The Key Buyers Event: Digital Edition, a virtual platform for Russian content hosted by film promotion body Roskino, wrapped this week with a slew of sales and an affirmation that global players are increasingly looking to tap into the Russian market.
The online market welcomed some 600 international participants from 70 countries, with the largest number of buyers coming from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Japan and China. The event attracted leading companies such as Apple TV, France Televisions, Wild Bunch, Lionsgate, Dogwoof, RTL Group, AMC Networks, Mediaset, Beta Film, Koch Media, iQIYI and others.
Roughly 120 Russian companies participated, presenting 300 film, TV and animated projects while generating more than 600 meetings with foreign execs. Plans are now in place to create a permanent online platform to serve as the main source of information on the Russian film market, including an overview of projects either completed or in production, as well as potential opportunities for international partners.
“Roskino managed to create a platform that transpired into a full-scale multi-functional digital market for buyers, producers, filmmakers, and media,” said CEO Evgenia Markova. “It proved highly viable and efficient, in line with the global trend of migrating to a mixed event format, which will combine extensive working online with offline meetings and traditional networking.”
She continued: “The online platform allowed us to showcase the full landscape of titles and film services that Russia has to offer. Thanks to the combined efforts of the industry we were able to prepare it in a short amount of time and present a panoramic view of the film market to global partners.”
The Key Buyers Event hosted a co-production section highlighting a diverse selection of over 90 projects open to international co-production, while a number of deals were announced throughout the week.
Russian post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller “The Blackout” (pictured), directed by Egor Baranov and produced by PREMIER Studios, secured distribution in more than 90 countries and will be released on iQIYI, one of the largest VOD services in China. Shout! Studios will be distributing the film in North America. The deals were negotiated by Central Partnership, which is handling international sales.
Central Partnership also inked U.S. and U.K. deals for its WWII epic “The Last Frontier.” Shout! Studios has taken North American rights, while Signature Entertainment will handle the release in the U.K.
Yellow, Black and White announced an acquisition deal for the drama series “Russian Affairs” with Walter Presents, the video on-demand service of the U.K.’s Channel 4. The company has secured the rights for the U.K. and Ireland in a deal negotiated by French-based distributor Oble.
The sci-fi film “Coma,” from Planeta Inform, will get a digital release this summer across Latin America and will also be released on VOD in the U.S. “The Queen of Spades: Through the Looking Glass” will also get a wide release across English-speaking countries around the world. A leading Indian pay-tv channel acquired the rights to horror titles “The Bride,” “Quiet Comes the Dawn,” “Queen of Spades: Through the Looking Glass,” and family sci-fi title “Robo,” which will be available on Amazon Prime, Hulu and Google Play.
Mirsand announced sales of all rights for the film “Spacewalker” to W&W Investments in Poland, while Berlin-based Capelight Pictures acquired the sales of the digital and home-viewing rights for the U.S. and Canada.
French and U.S.-based producer and distributor Cyber Group Studios and Soyuzmultfilm, Russia’s oldest animation studio, announced the creation of the joint venture label Cyber Soyuz Junior, which is aimed to create 2D animations for pre-school audiences.
Animation studio Wizart announced several deals. Signature Entertainment picked up the rights to distribute “Sheep & Wolves: Pig Deal” and “The Snow Queen: Mirrorlands” in the U.K. Cape Town-based Gravel Road Distribution Group will distribute the second part of the “Sheep & Wolves” franchise across Africa, and the Miraj Group will release “Snow Queen: Fire and Ice” and “Snow Queen: Mirrorlands” in India.
More deals are expected to be announced during and after the Marché du Film, where Roskino will be hosting a virtual Russian pavilion uniting 18 Russian companies.