South Korean and other Asian companies are showing interest in buying the format rights to Russian TV series. They are also interested in Russian comedies, historical films (both feature films and documentaries), and thrillers. This was evidenced by the response to Russian companies showing more than 160 projects at the recent South Korean content market Broadcast Worldwide (BCWW) 2022. The projects ranged from comedies about a matriarchy and the life of modern vampires to a mystical thriller about a women’s boarding school and a documentary on an expedition to the Arctic. Russian cartoons were also popular, content buyers especially appreciated the pursuit comedy genre in the animated series.
Representatives of South Korea, China, India, and Malaysia were most actively interested in Russian projects. The online participation of the Russian film industry in BCWW 2022 under the umbrella brand Russian Content Worldwide (RCW) was organized by ROSKINO.
Inna Shalyto, CEO of ROSKINO: “This is not the first time that the Russian companies have noted the trend to purchase formats and adapt content—partners at the UAE and Vietnam markets were also interested in format rights. The interest in Russian projects suggests that more and more universal stories are appearing in our film industry. These stories can be adapted to the realities of other cultures, and thus have great international potential. At the recent markets in the Middle East, Vietnam, and South Korea, we have seen keen interest from buyers in India, as well as Japan, which is important in the context of our 2022 plan to continue dialogue with buyers at the markets in this region. We are now actively exploring participation in one of the Japanese content markets and the Indian FILM BAZAAR.”
FILMS AND SERIES
A dystopia about a matriarchy, historical dramas, and mystical thrillers
The START online cinema noted interest from foreign buyers in crime-action dramas and in the sci-fi genre. Thus, Malaysia representatives believe that the comedy dystopia The No Man Zone can be successfully sold in this region. The No Man Zone is a fresh satirical take on the dramedy genre (Year 2140. Matriarchy has reigned on the planet for generations and there are few men left). The company also emphasized the growth in requests for format rights: remakes are increasingly being filmed abroad. For example, buyers from India appreciated the START family comedies—the dramedy hit Ms Sweet, as well as the detective dramedy about the family of vampires, The Vampires of Midland. According to START, interest in format rights and adaptations in Asian countries testifies to the strong state of the market.
Sovtelexport, the official content distributor of Russia Television and Radio, noted the interest of representatives of China, Japan, Mongolia, the Philippines, Spain and Indonesia in the new historical drama series Elizaveta. The possibility of selling the rights to the family saga The Stenographer and the documentary The Highest Point to Spain is also being discussed. An Indonesian broadcaster is considering purchasing documentaries from the holding’s catalogue: The Highest Point, Homo Sperans, Kresty and others; as well as feature films: Elsa’s Land, Kandahar, Two Tickets Home, and The Spy. The Japanese VOD platform plans to include historical drama Sofia in its catalog. A distributor from China is interested in the possibility of licensing the films Yamal. Nature Reserve and The Highest Point in China.
IVI online cinema’s representatives talked about the success of their flagship project—the series Welcome Back!. The ironic story about a bandit who has risen from the dead intrigued potential partners and the company is considering proposals from buyers. Also popular among buyers from China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and India are IVI’s new thrillers: a joint project with the production company Sreda—the detective drama Freeze; and the mystical The Boarding School, which is currently being negotiated; as well as an exciting series which is part thriller and part medical drama, #13.
As part of the BCWW 2022 market, Odin-Media received offers from distributors from China for a number of documentaries (including The Great North Way about a trip to the Arctic in the footsteps of the famous Russian traveller Semyon Dezhnev). The company also stressed that the historical docudrama Kremlin: The Era of Tsars aroused great interest from international buyers. Negotiations have also been completed for 91 episodes of the TV show Combat Approved to the Taiwanese channel Cai Chang International Inc.
The Russian World Vision film catalogue attracted a Vietnamese VOD rights aggregator. The thriller Homeward and the horror film Atakan aroused interest from representatives of Japan, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. A Chinese distributor is interested in the sports drama Eleven Silent Men, the melodrama Velga, and the documentary film about dance culture in Russia—Solo.
NTV Broadcasting Company presented a number of projects, including new series—the action-packed detective Wolf Trap 2, the drama Hitman’s Curse about a former policeman who embarked on the path of revenge, and the thriller Double Life. The company held negotiations with the global content distributor O4 Media, which is active in the markets of Asia, Latin America, and Europe; a major Chinese distributor of formats and series BlueMedia Times; and the Korean company AK Entertainment, which has shown interest in NTV war dramas.
Mars Media Entertainment presented the series The Prisoner and The Golden Horde, as well as the family film A Dog Named Palma. The projects attracted the attention of buyers from Malaysia, India, Singapore, China, the UAE, and Indonesia.
Art Pictures Distribution presented the full-length sci-fi thriller Reversible Reality, the original more.tv series Chicks, a family comedy Ivanovs vs Ivanovs and the crime thriller Varyag. The company held negotiations with representatives of China, South Korea, Turkey, India, Hong Kong, Mongolia, and Vietnam. Meetings with Malaysian and Colombian companies are also planned.
Distributors appreciate the pursuit comedy genre
CTB Film Company discussed the release of the cartoon The Barkers: Mind the Cats! in South Korea and the acquisition of the rights to the second film The Barkers—Team and the animated series The Barkers from the same cinematic universe. The purchase by Free TV for rights to the animated series Moonzy and The Barkers for Mongolia, and the acquisition of the rights to the company’s animated films in China are being considered.
SMF Animation noted that local distributors expressed great interest in the company’s projects, especially the genre of pursuit comedy, such as the animated series I’ll Get You! (the odyssey about unlucky Wolf chasing invincible Hare). In the South Korean market, SMF Animation presented The Secrets of Honey Hills, The Adventures of Peter and Wolf, I’ll Get You! Holidays and other projects.
Riki Group presented the animation projects The Fixies, Beardy Bodo, Tina and Tony, Babyriki, and this year’s feature film Finnick. BCWW was another opportunity for the company to meet with partners. In Korea itself, the company’s projects have been available for a long time: for example, The Fixies are aired on the children’s TV channel EBS, last year Babyriki started on the BabyBeaver platform, in August of this year, Tina and Tony premiered on the Daekyo NoriQ channel.