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Epic battle right choice for Russia’s first Imax movie

A blockbuster war drama revolving on one of the bloodiest battles in history – Stalingrad - will become the first Russian-language film to be released in Imax format.

­ A key turning point in World War Two, the battle took the lives of up to 2 million people.

The state-of-the-art technology will give viewers an opportunity to plunge into the thick of the action.  

“It’s a milestone both for Imax and Russian cinema,” Greg Foster, Chairman and President of Imax Filmed Entertainment told a media conference in Moscow.  

Russia’s Fyodor Bondarchuk, son of the Oscar-winning creator of War and Peace, will sit in the director’s chair for Stalingrad.

His reputation precedes him: the creator of The 9th Company and The Inhabited Island is known for his passion for special effects and large-scale blockbuster projects.

So far, the Imax boss is one of the ‘chosen few’ who have seen images from Stalingrad, due to be released next year.

“I saw 15 minutes of the film and I feel very comfortable that we made an excellent choice. It looked really spectacular!” Foster said.

“It’s a very visual movie, Foster told RT. It really does meet the criteria of what an Imax movie is all about. It takes you somewhere you dream about going to, but probably will never get to. It has a visionary filmmaker behind it. It will have a huge popularity base, people will know about it,” he added.

“Stalingrad is supposed to become a unique emotional experience, the film’s producer Aleksandr Rodnyansky told RT. It’s an emotional journey. It’s big in terms of scale and scope.”

Together with US Media Talent Group, Rodnyansky recently set up a $120-million investment fund to produce movies for the American market. Billy Bob Thornton’s drama Jane Mansfield’s Car, coproduced by Rodnyansky, will have its world premiere later this month at the Berlinale film festival.

“Russia is the fifth largest market for Hollywood movies, and that’s why Hollywood studios pay a lot of attention to it. We have a lot of major producers coming here to explore the opportunities. We expect the Russian market to be even bigger than it is today. Right now it’s worth $1,100 billion, which makes it the largest market just behind Japan, UK, Germany and France. With the growing number of screens, we are able to achieve $2 billion, Rodnyansky told RT. This would make the Russian film industry one of the most important in the world.”

­Valeria Paikova, RT