Neon Buys Russian Oscar Entry ‘Dear Comrades!’ for U.S.

Neon has acquired U.S. rights to Andrei Konchalovsky’s “Dear Comrades!” on the heels of the film being announced as Russia’s official submission for the upcoming Academy Awards.

The film is set in 1962 as the Communist government raises food prices, triggering a strike by rebellious workers from the small industrial town of Novocherkassk. The massacre which then ensues is seen through the eyes of a devout party activist.

“Dear Comrades!” premiered at this year’s Venice Film Festival where it won the special jury prize. Written by Konchalovsky and Elena Kiseleva, the film was produced by Alisher Usmanov. It stars Julia Vysotskaya, Vladislav Komarov, Andrei Gusev, Yulia Burova, and Sergei Erlish.

Critic Jessica Kiang wrote in her review for Variety: “Meticulous and majestic, epic in scope and tattoo-needle intimate in effect, this scrupulous recreation of the lead-up to and aftermath of the Novocherkassk massacre six decades ago is excoriating proof that not all filmmakers are made sloppy or slipshod by anger. Some are made ever more righteously, icily precise.”

Ayo Kepher-Maat negotiated the deal for Neon with Jean-Christophe Simon and Julien Razafindranaly from Films Boutique.

Neon gained renown for handling the North American release of Bong Joon Ho’s Korean-language thriller “Parasite,” which grossed $45 million domestically and won best picture at the Academy Awards. The distributor came aboard “Parasite” in 2018 at the script stage.

Neon’s recent acquisitions include Venice’s grand jury prize winner Michel Franco’s “New Order,” as well as “Night of Kings,” Philippe Lacôte’s Ivory Coast Oscar submission. The company is also producing Pablo Larrain’s “Spencer,” Ben Wheatley’s horror film “In The Earth” and a remake of “The Painter and the Thief.”

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