Central hails deals as Sochi event starts


SOCHI, Russia -- Leading Russian independent sales and production shingle Central Partnership announced Wednesday strong world sales for its slate of movies during the market at last month's Festival de Cannes.

Central Partnership, which has three movies in the competition lineup at this week's Russian national film festival Kinotavr -- held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi -- said it recorded strong sales for its flagship production, Nikolai Lebedev's prehistoric fantasy "Wolfhound," which sold to Scandinavian territories (Atlantic), India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka (Nirvana Motion Pictures), Spain (Flins and Piniculas), Japan (Transformer), Italy (Medusa), and the Benelux countries (DFW).

The film -- which has taken in more than $20 million at the Russian boxoffice since its release last summer -- had already notched up more than 30 international sales before the Cannes market opened, Central Partnership said.

Oksana Akinshina, who starred as Princess Helen in "Wolfhound," was among the homegrown Russian stars who arrived in Sochi on Wednesday for the 18th edition of the festival.

The festival, which saw a change of management three years ago, is emerging as Russia's most professionally produced national film event. Its strong business focus and market attracts an international array of producers and festival heads that this year includes representatives from Germany's Leipzig-based MDM Mittel-Deutsche Medien Forderung that is actively seeking co-production deals between German and Russian filmmakers.

In other sales, action adventure "Streetracers" -- a Russian "Gone in 60 Seconds" set in St. Petersburg that is still in post-production -- sold to China (ERG Media), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia (Dream Movie), Brazil (Focus Films) and Thailand (J-Bigs), the company said.

Thriller "Paragraph 78" sold to Greece and Cyprus (Audiovisual Ent) and Japan (Klock Worx), drama "Sovereign's Servant" to Nirvana Motion for the same Asian territories as "Wolfhound" and the Czech Republic and Slovakia (Hollywood C.E.) and China. Thriller "Moscow Mission" found a place in Japan (Klock Worx) and Greece and Cyprus (Audiovisual Ent.) -- which also bought ghost story "Dead Daughters."

Zhanna Shakhshaeva, markets and festivals coordinator at Central Partnership, said that a number of other films had also been accepted by international festivals, including "Free Floating" and "Gagarin's Grandson" for the Seattle International Film Festival, "Dr. Zhivago" for Banff, "Hero of Our Time" for Monte-Carlo TV Festival and "Dead Daughters" for the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Central Partnership's three films at Kinotavr are Kira Muratova's "Two in One," Anna Melikian's "Mermaid," and Alexander Mindadze's "Soar."