Russian Sci-Fi Epic Builds Interest

Variety reports that THE INHABITED ISLAND – a $40-million sci-fi film from Russia – is generating interest from companies seeking to pick up the distribution rights. However, producer Alexander Rodnyansky will not commit to selling the rights territory by territory, until he has a chance to interest a Hollywood major in picking up worldwide rights.

“We want to build interest first and see the possibilities of exploring different options to understand the potential of the movie,” Rodnyansky, who is also serving on the Berlinale’s international competition jury, told Variety.
A full two hours and 10 minutes long early cut of the film was due to be shown to Sony Picturesexecutives in Moscow. That version also would be sent back to Los Angeles for viewing by composer Hans Zimmer, who is creating a score for a film that blends Gulag and “Blade Runner” in the story of a 22nd century astronaut who crash lands on a planet run by a sinister totalitarian military order.

A ten-minute promo reel recently screened at the European film market. The film, an adaptation of a cult sci-fi novel, is the most expensive ever produced in Russia. It is due for wide release in its native country in January, with international distribution estimated for six months later.
Although Russia is not known for science-fiction cinema, this is not their first effort in the genre. Director Andre Tarkovsky’s 1972 film of Stanislaw Lem’s novel SOLARIS is considered to be a classic on par with 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. More recently, director Timur Bekmambetov delivered a pair of big-budget films combining elements of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror: DAY WATCH (2004) and NIGHT WATCH (2006), with a third, TWILIGHT WATCH, planned for 2009.

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