EXCLUSIVE: Celebrated Russian filmmaker Sergei Bondarchuk, whose classic 1966 adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War And Peace was an Oscar and Golden Globe winner, will be the subject of a documentary telling the story of his life. He also helmed the 1970 epic Waterloo, produced by Dino De Laurentiis.
The feature comes from Art Pictures Studio, the production, sales and distribution company run by his son, the actor and filmmaker Fedor Bondarchuk (Stalingrad, Sputnik). The doc is shooting in Russia, France, the UK, Italy, and Los Angeles and counts figures including Jean-Luc Godard, Martha De Laurentiis, and Katharina Kubrick as interviewees. Anton Zhelnov and Denis Kataev are directing.
The project is just one of a number being introduced by Art Pictures to buyers at the upcoming Russian Virtual Content Market, which will showcase the country’s latest productions to international distributors in an online event kicking off June 8. The event, run by national body Roskino, follows the cancellation or postponement of markets such as Cannes and MIPTV, and is modeled on the inaugural Key Buyers Event, which was held in Moscow in October.
Art Pictures is the company behind major Russian productions including Stalingrad (2013, $68M box office), the big budget sci-fi pics Invasion (2020) and Attraction (2017), and 2018 musical romance Ice and its sequel Ice 2, which grossed $50M between them. It also recently produced the sci-fi thriller Sputnik, which would have played Tribeca before the fest was postponed, but still landed a deal for North America with IFC Midnight.
Also on the outfit’s latest slate are two projects produced with NMG Studio (run by National Media Group, which owns 50% of Art Pictures), and More Originals, the production wing of more.tv, a Russian streaming service.
They are: TV series Psycho, which will be the first small screen project directed by Fedor Bondarchuk, revolving around the lonely and confused inhabitants of a major city, and will launch on more.tv; and dramedy Happy End, the directing debut from actor Evgeny Sangadjiev.
Art Pictures is also producing Ballet, a drama featuring Carine Roitfeld, founder of CR studio and former editor of Vogue Paris, as a consultant.
At next month’s market, Art Pictures will also continue sales efforts on Sputnik, which will be released by IFC in North America on August 14 and by Vertigo in the UK and Rialto in Australia on the same day. Further deals have been closed for German-speaking Europe with Capelight pictures and French-speaking territories with Kinovista; more territories are under offer, the outfit said.
The company also has A Dog Named Palma, the family film based on the Japanese story of Hachiko, which is produced by Mars Media and Amedia production. A 30-minute reel will be screened at the buyers event, after first footage was presented at the EFM in Berlin in February.
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