Russia to create its own Hollywood in Crimea


In the coming years, Russian film companies plan to shoot a lot of movies in Crimea and establish a large production base there, in fact creating in the peninsula the Russian equivalent of America’s Hollywood. This is the forecast of Nikita Mikhalkov, the chairman of the Union of Cinematographers of Russia. According to the award-winning director, one of the important steps to be taken is the revival of the Yalta Film Studio and using it as the basis of a major site for film production.

Yalta Film Studio is one of the oldest and most famous studios in the territory of the post-Soviet space. It was created in 1917 and played a crucial role in the development of all cinema of the Soviet Union, but for the past 20 years it virtually ceased operations.

Putting aside political issues, the majority of Russian directors have concluded that the presence of a production site in the Crimea will take Russian cinema to a new level.

"I just think that the Crimea is a unique place for filmmakers, where you can shoot everything: America or France, for example,” commented Russian director Alexey Uchitel. “When the French saw the film His Wife's Diary, they did not believe that the Cote d'Azur has been shot in Crimea. Therefore, from this point of view, we very much need this base.”

In parallel, the Ministry of Culture of Russia plans to revive the International Yalta Film Festival. But program directors of the largest Russian film festivals believe that if it is revived, the Yalta Film Festival will not be international, because of the current status of Crimea. They also believe it is unlikely that it will be able to compete with the major domestic Russian festivals.

New Film Salutes Famed Woman Sniper

Within the framework of a joint Russian-Ukrainian project, filming has begun on The Battle of Sevastopol, about the most famous woman sniper of World War II, Lyudmila Paulichenka, who during the first two years of the war decimated 309 soldiers and officers of the German army, including 36 snipers.

Director Sergey Mokritsky said that “despite the strained relations between Russia and Ukraine at the moment,” production is forging ahead and the film will be released in 2015.

Unlike most war films, this one will not tell much directly about the combat career of Paulichenka, but mostly about her journey to the United States in 1942, during which she met with Eleanor Roosevelt and actively encouraged Americans to open a second front in Europe.

"Gentlemen, I'm 25 years old. At the front, I already destroyed 309 invaders. Don’t you think, gentlemen, that you have been hiding behind my back for too long?” she said in her famous speech in Chicago.

According to the filmmakers, it is also possible that the film will be released in Europe and even in the U.S. The project dates back to 2001, when the Jude Law picture Enemy at the Gates showed Russian filmmakers that there is foreign interest in the topic of celebrated snipers of World War II.

Russia Plans First Disaster Pic
Well-known Russian filmmaker Ruben Dishdishyan, founder of the largest Russian film company, Central Partnership, is preparing to shoot a big-budget action-drama, The Story of One Earthquake, about the tragic events that took place in Armenia in 1988.

"We plan to begin shooting in the spring of 2015 in Armenia, where we received support from the government, the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Emergency Situations and First public television,” Dishdishyan said. “The cast of the film will be a multinational: Casting will take place in France and other European countries, the former Soviet Union, including Georgia and Ukraine. We are currently negotiating with Vladimir Mashkov [Behind Enemy Lines, Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol], which could play a lead role.”

It is expected that the film's budget will be US$5 million. The production will have the support of the foundation started by the French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour, "Aznavour for Armenia.”

Interestingly, this is actually the first disaster movie in the history of Russian cinema. Previously, filmmakers didn’t tackle them due to the lack of technology and lack of money, and the complete absence of any experience in this area.