Berlin 2012: First German-Russian Fund Backs Aleksander Sokourov, Aleksey Uchitel

Fabrizio Maltese

The veteran art house directors will be among the first to benefit from the fund, launched at the Berlin Film Festival.

BERLIN -- Veteran Russian art house directors Aleksander Sokourov and Aleksey Uchitel will be among the first to benefit from the new German-Russian co-development fund, which launched with some fanfare at this year's Berlin Film Festival.

Sokourov, whose Faust won Venice's Golden Lion last year, received $20,000 (€15,000) toward the development of The Louvre Under the Occupation, a feature billed as exploring "the relationship between art and power."

Sokourov knows his way around a museum, having directed the documentary Russian Ark, a dramatization of Russian history set entirely in the Russian State Hermitage Museum and done in one continuous shot.

Uschitel, director of the Golden Globe-nominated Kray (2010), picked up $26,000 (€20,000) toward the development of his latest, Stockholm Syndrome, which will be produced by Rock Films St. Petersburg and Film Base Berlin.

Other projects backed in the fund's initial round include Bakur Bakuradze's The General, Offside from Alexander Strizhenov and Tajik Jimmy from Ella Vakassova.

After several years of negotiations, the German-Russian co-development fund was finally established during the summer by German state subsidy groups Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and the MDM.