Russia's Lenfilm Studio Launches Distribution Division

Lenfilm Studios in St. Petersburg

The company's first release has been slated for next month.

Lenfilm, Russia’s oldest film studio, has launched a distribution division.

The St. Petersburg-based company will be distributing films it produces, as well as movies from other studios, Lenfilm announced on its website.

Lenfilm's first release will be Ilya Severov's Razvod po sobstvennomu zhelaniyu (Voluntary Divorce), slated to open on Sep. 10.

On Oct. 8, Lenfilm is to release Dusha Shpiona (The Spy's Soul), a $10 million political thriller directed by Vladimir Bortko and produced by Tri Te, a company formed by Oscar-winning director Nikita Mikhalkov in collaboration with the state-run broadcaster VGTRK.

Lenfilm's further distribution plans include Alexandra Strelyanaya's children's movie Samy Ryzhi Lis (The Most Red Fox) and Sergey Snezhkin's period piece Kontributsiya (Contribution).

In launching a distribution division, Lenfilm follows in the footsteps of Timur Bekmambetov's company Bazelevs, which launched a successful distribution wing five years ago. The vast majority of other Russian studios don't have their own distribution.

Lenfilm was stagnating for years, but the appointment of director and producer Fyodor Bondarchuk as chairman of the board in late 2012 helped to turn the studio around. It recently announced a $75 million expansion scheme in which it hopes to attract investment from China.