Russian production and distribution powerhouse Central Partnership will launch two new animated features at this year’s European Film Market, along with a live-action film that will have its world premiere in competition at SXSW next month.
“The Swiss Adventure” (pictured) is the first big-screen animated film from SMF Animation Studio, the venerable Russian animation house formerly known as Soyuzmultfilm. It tells the story of a 16-year-old servant who falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy merchant, who’s determined to marry her off to a rival of high social standing and low moral values. After being forcibly separated from her, the boy is sent to join General Alexander Suvorov’s army on its legendary Swiss expedition, where he earns the respect and loyalty of his fellow soldiers while thwarting a treacherous enemy plot.
Proving that anyone can be a hero if they are driven by love, “The Swiss Adventure” is produced by Yulia Osetinskaya, Lika Blank and Boris Mashkovtsev with Natalia Kharybina serving as creative producer. It’s directed by Boris Chertkov, Sergey Antonov and Victor Strelchenko from a screenplay by Andrey Kureychik.
“Dolphin Boy” is the story of a group of dolphins that rescues a little boy who survives a plane crash at sea. He lives a carefree life beneath the waves until an evil monster seizes power over the underwater world. The boy is banished to dry land, where a kind-hearted captain takes him in. With the captain’s help, the boy sets out on a journey to solve the mystery of his true identity.
The SkyFrame production is produced by Andrey Gogolev, Geyrat Sokhrab, Mohammad Hamedani and Andrey Shishkanov, and directed by Hamedani off a screenplay by Yana Kuzmina.
Central Partnership is also launching sales during EFM on “Nika,” which will world premiere in competition at SXSW’s in-person film festival in March, and is based on the real-life story of Nika Turbina, a world-famous Soviet child poet who vanished from the public eye in the 1990s. Based off a screenplay by Yulia Gulyan and Vasilisa Kuzmina, the film from co-directors Vasilisa Kuzmina and Alexander Andryushenko picks up with the 27-year-old former prodigy at a crossroads as she tries to pursue happiness as an adult while overcoming the ghosts of the past.
A co-production between the Russian production houses Vodorod, Art Pictures Studio and Central Partnership, “Nika” is produced by Mikhail Vrubel (“Sputnik,” “Attraction”), Alexander Andryushenko (“Sputnik,” “Attraction”), Fedor Bondarchuk (“Stalingrad,” “Attraction”), Denis Baglay, Vadim Vereschagin (“Row 19,” “Son of a Rich”) and Vyacheslav Murugov.
“During the pandemic, we saw huge interest in family films and we are confident that this demand will continue,” said Central Partnership CEO Vadim Vereschagin of the two animated titles. Commenting on “Nika,” he added: “In our opinion, this drama has a great international potential as it raises acute and topical issues that are relevant all over the world.”
Vereschagin also said that Central Partnership expects to close most of the remaining territories during EFM for hot-selling titles “The World Champion,” a drama based on the legendary 1978 chess match between Soviet world champion Anatoly Karpov and the dissident Viktor Korchnoi, and “The First Oscar,” which tells the true story of how “Moscow Strikes Back” won the first ever Oscar for best documentary in 1943.
Central Partnership will participate at the EFM as part of Russian Content Worldwide, an umbrella export brand for the Russian content industry organized by state film promotion body Roskino.