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«Big Cinema» Showcase

On May 13th, 2018, the Russian Pavilion at the 71st Cannes Film Festival hosted a showcase of the “Big Cinema” Film Company, where director Sarik Andreasyan, actor Dmitriy Nagiev, and producers Gevond Andreasyan and Armen Ananikyan presented their «Unforgiven», based on the true story of architect Vitaly Kaloyev, who had lost his entire family in a horrific plane crash. The film explores the aftermath of that tragedy.

Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO:
«From mid film «Unforgiven» I could not hold back tears. I was crying out of sheer despair suggested by the story, it was a pure emotion rather than a product of dramatization and whipping up sensations. Unforgiven is in fact a story of forgiving rather than a story of revenge, and it makes you realize how hard it is to achieve this state of mind. Kudos to Dmitry Nagiev for a subtle, unfussy and unexaggerated interpretation of his role that made it especially deep and relatable. This year we had over 150 applications for the Russian Pavilion but we had no doubts about this particular entry after having seen the film. The project has plenty of international potential. With a proper promotion campaign and good sales it can be appreciated by the widest possible international audience».

The subject matter is well-known both in Russia and abroad. «Kaloyev’s case» once caused quite a stir around the globe, so there was no need to clue in the international audience. Media professionals from all over the world seemed captivated by the premise and asked the cast and crew a lot of questions.

Sarik Andreasyan, director:
«When a wife loses her husband she becomes a widow. When a husband loses his wife he becomes a widower. When children lose their parents they become orphans. However, there’s no word for parents who lose their children! I’m a father, too, so this subject hit close to home…
It was important for me to make a movie that is both emotionally resonant and ethically balanced, respectful toward the victims and their families. Granted, our movie is a work of fiction, but we didn’t let ourselves make it «too» fictional. We had carefully perused all the relevant materials to produce as truthful an account as possible. My colleagues and I are well aware of the responsibility we took upon ourselves.
As a director, I tried to stay unbiased throughout, without making our character too artificially sympathetic or loathsome. I wanted the audiences to embrace a dilemma that’s not immediately relatable but still worth pondering over: after all, no one is insured against grief and loss, and every one of us deals with it in their own way. Some will sympathize with Kaloyev and take his side, others don’t condone violence as an instrument of universal justice… Profound films usually pose questions and leave the audiences to contemplate them afterward. I’ve made a profound film about one man’s fate and his love for his family, and I hope that the questions I bring up will help the viewers immerse themselves in the story and seek their own answers».

Based on actual events, the screenplay had been kept on the back burner for five years until the right actor came along. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Lake Boden crash, which took the lives of Russian architect Vitaly Kaloyev’s entire family (his wife, daughter, and son). In 2004, a year and a half after the tragedy, Kaloyev murdered the air traffic controller Peter Nielsen, whom he blamed for his loved ones’ deaths.

After a five-year search, the role of Vitaly Kaloyev finally went to Dmitriy Nagiev––an idea that dawned on Sarik Andreasyan, the film’s director and screenwriter, by accident when he came across Nagiev’s photo in a magazine and «recognized» him as Kaloyev. Andreasyan then shared this idea with his brother and co-producer Gevond, and they decided to send the script over to the actor without further ado. Even though it happened late at night, Nagiev responded in a couple of hours, admitted he couldn’t fight back the tears as he read their screenplay, and signed on for the project on the spot.

Dmitriy Nagiev, actor:
«I read a lot of screenplays, but «Unforgiven» had me hooked right away. It must be the only recent screenplay that makes the reader weep, just like good literature does. I don’t care much if I look like Kaloyev: after all, we’ve made a work of fiction. The hardest part for me was picking up the body parts of children at the crash site, so realistic were the set and makeup. I believe our movie shows that even in the most infernal situations, there’s always a glimmer of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel worth following. Besides, I think Russian cinema now has a new, accomplished talent in its midst, one that for some reason used to hide behind shoddy movies of dubious merit».

A gift of sorts, this part is the actor’s first serious dramatic job in 20 years since the 1997 film “Purgatory.” All the naysayers who dismissed Nagiev as a comedian incapable of playing tragic roles were proven wrong when the film opened the Russian Program at the 40th Moscow IFF, assuring the early audiences that Nagiev does have acting chops to spare as his lived-in, powerhouse performance revealed a side of him no one had seen before.

Although he had never met Kaloyev in preparation for the shoot, the actor had scrutinized all extant footage to be able to channel the man inwardly and outwardly––and quite successfully, too. More importantly, though, Nagiev managed to communicate on the screen the unbearable agony that beset his character, a pain beyond all reckoning. Unaccustomed to praise for his non-comedic achievements, the actor seemed slightly ill at ease receiving compliments for a convincing performance that resonated with all the guests at the presentation.

Gevond Andreasyan, «Big Cinema», producer:
«We make comedies and sci-fi blockbusters, constantly experimenting with genres, but I believe that our company should produce, at least once every three years, a film that truly makes a mark. Things come and go, you know, but some movies live forever. As one of the film’s producers quipped, «such projects are good for your karma.” We shouldn’t forget that we all have to leave something for posterity when we’re gone. As for the financial side of things, the film is budgeted at 90 million rubles and was in part funded by the Ministry of Culture. Initially, we hoped to break even at best, but now we can see the interest our movie has generated internationally. However, it bears repeating that money was not what we were after when we greenlit it».

«Karoprokat» will release «Unforgiven» domestically on Sep 27th, 2018.

Additional Info:
Natalia Adamova
ROSKINO Press Relations

+7 926 222 68 80

ROSKINO is the only Russian state institution promoting Russian cinema internationally. Since its foundation in 1924 ROSKINO facilitates the integration of the Russian filmmakers into the world industry. In 2014 the company celebrated its 90th anniversary.

The company promotes Russian cinema at major film festivals (Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Toronto, Beijing, London), markets (AFM in Los Angeles, EFM in Berlin, Marché du FIlm and MIPCOM in Cannes), and awards (The Oscars, Golden Globes, EFA Awards). It supports distribution of Russian cinema and solicits international investments and co-production partnerships.

One of the most prominent initiatives of ROSKINO is the DOORS international traveling film market that allows the company to present national cinema at various markets around the world.

Since 2012 ROSKINO operates the Russian Film Commission USA based in Los Angeles.

In 2014 ROSKINO launched a London office, ROSKINO UK.

In October, 2014 ROSKINO organized the Saint Petersburg International Media Forum, a high profile event uniting three types of content markets dealing with film, TV, and new media that generated a considerable attention in the national and international media industry.

In May, 2016 Roskino partnered with the world’s biggest film market Marché Du Film at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, making Russia one of the headliners of the event.

In 2017 Roskino initiated the Moscow Film Commission (MFC), a Moscow City government organization set up and endorsed by Roskino with the aim promoting the Russian capital as a unique filming location and supporting international film and TV crews in setting up their production in Moscow.


Katya Mtsitouridze is head of ROSKINO, Channel One film expert, Variety Russia Editor-in-Chief, SPIMF concept developer and general producer.

Katya graduated from the Tbilisi State University with an MA in history and film studies.

She is the author and narrator of This Is Cinema, a regular show on Russia’s Channel One.

She is ROSKINO CEO since 2011.

Katya’s portfolio includes diplomas of the film festivals in Cannes and Venice as well as the AFM market in LA.

In June, 2001, she was a member of the FIPRESCI jury at the 23rd Moscow International Film Festival.

In May, 2002, she was a member of the FIPRESCI jury at the 55th Cannes International Film Festival.

In June, 2003, Katya was on the jury for debut films at the 25th Moscow International Film Festival.

In May, 2008, she was a member of the jury of the Un Certain Regard section of the 61th Cannes International Film Festival.

Still in 2008, she initiated the establishment of the Russian Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival and became its director.

From September, 2010 to January, 2011 Catherine provided PR support in US and Canada for The Edge (Krai), a film by Alexey Uchitel, which was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the HFPA Golden Globe awards.

In September, 2011 she was in charge of the international PR and advertising campaign of Alexander Sokurov’s Faust that won the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival.

In June, 2012 she held the first DOORS International Traveling Film Market of Russian Content at MIFF with the participation of 45 US sales and distribution companies from US.

In November, 2012, Katya reached an agreement with HULU, one of the leading US digital platforms, for the VOD release of 12 contemporary Russian titles.

In May, 2014 she reached a further agreement for the distribution of CTC Media TV Content through HULU platforms.

In October, 2014 Katya held the first edition of the Saint Petersburg International Media Forum of which she was the concept developer and general producer.

In 2016 Katya was named Breakthrough of the Year at the First National Business Communication Awards ceremony. Under her guidance ROSKINO delivered outstanding results, including a successful partnership with the world’s biggest film market Marché du Film at the 69th Cannes International Film Festival where Russia became one of the headliners.

In 2017 she initiated the establishment of the Moscow Film Commission, a Moscow City government organization set up and endorsed by Roskino with the aim promoting the Russian capital as a unique filming location and supporting international film and TV crews in setting up their production in Moscow.

Katya is a member of FIPRESCI, the Russian Filmmakers’ Union, the Russian and International Unions of Journalists, the National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Russia. She also holds an MA in History.

ROSKINO Strategic Partners

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