German Court Orders $2.28M Payout by Alexander Rodnyansky's A.R. Films

Alexander Rodnyansky - H 2015
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The company, controlled by the Russian producer of 'Leviathan' and 'Loveless,' has to pay creditors of Berlin-based A Company, in a lawsuit connected to A Company's collapse.

A German court has ordered a company owned by famed Russian producer Alexander Rodnyansky (Loveless, Leviathan) to pay out $2.28 million (€2 million) in a lawsuit linked to the insolvency proceedings of German production and licensing group A Company.

The money is part of a series of loans totaling more than €8 million ($9 million) that A.R. Films gave A Company in 2011. In 2014, A.R. Films took a stake in the Berlin-based group, which at its peak was one of Eastern Europe's leading licensing and distribution firms, with a library that included such titles as The King's Speech, Sin City, Shutter Island and the Saw franchise.

A.R. Films' stake was put in a holding company, which agreed to repay the original A Company loans and, in late 2014, transferred part of the original amount to A.R. Films.

But the crisis in Ukraine and a sharp downturn in the Russian theatrical market hit A Company hard and, in 2015, the group filed for the German equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The court-appointed liquidator, Tors?ten Martini, sued A.R. Films for a return of the repaid loan, arguing it was part of A Company's assets. The Berlin state court agreed with him and, late this year, ordered A.R. Films to pay A Company creditors $2.28 million.

Martini told The Hollywood Reporter he was “pulling out all the stops” to get the money, pursuing A.R. Films assets both in Germany and in the company's corporate base in Cyprus. Martini has also filed a second suit related to the loan repayments, demanding a further $6.9 million from A.R. Films.

A.R. Films cut all ties with A Company following the 2015 insolvency and Rodnyansky, best-known as the producer of Andrei Zvyagintsev's Oscar-nominated features Leviathan and Loveless, has since launched a new firm, AR Content, to produce international films and television series.

AR Content has announced a number of projects, among them Debriefing the President, based on John Nixon’s nonfiction account of interrogating the Iraqi ruler, to be directed by Oscar-nominated Ziad Doueiri (The Attack); a documentary on the little-known pre-Holocaust refugee crisis of 1938, to be directed by One Day in September filmmaker Kevin Macdonald; and a TV series on the porn industry, from award-winning Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo (Jupiter's Moon).