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American Film Market 2020 Day 1 Highlights “Spotlight On Russia”

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Day 1 at the 2020 Online American Film Market (AFM) kicked off its morning session with Keynote Speakers, Mark Gill of Solstice Studios, and Elissa Federoff, President of Distribution. Neon. Both conversations offered a plethora of detailed and insightful information on topics ranging from exhibition to distribution and timing of releasing films during the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Evgenia Markhova

The first-afternoon session, “Spotlight on Russia,” hosted by Roskino CEO, Evgenia Markova, provided an introductory overview of New Russian Cinema and upcoming Russian Television Series.  High energy features with strong production values were on full display. Seeking co-production and co-funding partners, one of the first pieces presented was Die Hards from Russia’s Channel 5 TV, closely resembling the Bruce Willis-led, global phenomenon Die Hard franchise. Covering the full gamut of genres with Russian gangsters, love stories, inspirational, historical, and war, a look at the “Spotlight on Russia,” was illuminated.

The dramedy of Chicks seeks to capitalize on both the local and global markets with a swanky and sultry cast dealing with real-life situations with comedic relief. Set for a 2020 November release, Check it out. You’ll be glad you did!

Red Ghost set in WWII theatre of combat puts on full display the unearthly prowess and determination of the Russian soldier on the battlefield – cunning, baffling, powerful! A must-see piece.

Other promising TV and theatrical titles featuring strong Russian-themed action include The Conquest of Siberia and Run.

The Queen, a teenage comedy featuring a social media darling who also doubles as a professional tennis player has all the dressings of when Maria Sharapova meets a randy Clueless’s, Alicia Silverstone.

Wrapping up the impressive Russian lineup were the animated features for the young viewer, The Golden Hive,  and the older viewer, Silver Skates. Targeted features with compelling narratives. Highly recommended!

The follow-up session to “Spotlight on Russia” featured a panel of Russian women sharing their experience with key art and merchandising in “The Wow-effect of Russian Movies’ Marketing Localization,” moderated by Screen International’s Geoffrey Macnab.

An excellent primer on developing a consistent audience and being sensitive to regional cinema differences.

A storied filmmaking industry featuring the pioneering and ground-breaking montage of Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, Russian Cinema is seeing widespread popularity throughout Europe and is finding more followers on Youtube. Hostess Markhova showcased the riveting series, Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes, released on YouTube in April 2020. The powerful storyline with exquisite costuming and make-up, make this an Editor’s Choice.

Keep an eye for these pieces and for opportunities to team up with production and distribution companies.