'Wolfhound' leads pack for Central

Tops 16-film Cannes market slate

MOSCOW -- Top Russian sales and production shingle Central Partnership on Monday announced its Cannes market titles, with a slate of 16 features, including domestic boxoffice hit "Wolfhound."

"Wolfhound" -- a fantasy thriller that took in more than $20 million at the home boxoffice and has notched up more than 30 international sales -- will spearhead a wide range of genres and directors old and new.

Veteran director Kira Muratova's latest film, Ukrainian-Russian co-production "Two in One," a stylish two-hour drama about an aging theater actor's search for love and the diabolical trap his daughter sets for him that will either save or damn him, is an art-house highlight among a pack of more commercial features.

The film, which stars Renata Litvinova and Bogdan Stupka, screened in the world narrative feature competition section at the recent Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

Other festival favorites include Boris Khlebnikov's "Free Floating," voted best Central and Eastern European film last year at the 22nd Warsaw International Film Festival, and Yuri Moroz's "The Spot," which was in competition last year at Karlovy Vary.

New films include such recent Russian releases as Mikhail Khleborodov's sci-fi thriller "Paragraph 78." The $10 million-budgeted film -- the biggest ever in Russia for the genre -- features a soundtrack by Sneaker Pimps and Prodigy.

"Streetracers" (director, Oleg Fesenko), a Russian "The Fast and the Furious" in which young daredevils race each other through the streets of St. Petersburg; boxing picture "Revenge" (director, Anton Megerdichev), which stars rising young Russian actor Andrei Panin; and romantic comedy "180 and Higher" (director, Alexandr Strizhenov), in which a short fitness club owner goes in search of his ideal long-legged beauty, reflect Russian film's recent trend toward fast-paced crowd pleasers.

More thoughtful new offerings include "Gagarin's Grandson." Panin's feature debut is a social drama in which a white artist learns he has a long lost brother living in an orphanage whom he discovers is black when he goes to take him home. The film explores the challenges and prejudices such a discovery reveals in contemporary Russia.

Central Partnership also is handling international rights for Russia's epic costume drama "The Sovereign's Servant" (director, Oleg Ryaskov) about two friends compelled to witness the horrors of an 18th century European war from different sides.

Said Armen Dishdishian, head of Central Partnership sales house, said: "For Cannes we have a balanced lineup that includes big boxoffice hits, the latest art house films, in-house productions and co-productions with partners."
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