbott, which premieres as a Special Presentation next month at the Toronto International Film Festival and was produced with Rumble Films and Mosaic Films, along with Charades. Also on the slate is Pietro Marcello’s French-language “Scarlet,” produced in partnership with CG Cinéma’s Charles Gillibert, which opened this year’s Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes and will receive its North American premiere at the New York Film Festival.
With Hype Studios, Stewart will build on his longstanding partnership with Serebrennikov to develop film and television projects for global audiences from a new creative hub in Berlin. As part of his evolution and ongoing expansion into international productions since co-founding Hype Film in 2016, Stewart will continue to focus on talent relationships to nurture a roster of international directors, with plans to expand into talent management.
Current productions include two films from Serebrennikov. “Limonov: The Ballad of Eddie,” an English-language feature produced with Wildside and Chapter 2 and co-produced by Pathé, is adapted from Emmanuel Carrère’s novel and stars Ben Whishaw as the radical Russian poet and dissident Eduard Limonov. Another project in partnership with CG Cinéma, “The Disappearance of Josef Mengele,” is being adapted by Serebrennikov from Olivier Guez’s best-selling and Renaudot Prize-winning novel.
Other upcoming English-language projects include writer-director Malgorzata Szumowska’s “The Gambler Wife,” an adaptation by the two-time Berlinale prize winner of Andrew D. Kaufman’s book about Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s wife Anna Snitkina. Also, two original English-language projects are in development with director Philip Yuryev (“The Whaler Boy”), and an original genre project with Egor Abramenko, whose sci-fi horror “Sputnik” is getting an English-language remake from Matt Reeves’ 6th & Idaho Productions and Village Roadshow, with Stewart producing and Abramenko serving as executive producer. Hype Studios will be unveiling a slate of television projects at a later date.
The first addition to the company’s team is producer Aleksandr Fomin. With a background in international sales and co-productions at Bac Films, Pulsar Content and Logical Pictures, Fomin will handle operations from Paris.
Stewart has produced multiple independent films that have launched at Cannes and other leading international film festivals. His first collaboration with Serebrennikov, “The Student,” premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar in 2016. That was followed by “Leto” (2018), “Petrov’s Flu” (2021) and “Tchaikovsky’s Wife” (2022), all of which bowed in the festival’s official competition.
Stewart served as executive producer on Mona Fastvold’s “The World to Come,” starring Vanessa Kirby, Katherine Waterston and Casey Affleck, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2020. He also produced Ukrainian-Canadian filmmaker Vadim Perelman’s German-language Holocaust drama “Persian Lessons,” starring Nahuel Perez Biscayart and Lars Eidinger, which premiered in Berlin in 2020, and Abramenko’s “Sputnik,” which bowed at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2020.