IFC Midnight announced today that it is acquiring North American rights to Egor Abramenko’s directorial debut SPUTNIK from XYZ Films. Abramenko’s sci-fi thriller short film The Passenger played in the 2017 Fantastic Film Festival in Austin, and was the inspiration for his feature debut.
The film stars Oksana Akinshina who debuted in Lukas Moodysson’s award-winning film Lilya 4-Ever, alongside Fedor Bondarchuk, Pyotr Fyodorov, and Anton Vasilev. The script was written by Oleg Malovichko and Andrei Zolotarev. Producing is Vodorod Pictures, Art Pictures Studio, Hype Film, Cinema Fund, NMG Studio and CTC Network. Producers are Mikhail Vrubel, Alexander Andryushenko, Fedor Bondarchuk, Ilya Stewart, Murad Osmann, Pavel Burya, Vyacheslav Murugov.
SPUTNIK was set to have its world premiere in the Midnight Section at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. IFC Midnight will release the film August 14th, 2020.
In SPUTNIK, at the height of the Cold War, a Soviet spacecraft crash lands after a mission gone awry, leaving the commander as its only survivor. After a renowned Russian psychologist is brought in to evaluate the commander’s mental state, it becomes clear that something dangerous may have come back to Earth with him.
Arianna Bocco EVP of Acquisitions and Productions of IFC Films said, “Egor has created a stunning film with SPUTNIK in the vein of the classic sci-fi epics that captivate U.S. audiences. We’re thrilled to bring this visually impressive debut to audiences across the country.”
Director Egor Abramenko added, “I’m excited to share my film with American audiences. I was inspired by many American films when making SPUTNIK so it’s a very important country for me to show this film. I am so happy to be partnering with IFC Midnight who represent a great family of international filmmakers.”
Initially, the film was supposed to be released in Russia on April 16 via Sony Pictures, but because of the Covid-19 pandemic the Russian opening is scheduled for a digital release on Russian platforms April 23rd.
The deal for the film was negotiated by Director of Acquisitions at IFC Films Aijah Keith and Pip Ngo from XYZ Films on behalf of the filmmakers. Egor Abramenko is represented by UTA and managed by Peter Van Steemburg at XYZ Films. International sales are handled by Art Pictures Distribution.
Established in 2010 and based in New York City, IFC Films is a leading U.S. distributor of independent film. Its unique distribution model makes independent films available to a national audience by releasing them in theaters as well as on cable’s Video On Demand (VOD) platform, reaching nearly 50 million homes. IFC Midnight is a sister label to IFC Films, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.
Upcoming releases include Małgorzata Szumowska’s The Other Lamb and Natalie Erika James’ Relic. Some of the company’s successes have included Andy Nyman’s critical darling Ghost Stories, André Øvredal’s box-office success The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Peter Strickland’s modern giallo Berberian Sound Studio, Duncan Skiles’ The Clovehitch Killer, Lucile Hadžihalilović’s Evolution, Johnnie To’s Hong Kong revenge thriller Vengeance, Sean Byrne’s The Devil’s Candy, John McNaughton’s The Harvest, and the award-winning and cultural phenomenon The Babadook.