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Lexica brings Russian duo to Cannes market

  • ScreenDaily
Lexica brings Russian duo to Cannes market
Exclusive: Us outfit is touting thriller Spacewalk and romance About Love.

Lexica Films, the foreign language label that Covert Media launched late last year, will be in Cannes tempting buyers on Russian titles Spacewalk and About Love.

Genre master Timur Bekmambetov produced Spacewalk, Bazelevs’ adventure thriller about the Cold War space race that is nearing $10m in Russia since it opened in April through Fox.

Dmitry Kiselyov directed the film, which screens in the market and centres on a hot-headed test pilot and a war veteran who must work together to complete the first the first spacewalk mission above earth.

Konstantin Khabenski and Evgeny Mironov star and Yuri Korotkov co-wrote the screenplay with Sergey Kaluzhanov, Irina Pivovarova, Dmitry Pinchukov, and Oleg Pogodin. Mironov also produces.

Spacewalk is a project that is dear to my heart,” Bekmambetov said. “When we were shooting it, we worked closely with Alexey Leonov, the Soviet astronaut who was the first to walk
See full article at ScreenDaily »

‘Earthquake,’ ‘Night Watchmen’ Score International Sales for Covert Media

Covert Media has sold the Armenian disaster film “Earthquake” and fantasy thriller “The Night Watchmen” to multiple major international territories including Germany, Japan and Korea, Variety has learned exclusively.

Sales were made through Covert’s recently launched Lexica Films label,which began operations ahead of the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival with the aim to champion five to 10 foreign language titles per year. Senior VP of International Jim Harvey leads the sales for President of International Liz Kim Schwan.

“Earthquake,” which had its market premiere screening at the American Film Market, has been acquired by At Entertainment for Japan and First Run Inc for South Korea as well as Movie Cloud for Taiwan, One World Movies for India, Moxienotion for Indonesia, Sahamongkol for Malaysia and Vietnam, and with Cine Star for Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Colombia. The film has been submitted as Armenia’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film for this season’s Golden Globes.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Jim Harvey joins Covert Media

  • ScreenDaily
Exclusive: The veteran executive will head to Toronto next week with the Covert team in his new role as senior vice-president of international sales.

Harvey reports to president of international Liz Kim Schwan and will handle Covert’s production slate and lead sales on the newly launched Lexica Films label.

“Covert have established themselves as one of the go-to places for star-driven material,” said Harvey. “I’m very impressed by their slate of films and I look forward to working with Liz and Paul [Hanson, CEO] and the entire Covert team.”

“I’m thrilled to have such a well loved executive like Jim on board,” said Kim Schwan. “Jim’s experience and knowledge make him a critical member of our growing team as we expand our slate.”

Lexica launched last week with disaster title Earthquake starring Cannes 2007 best actor winner Konstantin Lavronenko and the team has boarded sales on a second title.

Russian-language fantasy
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Toronto: Covert Media Launches Lexica as Foreign Sales Label

In a pre-Toronto Film Festival move, year-old Covert Media has launched Lexica Films as an international sales label for foreign-language feature film titles for the worldwide marketplace.

Covert is aiming to launch five-ten films per year through Lexica and will also be handling English-language remake rights, in many cases. Covert’s president of international, Liz Kim Schwan, will lead the division.

“Broadening our reach into foreign language films is a natural step for Covert Media and we are proud to announce the Lexica label,” said CEO Paul Hanson. “The quality and commercial appeal of these films from some of the most talented filmmakers from all corners of the world enables us to expand the range of the distinctive projects we can offer to the worldwide marketplace.”

The first title announced under the new label is disaster film “Earthquake,” which will be presented to buyers in Toronto. Covert is handling all international sales outside of Russia,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Covert Media Launches Lexica Films For Foreign-Language Pics; First Project Is ‘Earthquake’

Independent production, financing and distribution company Covert Media has formed international sales label Lexica Films and plans to launch five to 10 films per year through it. Covert's President of International, Liz Kim Schwan, will lead the new division. The first title will be the Russian-language disaster film Earthquake, which stars Cannes Best Actor winner Konstantin Lavronenko (The Banishment, Name Me) and is directed by Sarik Andreasyan (American Heist). The…
See full article at Deadline »

Covert Media launches Lexica Films

  • ScreenDaily
Exclusive: Paul Hanson’s production, financing and distribution outfit has launched an international sales label in the run-up to the Toronto International Film Festival.

Covert’s president of international Liz Kim Schwan will lead the division and kick off with sales on Earthquake, the drama about the 1988 Spitak natural disaster that is viewed as a potential candidate as Armenia’s Oscar foreign-language submission.

Sarik Andreasyan directed the film, which stars Konstantin Lavronenko, a Cannes best actor winner in 2007 for The Banishment.

Earthquake is a fictional account of the event that destroyed more than 300 towns across Armenia and displaced more than half a million people.

Set in Leninakan, Armenia, the story interweaves the stories of a 50-year-old Russian and a 28-year-old Armenian who work together to rescue survivors.

Covert will handle North America and all international sales excluding Russia, where Caro Premier Film Company has scheduled a December 1 release in 1,000 theatres under original title Zemletryasenie.

French and Chinese
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Andrey Zvyagintsev To Head Shanghai Festival Jury

Andrey Zvyagintsev To Head Shanghai Festival Jury
Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russian director of last year’s Cannes revelation “Leviathan,” has been set as president of the jury at next month’s Shanghai International Film Festival (June 13-21). He will choose among the competition films and decide the

Golden Goblet awards.

Two-time Oscar-winning director Malcolm Clarke and animated film director Ishu Patel will head the juries for the newly-added Golden Goblet Awards for documentary and animation Films.

Born in 1964, Zvyagintsev made a splash with his feature debut The Return at the Venice Film Festival in 2003, winning the highest prize, the Golden Lion. His “The Banishment” premiered at Cannes in 2007, where its star Konstantin Lavronenko won the best actor award, the first-ever for a Russian actor. At Cannes in 2011 Zvyagintsev’s Elena won the Special Jury Prize in the festival’s Un Certain Regard section.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Leviathan | Review

On the Waterfront: Zvyagintsev’s Sprawling Opus of a Modern, Devouring Regime

Back with his fourth feature, Leviathan, Russian auteur Andrey Zvyagintsev succeeds in cinematic sublimity with this multilayered and operatic exploration of the crushing corruption of an unchecked regime. While each of his films have taken home prestigious awards (The Return won the Golden Lion at Venice in 2003, The Banishment snagged Best Actor at Cannes in 2007 while 2011’s Elena roped the Special Jury Prize for Un Certain Regard), this latest feature should solidify his unparalleled ascension as the most important auteur to rise out of Russia since Andrey Tarkovsky. Time may prove his to be the more potent title, a damning examination of the turpitude bred by an archaic and untoward establishment.

Living in the home that he’s built with his own hands on the waterfront of the Barents Sea, Kolya (Alexei Serebryakov), has recently been notified
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Mother, Modris big winners at new Riga festival

  • ScreenDaily
Mother, Modris big winners at new Riga festival
New Riga Meetings platform welcomes projects including two projects by Finnish film-maker Aku Louhimies.

Janis Nords’ second feature Mother I Love You and Juris Kursietis’ debut Modris were the big winners at the ¨Great Christopher¨ (¨Lielais Kristaps¨) National Film Competition held during the first edition of the Riga International Film Festival (December 2-12).

Nords, who graduated in film directing from the UK’s Nfts, received the top honour of best film as well as the trophy for best feature film director and best actress (for Vita Varpina’s performance as the single mother trying to make ends meet).

On presenting the direction prize to Nords, the competition jury’s chairman, veteran film director Janis Streics, said that he saw “a bright future ahead for Latvian cinema” on the strength of the line-up for this edition of the national film awards.

Mother I Love You, which is handled internationally by New Europe Film Sales, premiered at the
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Film Review: ‘Name Me’

Olya and Sasha switch identities to meet the father Olya never knew in Nigina Sayfullaeva’s adeptly played debut, “Name Me.” Though the psychology turns facile, this intense drama about yearning for paternal affection, and the way teens use sex as a way of controlling (they think) situations around them, holds interest thanks largely to the dynamic cast and assured direction. Co-scripter Lubov Mulmenko also co-wrote “Another Year,” likewise a femme-centric indie with a contempo vibe and a welcome addition to the Russian cinema landscape. Fests with college-age auds could be fertile ground.

With her sly sex-kitten aura and short shorts, Sasha (Alexandra Bortich) steals attention from anyone else in a room, including best friend Olya (Marina Vasilyeva). They’ve come down on the latter’s initiative to the Crimean resort of Alupka, so that Olya can connect with Sergey (Konstantin Lavronenko), the father she’s never known. Almost paralyzed with nerves,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

2012 Laff: The Banishment | Review

Retrieved from Exile: Zvyagintsev’s Dismissed Sophomore Effort a Neglected Masterpiece

Newly minted Russian auteur Andrei Zvyagintsev’s second feature, 2007’s maligned The Banishment, has been resurrected for the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival’s “Films that Got Away” program, and it also happens to be one of the most astonishing entries to play in the entire fest. Famously premiering at Cannes to mixed response (though it snagged Best Actor), it’s dismissal was remarkable, especially considering this was his follow-up to his much hailed 2003 debut, The Return. It only played at a handful of other festivals of note but never was released theatrically in the Us. Now, after redeeming himself in the global critical arena with his latest offering, Elena, perhaps we have the opportunity to revisit his dismissed second outing, a neglected effort that, as the tests of time will prove, should amass the critical jubilation it deserves as a masterful,
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Elena by Andrei Zvyagintsev

Elena by Andrei Zvyagintsev
Andrei Zvyagintsev is one of the most interesting among active filmmakers today. He has only made three feature films. Each of those three films is built, to put it in literary terms, on the scale of a novella rather than an epic novel. Each film delves with aspects of family bonding—or at least that provides the least common factor for the tales, only to multiply and enlarge on aspects of an individual’s life beyond the family, subjects often relating to psychology, politics, sociology and religion. And that is what makes any Zvyagintsev film interesting—its universality and its inward looking questions, all open ended for the viewer to ponder over after the movie gets over. And Elena is true to that spirit.

Famous Russian novels (later made into films) often had for their titles mere names—Anna Karenina or Dr Zhivago. But those novels went beyond those ordinary names.
See full article at DearCinema.com »

'4 Months' takes Palme d'Or prize at Cannes

'4 Months' takes Palme d'Or prize at Cannes
CANNES -- After 12 days, 22 films and 60 years of the Festival de Cannes, Stephen Frears' jury reached its verdict Sunday night, bestowing the coveted Palme d'Or to Cristian Mungiu's 4 Luni, 3 Saptamini Si 2 Zile (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days).

The honor proved that all roads lead to Romanian cinema after Cristian Nemescu's California Dreamin' won the Un Certain Regard prize one day earlier.

Wild Bunch is handling international sales for Months and has already sold the film to IFC in the U.S., the U.K.'s Artifical Eye and Italy's Lucky Red.

The second place Grand Prix went to Japanese underdog Mogari No Mori (The Mourning Forest), directed by Naomi Kawase, about an old man and a caretaker at his retirement home struggling to overcome the death of their loved ones.

Julian Schnabel was named best director for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Turkey's German-born Fatih Akin won the best screenplay award for The Edge of Heaven.

Jeon Do-yeon's portrayal of a mother dealing with tragedy earned her the best actress prize for Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine, and Konstantin Lavronenko took home the best actor award for his role in Andrei Zviaguintsev's Russian entry The Banishment.

The Jury prize was split between Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Persepolis, a black-and-white animated adaptation of her popular comic book about growing up during the Iranian Revolution, and Stellet Licht, Carlos Reygadas' tale of forbidden love among Mennonite farmers.

Live from Cannes: Romania mania and Winners announced

  • Judging by this year’s winners of the Grand Prix in the Un Certain regard section and the Palme d’Or in the main comp, it looks like the emerging Romanian cinema has a healthier chance of breaking out onto the international scene. Cristian MungiuCristian Mungiu
[/link]'s 4 months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days won the top prize at Cannes, while California dreamin' (Nesfarsit) whose director Cristian Nemescu who died during post-production won the Un Certain Regard crown.Us folks at Ioncinema.com are extremely happy with the diverse mix of titles that received awards in Cannes this past Sunday night – it proves that great cinema can come from smaller film nations and art house theatres can still count on diversity no matter what language is spoken and regardless if the film holds popular names/stars. Both films flew extremely low on my radar before I came down to the festival, but even
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

The Banishment

The Banishment
CANNES -- "The Banishment" (Izgnanie) starts off like a thriller with a car roaring into the city and a clandestine surgery by a man to remove a bullet in his brother's arm. Then, ever so slowly, the movie falls into the clutches of long, solemn stares into space, meaningful drags on cigarettes, cryptic dialogue revealing little and a tiny drama that feels old, tired and empty of real purpose.

In other words, Art House Pretension without apology or concern. Director/co-writer Andrei Zvyagintsev has told every journalist who asked he intends to avoid the sophomore jinx that follows a very successful first film. (His "The Return" won Venice and four other festivals in 2003.) He has failed. The only route for "Banishment", which screened In Competition, is banishment to the festival circuit. Commercial prospects are zilch.

Zvyagintsev has taken a story by Armenian-American writer William Saroyan, "The Laughing Matter", and stripped it of any specific nationality, locale, time period or indication of culture other than the obvious fact these are white Europeans at some point in the late 20th century before cell phones and laptops (which leaves you wondering things such as why an abortion must be done in such secret).

Alex (Konstantin Lavronenko), the man who extricated the bullet from the arm of his brother (Alexander Baluev), takes his family to their country home. Cue shots of the glorious rustic life. That night his wife, Vera Maria Bonnevie), informs him that she is pregnant but the baby isn't his. He sulks, disappears for a night, wanders back through the trees, hits his wife, consults his brother, then finally demands that Vera have an abortion. If he had just said so in the first place, this would have shaved 45 minutes off the running time.

The abortion goes badly -- the music cues alone warn you this will happen -- the brother has a heart attack and eventually Alex confronts Robert (Dmitry Ulianov), the man he believes seduced his wife. Without giving away any of the movie's "surprises," it all boils down to his wife was unhappy in the marriage. That's it. Apparently, this unnamed country with strict abortion laws also doesn't allow divorce lawyers either.

The acting by the adults is stiff and unnatural. Only the child actors get to play human beings. Cinematography and design are strong elements here as those departments achieve striking images of rural life -- so much so that at times you wish the actors weren't blocking the nice views.

THE BANISHMENT

Ren Film & Intercinema

Credits:

Director: Andrei Zvyagintsev

Screenwriters: Oleg Negin, Andrei Zvyaguntsev, Artem Melkumjan

Based on a story by: William Saroyan

Producers: Dmitri Lesnevsky

Executive producer: Elena Loginova

Director of photography: Mikhail Krichman

Production designer: Andrey Ponkratov

Music: Andrey Dergachev, Arvo Part

Costume designer: Anna Barthuly

Editor: Anna Mass

Cast: Alex: Konstantin Lavronenko

Vera: Maria Bonnevie

Mark: Alexander Baluev

Kir: Maxim Shibaev

Eva: Katya Kulkina

Robert: Dmitry Ulianov

Max: Alexey Vertkov

Running time -- 159 minutes

No MPAA rating

The Return

The Return
Opens

February


At once a powerful psychological thriller and a haunting allegory, "The Return" marks an auspicious feature debut for helmer Andrey Zvyagintsev. With its elegiac mood and pulse-quickening suspense, the pared-down narrative is an unforgettable depiction of primal longing for the father. The film is Russia's entry for the foreign-language Oscar, having nabbed the European Film Awards' Discovery of the Year nod and the Venice fest's Golden Lion. Boosted by strong reviews, it should reap art house returns for Kino International upon its Stateside release in February.

The pic's title refers to the sudden reappearance of a man (Konstantin Lavronenko) whose sons know him only from photographs. As much as his absence has created a dark ache in the household he left 12 years earlier, his return introduces a new, oppressive force -- a complicity of silence. Like his pretty, sad-eyed mother (Natalia Vdovina), teenage Andrey (Vladimir Garin) is content to accept the unexplained turn of events, but his younger brother, Ivan (Ivan Dobronravov), wants answers: Where has the man been, why is he back, and why is he taking the two of them on a fishing trip?

Answers are not forthcoming. As country roads unfold before them, the battle of wills between the increasingly surly Ivan and his enigmatic father intensifies, along with suspicion over the man's identity and a foreboding of violence. The boys accompany Father when mysterious business matters summon him to an island, and the percolating dread gives way to momentary expansiveness as they begin their crossing. But the uninhabited island proves no refuge from escalating hostilities.

The lean script by Vladimir Moiseenko and Alexander Novototsky doesn't oversimplify matters

Father is distant and often brutish but no monster. Possessed of an unexpected rectitude, he tries, in his misguided, sometimes cruel way, to impart lessons in self-reliance to his sons. It's the only language he has to bridge an unfathomable gulf. More than eager to help him is Andrey, a heartbreaking construction of conciliatory gestures

his face beams with love even when Father has treated him harshly. But Ivan, ashamed of his fears and his inferior status as second-born, cleaves tighter to his defiant anger.

The affecting performances never strike symbolic poses -- the story's archetypal power lies in its straightforward drama and assured visuals. From the opening shots of a bruised sky at dusk, DP Mikhail Kritchman's elegant compositions convey the mystery and mournfulness that course through the story like the ever-present element of water, whether in pounding rainstorms or the gently lapping tide. Andrey Dergatchev's music punctuates the proceedings with understated nerve-impulse precision.

THE RETURN

Kino International

Ren Film

Credits: Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Screenwriters: Vladimir Moiseenko, Alexander Novototsky

Producer: Dmitry Lesnevsky

Executive producer: Elena Kovaleva

Director of photography: Mikhail Kritchman

Art director: Janna Pakhomova

Music: Andrey Dergatchev

Costume designer: Anna Barthuly

Editor: Vladimir Mogilevsky

Cast:

Andrey: Vladimir Garin

Ivan: Ivan Dobronravov

Father: Konstantin Lavronenko

Mother: Natalia Vdovina

Running time -- 105 minutes

No MPAA rating

The Return

The Return
Opens

February


At once a powerful psychological thriller and a haunting allegory, "The Return" marks an auspicious feature debut for helmer Andrey Zvyagintsev. With its elegiac mood and pulse-quickening suspense, the pared-down narrative is an unforgettable depiction of primal longing for the father. The film is Russia's entry for the foreign-language Oscar, having nabbed the European Film Awards' Discovery of the Year nod and the Venice fest's Golden Lion. Boosted by strong reviews, it should reap art house returns for Kino International upon its Stateside release in February.

The pic's title refers to the sudden reappearance of a man (Konstantin Lavronenko) whose sons know him only from photographs. As much as his absence has created a dark ache in the household he left 12 years earlier, his return introduces a new, oppressive force -- a complicity of silence. Like his pretty, sad-eyed mother (Natalia Vdovina), teenage Andrey (Vladimir Garin) is content to accept the unexplained turn of events, but his younger brother, Ivan (Ivan Dobronravov), wants answers: Where has the man been, why is he back, and why is he taking the two of them on a fishing trip?

Answers are not forthcoming. As country roads unfold before them, the battle of wills between the increasingly surly Ivan and his enigmatic father intensifies, along with suspicion over the man's identity and a foreboding of violence. The boys accompany Father when mysterious business matters summon him to an island, and the percolating dread gives way to momentary expansiveness as they begin their crossing. But the uninhabited island proves no refuge from escalating hostilities.

The lean script by Vladimir Moiseenko and Alexander Novototsky doesn't oversimplify matters

Father is distant and often brutish but no monster. Possessed of an unexpected rectitude, he tries, in his misguided, sometimes cruel way, to impart lessons in self-reliance to his sons. It's the only language he has to bridge an unfathomable gulf. More than eager to help him is Andrey, a heartbreaking construction of conciliatory gestures

his face beams with love even when Father has treated him harshly. But Ivan, ashamed of his fears and his inferior status as second-born, cleaves tighter to his defiant anger.

The affecting performances never strike symbolic poses -- the story's archetypal power lies in its straightforward drama and assured visuals. From the opening shots of a bruised sky at dusk, DP Mikhail Kritchman's elegant compositions convey the mystery and mournfulness that course through the story like the ever-present element of water, whether in pounding rainstorms or the gently lapping tide. Andrey Dergatchev's music punctuates the proceedings with understated nerve-impulse precision.

THE RETURN

Kino International

Ren Film

Credits: Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Screenwriters: Vladimir Moiseenko, Alexander Novototsky

Producer: Dmitry Lesnevsky

Executive producer: Elena Kovaleva

Director of photography: Mikhail Kritchman

Art director: Janna Pakhomova

Music: Andrey Dergatchev

Costume designer: Anna Barthuly

Editor: Vladimir Mogilevsky

Cast:

Andrey: Vladimir Garin

Ivan: Ivan Dobronravov

Father: Konstantin Lavronenko

Mother: Natalia Vdovina

Running time -- 105 minutes

No MPAA rating

See also

Credited With | External Sites