Baz Luhrmann Sets Classic Mikhail Bulgakov Russian Novel ‘The Master And Margarita’ For Film

EXCLUSIVE: As Baz Luhrmann readies to direct the untitled Elvis Presley project for Warner Bros, he has secured the long sought after rights to the cult Russian novel The Master and Margarita. Luhrmann has done this in partnership with the rights holders, Svetlana Migunova-Dali (producer of the Russian Academy Award-winning biopic Legend No. 17 and Grace Loh (previously John Cusack’s producing partner). They will produce alongside Luhrmann with Natalia Rogal also producing., The exec producers are Michael Lang, Nevin Shalit, Andrew Fourman and Ellen Goldsmith Vein and Lindsay Williams of the Gotham Group.


This is a passion project for Luhrmann, who will eye it as a possible directorial  vehicle. 

Considered one of the masterpieces of the 20th century, the Mikhail Bulgakov novel The Master and Margarita is a fantastical and devastating satire of Soviet society, an audacious revision of the stories of Faust and Christ’s Crucifixion, and a love story that spans across space and time. Written in the darkest period of Stalin’s regime and banned during Bulgakov’s lifetime, a censored edition was finally published in the 1960 and instantly became a worldwide literary phenomenon. It has inspired other iconic works, including the Rolling Stones song Sympathy for the Devil and Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. Translated into more than 40 languages, the novel has sold over 100 million copies worldwide and is consistently included on lists of the greatest works of world literature.

“Stretching back almost 20 years, I’ve had an incredible connection with the story of The Master and Margarita and have long sought the rights to this extraordinary book,” says Luhrmann. “I’m thrilled to finally have the opportunity to do an interpretation of this groundbreaking work.”

“It is an absolute dream come true to be collaborating with Baz on The Master and Margarita,” says Migunova-Dali and Loh. “The words of Bulgakov remain as poignant in the world today as nearly a century ago, and we can’t imagine a more brilliant and visionary filmmaker to bring this powerful story to audiences around the world.”

Luhrmann will develop the project through his company, Baz & Co., a joint-venture with Len Blavatnik. Luhrmann and his multiple Oscar-winning production designer wife Catherine Martin have previously partnered with Blavatnik on the creation of the Faena Hotel Miami Beach.


Angel's Arrow is Berlin Video Music Award Official Selection



A captivating rendering of a story of love tells of heroes that dwell in a Spanish castle in Andalusia in the Cordoba province in picturesque surroundings that will also turn into the scene for the new season of the popular series. The heroes seemingly anticipate the new plot twists of “Game of Thrones” and at the same time are telling the old story of “Beauty and the Beast”. A story of a wonderful prince—turned into a new interpretation.

The preparation and shooting of the film were carried out just as they would for a full-length major feature film. Over 100 people worked on the creation of the film. Original costumes and set design were created, and state-of-the-art technology was used for shooting and CGI effects. One of the most important roles went to a trained tiger. The video was shot by one of the highest demanded young cinemaographer, director/DOP Aleksey Kupriyanov. 
Soundtrack to "Angel's Arrow" written by Tiger Cave, who already had an experience of working on soundtracks for Film and TV 
(Feature “Children Under 16…” Dr.Andrey Kavun, TV series “Angel or Demon”( channel (CTC)).

Fragments of the film “Angel’s Arrow” have become the basis for the Tiger Cave music video for the title song of the film «Angel’s Arrow».


The Berlin Music Video Awards (BMVA) are an annual festival that puts filmmakers and the art behind music videos in the spotlight.

Supporting both unknown and famous artists, it is a primary networking event for the video and music industries in Europe.

Filled with a vast selection of music video marathons, professional judges, live performances, filmmaking workshops and networking events, the festival is not only a meeting ground for filmmakers, but also for musicians as well as all music enthusiasts.


CANNES: Roskino Showcases Wide Range of Russian Movie Projects

CANNES – Russian movie support agency Roskino has been busy during Cannes. 


MAY 21/ LEO BARRACLOUGH/VARIETY.COM/ - Among its varied activities, it has presented Global Russian, a selection of films in the Short Film Corner of the Cannes Market, the New Russian Cinema program, which is a selection of upcoming Russian films, and a slate of new projects emerging from the Russian market.

Attending the Global Russian event was Sergey Pikalov, whose film “The Last One” (pictured, below) is participating in Cannes’ official short films competition. The Russian-Azerbaijani co-production from Buta Films tells the tragicomic tale of the last remaining World War II veteran, and his complicated relationship with his fridge. The 15-minute philosophical parable is produced by Maria Ivanova and Nasib Piriyev.

Piriyev said: “When we started making the film, nobody was thinking about winning competitions or awards, so it is all the more rewarding to be recognized by the Cannes Film Festival.

“For me personally, it was really special to make my first feature film in my native country, Azerbaijan, and to have the opportunity to communicate to the audience, in a frank and truthful manner.

“What is really relevant to us are the lessons of the past, the connection between generations, loneliness in old age, and the importance of living and breathing, in spite of everything.”

Also included was Anton Bilzho’s “Mirrors of the Beautiful Lylia Voronstova,” a haunting visually-stylish ode to longing that follows a lonely receptionist who spends her days looking into mirrors and slowly losing her connection with reality.

Other shorts presented included Vadim Vatagin’s fast-paced thriller “The Snap”; fantasy “He Who Had Invented All This” from Yuri Chirkovskiy; newcomer Igor Olshansky’s “Easter,” focusing on the children of a Russian village left behind after the men head off to fight the Civil War; and Ivan Shakhnazarov’s “Rock,” which centers on a hapless rock group who suffer a road accident on their way to a make-or-break meeting with a record producer.

The New Russian Cinema presentation, curated by CEO Katya Mtsitouridze, showcased a range of films emerging from the Russian market.

The movies presented for the first time to distributors, sales companies, festival programmers and members of the press were: “My Little One,” directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy, winner of Un Сertain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 for his film “Tulpan”; “Rudolf Nureyev. A Rebel Demon,” directed by Tatiana Malova; “Archipelago,” directed by Tatiana Voronetskaya”; and “Orlean,” directed by Andrey Proshkin.

Among the 10 new film projects emerging from the Russian market presented by Roskino were a biopic about Soviet sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko, “The Battle for Sevastopol,” which is a co-production between Russia’s New People and Ukraine’s Kinorob; the 3D animation film “Quackerz”; and true-life tale “20 Lives.”

Mtsitouridze said: “We have chosen 10 projects for co-production out of 73 that were sent to Roskino. The most important thing was that each of those 10 producers has a clear vision about which kind of partnership is necessary and which goals should be pursuit. It doesn’t make any sense to start a project without understanding how it would be released.”

“Quackerz,” directed and co-written by Viktor Lakisov (“Viy 3D”), claims to be the first 3D animation film to come from Russia, with Rome Animation Studios teaming up with A-VFX Studios to re-tell the story of “Romeo & Juliet.”

The film includes 10 video-game sequences to immerse the audience in the story about rival duck clans, as Longwei, a young drake from the mandarin flock, and Erica, the daughter of the colonel in command of a mallard squadron fall in love.

“20 Lives” from Logos Film Company follows the heroic actions of champion swimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan, who on witnessing a bus hurtle from a bridge into an icy lake, dove into the depths to bring survivors to the surface, at huge personal expense. Peter Winther’s script depicts an inspirational true life tale of selfless heroism.

Producer Olga Sinelshchikova said: “A story of a man who has become a hero against his wishes, and saved dozens of lives told by the means of modern visual language and spectacular special effects will be understood by a wide audience, and we hope that international distributors will be interested in acquiring rights for different international territories.”

Dmitry Mamulia’s “Dogs. Desire. Death.,” produced by Igor Shulkin and Anna Aleshkovska, is another project seeking international co-production. The London-based drama follows intersecting characters each battling with the loneliness, love, and longing of modern life within a major city.

Meanwhile, Ivan Lopatin of Leevandia Entertainment presented Timofey Zhalnin’s suspenseful “The Disappearance,” which is a thriller depicting an unhappy couple lost in the Siberian wilderness, and forced to survive both the elements and the harsh realities of their failed relationship.

Timofey Zhalnin, the scriptwriter and the director, said: “The script is based on real events that occurred with a young couple lost in the Siberian taiga. This story is not only physical survival in the situation on the verge of life and death, but also psychological drama about the survival of people with a dead-end relationship. In a broad sense, it is a story about a man who wanted to outwit fate. But fate was trickier.”

Konstantin Fam, director of “Triology Witnesses,” also introduced his film, stating: “Witnesses has reached the final stage of competition to be subsidized by the Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation. We hope that we will be supported. For me it’s very personal film, and personal emotions, that are linked to the history of my family, and millions of similar families that until now remember this tragedy, the understanding of which is essential.”

Anastassia Perova, producer of “Svetlana,” introduced her project, stating: “ ‘Svetlana’ is the ‘soul trip’ of a Kremlin princess, the favorite daughter of tyrant Stalin. She was searching for love, happiness, harmony… the love and death of Indian wise man Bradzesh Singh gave her freedom and new life.”

The list of projects, curated by Mtsitouridze, and introduced by their producers, included:
“The Last Inhabitant,” director Jivan Avetisyan
“Svetlana,” created by Irina Kvirikadze, producer Anastassia Perova
“Chekhov’s List,” director Anna Fenchenko, producer Vladimir Khotinenko
“Stones of Sunrise,” director Philip Abryutin, producer Svetlana Kuchmaeva
“The Whiskered Nanny 2,” producer Marina Kozhevnikova
“20 Lives,” producer Svetlana Dally and Olga Sinelschikova
“Witnesses” (anthology), producer and director Konstantin Fam
“Dogs. Desire. Death.,” director Dmitry Mamulia
“The Disappearance,” director Timofey Zhalnin, producer Ivan Lopatin
“Quackerz,” director Viktor Lakisov, producers Oksana Brovchenko and Ruben Atoyan


CANNES: Program for the Russian Pavilion in Cannes Unveiled

LONDON — The program of events for the Russian Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival has been unveiled. Author: Leo Barraclough/Variety.


The gala opening of the Pavilion will be held May 15, at which speakers will include Vyacheslav Telnov, head of the Cinema and Modernization Programs Department of the Russian Ministry of Culture, Catherine Mtsitouridze, director general of ROSKINO, and Dmitry Litvinov, general director of Planeta Inform Communication Group.

There also will be a presentation of the Saint Petersburg Intl. Media Forum, which runs Sept. 29-Oct. 5.

On May 16, there will be a presentation of Russian projects looking for co-production partners.

The lineup, which was curated by Mtsitouridze, includes:
“The Last Inhabitant,” director Jivan Avetisyan
“Svetlana,” created by Irina Kvirikadze, producer Anastassia Perova
“Chekhov’s List,” director Anna Fenchenko, producer Vladimir Khotinenko
“Stones of Sunrise,” director Philip Abryutin, producer Svetlana Kuchmaeva
“The Whiskered Nanny 2,” producer Marina Kozhevnikova
“20 Lives,” producer Svetlana Dally and Olga Sinelschikova
“Witnesses” (anthology), producer and director Konstantin Fam
“Dogs. Desire. Death.,” director Dmitry Mamulia
“The Disappearance,” director Timofey Zhalnin, producer Ivan Lopatin
“Journey Beyond Three Seas,” producer Konstantin Nafikov
“Sounds of the Passing Times,” director Tatyana Dyakonova

This will be followed by a presentation by ROME animation studio of its 3D animation project “DuckTales.” Oxana Brovchenko, the executive producer, and Ruben Atoyan, the producer, will attend.

On May 17, Focus on New Russian Cinema 2014 will look at several new Russian film projects that will be presented for the first time to distributors, sales companies, international festival programmers, and members of the Russian and international press.

The lineup, which was curated by Mtsitouridze, includes:
“My Little One,” director Sergey Dvortsevoy
“The Hope Factory,” director Natalia Meshaninova
“Moscow-Russia Express,” director Igor Voloshin
“Rudolf Nureyev. A Rebel Demon,” producer Alfiya Chebotareva
“Recreational Ethology,” director Vassily Sigarev

This will be followed by a presentation of Global Russians 2014, which will look at the annual DVD almanac of Russian shorts presented at the Short Film Corner of the Cannes Film Market.

The lineup:
“Mirrors of the Beautiful Lydia Voronstova,” director Anton Bilzho
“Ophelia,” director Sergey Rostropovich
“First I,” director Kantemir Balagov
“Rock,” director Ivan Shakhnazarov
“The Snap,” director Vadim Vatagin

The session was curated by Mtsitouridze, Ilya Bachurin, Dmitry Yakunin and Ivan Lopatin.

The winner of the Glavpitching competition, Alexander Yaropolsky’s “The Virus,” will be presented by Glavkino Studio.

On May 18, the Russian Pavilion will pay tribute to the memory of Russian director Aleksei Balabanov, who died last year.

This will be followed by Glacier Films’ press conference, organized by Renovatio Entertainment, at Baoli Beach on La Croisette, attended by producers Vladimir Polyakov, Georgy Malkov, Gevond Andreasyan, Sarik Andreasyan, Tove Christensen; actor Adrien Brody; and record producer Acon.

On May 19, there will be a press conference for the 36th Moscow Intl. Film Festival. Speakers will be Leonid Vereschagin, MIFF general producer; Kirill Razlogov, MIFF programming director; and Pyotr Shepotinnik, MIFF public relations director. There will also be a photocall for Dmitry Mamulia’s “Dogs. Desire. Death.”

This will be followed by a roundtable discussion titled “Digitalization of the Audio-visual Industry: Pirates, Startups, and Perspectives.”

Speakers are:
Alexander Zharov, head of the Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications (Roskomnadzor)
Benoit Ginisty, head of the International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations (FIAPF)
Konstantin Zemchenkov, director of the Russian Anti-Piracy Organization
Maxim Ksendzov, deputy head of the Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications (Roskomnadzor)
Chris Marcich, president of the Motion Picture Assn. for Europe, Middle East and Africa
Oleg Rumyantsev, chairman of the Internet Video Assn.
Sergey Semenov, VP of the Producers’ Guild of Russia
Sergey Selyanov, STB Film Company producer and co-chairman of the Film and TV Producers Assn.

The session will be moderated by Mtsitouridze, and curated by Ekaterina Semenova.

May 20 will be devoted to the Russian participants in the Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival, which includes Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan” in competition.

On May 21 there will be a presentation of the film “Cupodity” by Cornetto Films. Directors are Elena Kipper, Mark Nunneley and Raul B. Fernandez. The film stars Julia Volkova, Lena Katina, Anna Niverova, Evgeny Dakot, Ilinca Rae, Matt Kyle, Hannas Pearl Utt, Andrew Gilbert, Melia Renee and Jake Lockett.



Movie about Shavarsh Karapetyan’s deed to be shot in Russia

Russia's Logos Film Company will shoot a movie about a heroic deed of Shavarsh Karapetuyan, a multiple world champion in skin diving, according to the company’s official website.


YEREVAN, February 7. /ARKA/. “This is an incredible story about the power of human spirit that can do impossible things,” the company says on its website. “This is a story about a strong man who had gifted the second birth to two dozens of people and whose main reward for courage is saved lives and own life.” The movie producers are Svetlana Dali and Olga Sinelshikova. 

Shavarsh Karapetyan is a retired Soviet-Armenian champion swimmer. He is an 11-time World Record holder, 17-time World Champion, 13-time European Champion and 8-time USSR Champion.

One cold morning on September 16, 1976 he was doing his usual run along the dam in Yerevan, Armenia, when a large trolleybus carrying 92 passengers lost control and flew off the road into the freezing water. Тhe bus sank approximately 10 meters deep. Without a second of hesitation, Shavarsh dived into the freezing water to rescue people.

Shavarsh used his feet to break the back window of the trolleybus. One by one, he saved 20 peoples’ lives (he actually pulled out more then 20, but not everyone made it). He spent nearly 20 minutes in the frigid water and accomplished 30 dives down to the wreck of the bus. 

In 1980s, Karapetyan retired and in 1991 relocated to Moscow, where he engaged in a business.  He also established the Benevolent Foundation of Shavarsh Karapetyan for fostering skin diving development in Russia. In 2010, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan awarded a medal for courage to him. 



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