Aug 31, 2021
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Our strong point: foreign distributors massively purchase Russian fairy tales

This year, foreign distributors bought a lot of Russian films and cartoons, Izvestia found out. Among the largest deals is the Little Humpbacked Horse sold to a number of countries. And the rights to the still unreleased animated film Buka. My Favorite Monster ”has already been bought by almost 100 countries of the world. At the same time, experts say, large investments are required for success abroad, which our studios cannot always afford. Izvestia understood the world perspectives of domestic film novelties.

Went abroad

Russian cinema is conquering world markets – such conclusions are drawn by the figures of the domestic film business based on the results of the recently held Key Buyers Event (KBE). The third online forum, where our audiovisual content was offered to foreigners, attracted 1600 participants from 80 countries (in comparison, the first KBE had only about 60 guests).

Among the largest deals in 2021 is the purchase of Oleg Pogodin’s film The Little Humpbacked Horse by the American company Grindstone Entertainment Group. Spectators from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Poland, Turkey, South Korea will see the magical adventures of the kind, disinterested Ivan and his wonderful skate. Perhaps the Little Humpbacked Horse will be able to break the record for the film Mongol ($ 20 million) in the foreign box office.

International Business Development Director CTB (the film company that made The Little Humpbacked Horse) Svetlana Barabanshchikova said in an interview with Izvestia:

– We hope that foreign audiences will like the film, because this is not just a screen version of the fairy tale by Pyotr Ershov. This is a fascinating story about friendship, love, those values ​​that are important for the whole world.

A still from the cartoon “Buka. My favorite monster “/ Photo: CTB Film Company

By the way, a new release of CTB is to be released soon – an animated adventure film “Buka. My favorite monster. ” The rights to the cartoon have already been bought by 97 countries, including the USA, Germany, France. Its name for the overseas market is My Sweet Monster.

Another important event was the sale of Janik Fayziev’s fantastic film Goalkeeper of the Galaxy to Italy and South Korea: the rights were acquired by distributors Koch and Entermode. Planeta Inform has struck a deal to air the horror film Former in India and Taiwan. In addition, distributors in Latin America, where horror films are traditionally very popular, are claiming the “Former”. Russian World Vision has reached preliminary agreements on the sale of the sports comedy Nefootball and the thriller Home! – again, this applies to Latin America.

Europe has traditionally shown interest in our auteur cinema. The rights to the tape “Petrovs in the Flu” by Kirill Serebrennikov were sold to Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Poland and the Baltic countries.

In the process of signing – deals for the animated films “The Nutcracker and the Magic Flute” and “Barboskins at the Dacha”. As a result, viewers in North America will be able to see these cartoons. Foreign buyers are also showing great interest in the directorial debut of Alexei Chadov – the military action movie “Own War” (foreign name – Infiltration): there are already sales to Japan, South Korea, and the Middle East.

Ours are more noticeable

General Director of Roskino, organizer of the Key Buyers Event online market, Evgenia Markova expressed optimism about the prospects of Russian film production abroad. According to her observations, Russian cinema has become especially noticeable on the world stage over the past two years – “thanks to events such as the Key Buyers Event, as well as active work in all key markets and B2B events. “

“A few years ago, foreign colleagues began to note the excellent value for money, and Russian producers learned to better navigate the international market, acquired contacts and, as a result, sell much better than 5-8 years ago,” she shared in a conversation with Izvestia »Evgeniya Markova. – We see that the new trend – interest in Russian – is confirmed, among other things, by purchases.

Shot from the film “The Petrovs in the Flu” / Photo: Hype Film

Svetlana Barabanshchikova noted that the Russian film industry made a serious leap even before the pandemic, having learned to compete with foreign films of independent producers.

– Animation is developing most successfully, but interest in Russian military dramas, adventure films, science fiction, and horror has increased. Our cinema is quite readily bought in Europe, Turkey, Asia. Before the advent of COVID-19, there were several successful examples of the sale of Russian films to China. The number of transactions in the United States is growing, ”Svetlana Barabanshchikova said in an interview with Izvestia.

Towards versatility

The editor-in-chief of the Bulletin of the Kinoprokatchik, Alexander Nechaev, warned that one should not delude ourselves that people abroad are interested in Russian cinema.

– Don’t fall into the trap and think that there is some special interest in him. The viewer wants to see universal genre stories on the screen, and he does not care where exactly they are produced, ”Alexander Nechaev said in an interview with Izvestia.

True, Evgenia Markova pointed out that, in her opinion, among the reasons for the growing popularity of domestic cinema is precisely the fact that we have learned to produce projects of a new type – “universal stories that can travel the world and are understandable to viewers in any country, but at the same time narrated in this local language with shades of colorful Russian life ”.

At the same time, domestic film content, said Alexander Nechaev, has always been sold in one way or another abroad, although, of course, not in the volumes that could be compared with the film products exported from the United States and China.

Photo: Global Look Press / Sven Hoppe

– Over the past ten years, two stable trends have developed in the promotion of the domestic film industry. Animation and genre films are in the greatest demand. Thus, the cartoon “Snow Queen 3. Fire and Ice” earned $ 19 million abroad, – said Alexander Nechaev. – But the author’s tapes of branded directors, participating in the main programs of major world shows, are also selling well.

As examples of the latter, the speaker cited the films of Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrei Zvyagintsev, and also named Timur Bekmambetov in this series (Night Watch raised $ 18 million). Among the latest events related to non-mass cinema in foreign markets, Alexander Nechaev highlighted the success of Vadim Perelman’s film “Farsi Lessons”. This joint product of Russia, Germany and Belarus earned $ 5 million in the world box office, which is quite good for its genre.

Svetlana Barabanshchikova told Izvestia that it is very difficult to predict the results of the foreign distribution of the Russian releases purchased now (and they should be released in most countries in 2022) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It all depends on the situation with the occupancy of cinemas in different countries, the absence or presence of lockdowns,” she stressed.

Investment and effort

In general, according to Svetlana Barabanshchikova, promoting films to international markets requires a lot of investment and serious effort. Evgenia Markova agreed that large investments are needed.

– Subtitles, adaptation, advertising and promotion are required. Unfortunately, some of our studios cannot afford it, this is true. But we [«Роскино»] for our part, we are trying to make Russian content fashionable so that studios, in turn, could minimize costs, ”she said.

Of course, having access to online makes things easier.

Still from the film “Goalkeeper of the Galaxy” / Photo: CTB Film Company

“This allowed Russian content to freely enter foreign markets, because, unlike in theatrical distribution, going online does not require such large investments,” Yevgenia Markova said in an interview with Izvestia.

Roskino’s immediate plans are to promote the Russian film and audiovisual content industry as broadly and vividly as possible. This year, the organization launched a project under the Russian Content Worldwide brand, which will represent the industry in key markets – Cannes, Toronto, the American Film Market (AFM) and others. The upcoming event is the Venice Film Festival, where the Focus on Russia program will focus on Russia and the opportunities of the Russian industry will be shown in full.

Daria Efremova

Photo: CTB / CTB Film Company

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