Asian market continues acquiring Russian films and animation

Russian companies summed up the results of the international content market TIFFCOM 2023 that was took place in late October as part of the 36th Tokyo International Film Festival. International distributors are interested in buying the Russian family fairy tale “The Wish of the Fairy Fish”, thriller “Centaur”, the full-length animation film “Detective Chirp and The Golden Beehive”, the Russian-Chinese co-production “Red Silk”, the historical TV series “Chaliapin”, “Ekaterina”, the documentary series “Mysteries of Space”, and many others.


Thirteen Russian companies presented more than 60 projects at the Russian Content Worldwide stand, organized by ROSKINO, the Russian film promotion body. For Russian film, series, and animation producers, the latest TIFFCOM market in Tokyo was very productive. Companies held 300 meetings with representatives from Japan, China, Singapore, Korea, India, Thailand, Malaysia and other countries; the online catalog of Russian projects was viewed by almost 1,200 foreign representatives. The Asian market is open and ready to continue acquiring Russian content. Many distributors also are discussing the purchase of theatrical rights—countries have finally overcome the consequences of pandemic restrictions and are ready to release Russian projects on the big screen. Deals are being discussed with representatives of international VOD platforms and TV channels. Licenses are being sought for producing merchandise for Russian animation brands.

TIFFCOM results for Russian film and animation companies

A number of international companies are considering the purchase of theatrical rights, in particular, to the Russian fairy tale The Wish of the Fairy Fish (CTB Film Company), and a new film in the Three Heroes animation franchise—Three Heroes and the Navel of the World. The CTB film company held meetings with representatives of TV channels and distributors from Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other southeast Asian territories. The greatest interest was generated by the company’s animated content, and the representatives noted their high quality. Negotiations, which began at TIFFCOM, are continuing for the license to produce Moonzy and His Friends merchandise in China. The series achieved high ratings on release on China Central Television (CCTV) and is now available on all major Chinese VOD platforms.

Very popular among foreign distributors were new releases of 2024 from Art Pictures Distribution — the Russian-Chinese co-production Red Silk, an adventure detective story about the congress of the Chinese Communist Party in the Moscow region in 1928: the Russian-Mexican comedy Vasily, and the melodrama Ice 3. There was also interest in 2022–2023 projects, such as the series Ballet, the sci-fi film Reversible Reality and The Adventures Of Chuck & Huck. Art Pictures Distribution negotiated with representatives from Japan, Thailand, and India, agreeing on the price for upcoming deals.

The official distributor of Russia Television and Radio, Sovtelexport, held negotiations with representatives of twelve countries from Asia and Europe—mainly with distributors and representatives of OTT platforms. TV channels from Indonesia and Taiwan also expanded Sovtelexport’s client base. Agreements were reached on licensing a package of seven television series in Japan, including film adaptations of And Quiet Flows the Don, Cloister, and Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes. The Japanese TV channel NIPPON TV—one of the top five TV channels in Japan and a long-term partner of Russian TV and Radio—is interested in acquiring documentaries about space—Space Flight and Apollo-Soyuz. Multi-part projects attracted the interest of representatives from Turkey and Vietnam. Vietnam and Korea are considering purchasing the drama series including The Blood Lady, Sophia, Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes, and feature films including Kandahar, Elsa’s Land, and The Spy. A Chinese distributor is interested in the historical dramas Ekaterina and Elizaveta. Distributors from Singapore, Japan, and Korea highly appreciated the television series Chaliapin.

Representatives from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and India discussed with Russian company Planeta Inform Film Distribution the possibility of theatrical releases and the launch on platforms of the new fantasy drama Anna’s Feelings, the thriller Centaur, the adventure drama Lost in the North, and the dramas Kalashnikov, Wings Above Berlin, The Elephant, and others.

Distributors from Vietnam, India, China, and Japan were interested in the detective series Psychic (Season 2), Professor, Flint, Academia and Tayfun (ODIN MEDIA). Large Korean and Chinese distributors selected the documentary series of ODIN MEDIA—Mysteries of Space 2, Mysteries of History 2, and The Secret History of Food. Agreements have been reached with new partners from Korea and Japan to continue cooperation on a drama based on real events about the life of the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, The Story of an Appointment.

The main Japanese television companies that purchase children’s content—NHK and TV Tokyo had the chance to get acquainted with SMF Animation projects. SMF Animation also held meetings with the largest players in the Asian region: CJ ENM (Korea), ETV (India), PTS (Taiwan), Mediacorp (Singapore), Fantawild and iQiYi (China) and others. The full-length animated film Detective Chirp And The Golden Beehive drew the greatest interest. Of the serial projects, the most attractive were projects in 3D—I’ll get you! Holidays, The Secrets of Honey Hills and Rockoons. TIFFCOM Market visitors were very enthusiastic about the Cheburashka plush toy adorning the SMF Animation stand: in Asian countries they really love this character.

Among the projects from Voronezh animation studio, the fifth part of the Snow Queen franchise, The Snow Queen & The Princess, was popular: the previous parts have proven themselves in the Asian region. Content buyers also noted the great interest and high quality of animation in the new animation project The Steel Family: Brotherhood vs Gold, the full-length format of which will be available for international sales. Buyers noted the dynamic plot that will appeal to a wide audience. Voronezh Studio expects to reach final agreements in the near future.

Platoshka animation studio presented two seasons of the animated series Beadies, Beadies Songs, and Beadies Lullabies. The studio held negotiations with representatives from Japan, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India. TV channels, distributors, VOD services, and even theme parks were interested in the project. Sales are currently being discussed.

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