Eastern European Distributor A Company to Release More Local Movies

The Berlin-based firm sees opportunities in expanding its distribution fare to include varied regional titles, along with Hollywood imports.

LONDON – Berlin-based distributor A Company is going local to distribute films across territories in Eastern Europe.

The company, which has subsidiaries in Russia, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics and Vietnam, sees local films as an attractive addition to Hollywood blockbusters and European films.

Its most recent acquisition is Russian film Classmates, by Pavel Hudyakov, a youth comedy based around a group of old school friends who meet up through a social networking site.

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The film, which in Russia will be released as Odnoklassniki.ru (the name of the Russian site that translates as "classmates"), stars Russian actor, director and producer Fedor Bondarchuk and U.S. rapper Snoop Dogg.

The film is slated for a Nov. 28 release through A Company Russia and 20th Century Fox.

Ekaterina Morozova, head of distribution at A Company, said: "We are excited to work on this release, which will be our first Russian-language film. It's not only a great comedy with big well-known names for Russia, but will be a good opportunity for new cooperation with Russian producers."

A Company Russia released Cloud Atlas in Russia last year -- the company was a co-producer -- and the film earned more than $16.5 million at the box office there.

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Russian-American thriller Dyatlov Pass Incident, directed by Renny Harlin, took over $5 million in Russian release.

A Company plans at least two Russian release a year and will follow a similar strategy across its territories, with A Company Hungary (Budapest Film Kft.) planning releases of black comedy Heavenly Shift by Mark Bodzsar and Karlovy Vary Crystal Globe winner, The Notebook, by Janos Szasz.

Other titles are under negotiation for release through 2014.

"Budapest Film has traditionally been the biggest distributor of local products and it is a great honor to partner with Hungarian producers to launch a variety of movies," said Attila Szabo, managing director of Budapest Film Kft.

Czech releases in 2014 will include Vejska by Tomas Vorel, the sequel to a 2007 local box office hit, Gympl, which took nearly $2.5 million.