By Sydney Levine, Peter Belsito | SydneysBuzz February 29, 2012 at 11:43PM
Russia’s Roskino / SEF – formerly known as Sovexportfilm – will set up business, and open a full time office, in the USA. Recently, while attending the Berlinale European Film Market, the company announced, via Roskino / SEF CEO Catherine Mtsitouridze and US based Commissioner (and longtime film biz Senior Executive) Eleonora Granata, that the new Russian Film Commission will be looking to build relationships with US distributors for Russian films and to promote Russia as a filming location and a strong partner for US international co- productions. Prominent LA based Russian journalist (and Board Member of ‘The Golden Globes’ Award Ceremony for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association) Sergei Rakhlin will be Director of the Russian Film Commission Office.
I recently spoke with Catherine Mtsitouridze in Berlin. ‘We are creating a clean new organization to fit the new generation of young crossover filmmakers. Our LA based model is really like COLCOA’.
(Fyi – COLCOA is the French government LA based organization run very successfully by executive Francois Truffard. It aggressively sponsors screenings of important new French films in LA for the benefit of the film trade here for possible deals, distribution and especially for the close attention of Academy members.)
The new office will initiate screening programs, panel discussions, cultural exchanges, eventually a Russian Film Week, to present artistic and commercial achievements of Russian cinema.
Catherine Mtsitouridze goes on. ‘We are partly government financed to help in the export of Russian films worldwide. We also expect private money to help our films and filmmakers get out into the world. We’ll do this in LA by having weekly screenings, getting Russian films into film festivals in the US and elsewhere, get co production and co financing deals there and abroad for Russian productions.
She will also be the Editor of the newly announced Russian edition of Variety to begin this March.
She hails from Tblisi in Georgia and became interested early on in Russian films and US films of the ‘70’s. She studied art history and became a film critic. In 1994 she married and moved to Moscow. There she worked for the Head of Moscow Film Fest as Assistant and also worked for TV on Channel 1 as an editor cinema. She travels frequently to film festivals and in 2008 served on the Cannes Film Fest Jury for Certain Regard section. She has also worked professionally with Fox studios’ Jim Gianopoulos.
Catherine Mtsitouridze adds this about her new position. ‘In its efforts to assist Russian filmmakers with their commercial film releases abroad, and support their integration into the international film community, Roskino / SEF will also promote Russian cinema at key international festivals, markets and on the awards circuit’.
Originally set up as Sovkino in 1924, Sovexportfilm was recently modernized and rebranded to become LA based Roskino / SEF this year.
LA based Roskino / SEF Commissioner Eleonora Granata is, in our opinion, a particularly good choice. She hails from a prominent Milan Italy family and has lived in LA many years. She has worked for Turner and other big Hollywood companies as a senior acquisitions executive and also as production executive for a number of distinguished companies locally and internationally