From Russia with love
Tarkovsky, standing outside Moscow's legendary Film School, scrutinises our delegates
We have just had the privilege of taking a delegation of 10 UK film industry leaders to Moscow for an info-gathering visit arranged by our expert Russian colleagues.
Made up of representatives drawn from across the UK's production, sales, distribution and exhibition sectors, the Delegation spent a week visiting Moscow. The aim was to introduce the UK industry to key Russian counterparts in order to support the development of strong relationships and links, in the context of the newly-signed landmark agreement to designate 2014 as the UK-Russia Year of Culture, which will see a major series of arts and cultural activities taking place in both countries next year.
Our party included innovative producers Tanya Seghatchian, Anita Overland and Tatiana Kennedy, all of whom have Russian projects under consideration; Liam Foley of Working Title whose recent retelling of Anna Karenina referenced Russia's most celebrated author; Phil Robertson, of Zephyr Films whose Tolstoy drama The Last Station scooped Oscar nominations for leads Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren; Talent Agent Sean Gascoine, from United Agents, who has a number of Russian clients; Philip Herd, Head of Production for Independent Films, responsible for Bernard Rose's Tolstoy's adaptation, Boxing Day; leading animation producer Lupus Films' Ruth Fielding; and distributors Cate Kane from Artificial Eye, and Oli Harbottle of Dogwoof.
The core visit programme gave a fascinating overview of the Russian film industry, taking in studios such as the brand new Glavkino complex (the largest purpose built studio in Eastern Europe), exhibition venues and film schools including VGIK, the oldest school in the world which counts such illustrious names as Sergei Bondarchuk, Elem Klimov, Sergei Parajanov, Alexander Sokurov and Andrei Tarkovsky amongst its alumni. Our programme spanned fiction, documentary and animation; one of the many highlights was meeting the delightful creatives at Toonbox, the people behind Om Nom – if you’ve ever played Cut The Rope you’ll know who we mean!
We were welcomed with open arms and enjoyed a warm welcome everywhere we went despite changes in the public funding landscape in Russia. We will have a chance to return the hospitality in the autumn when we bring a Russian film delegation to the UK on a reciprocal visit – watch this space!