Lenfilm

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Kinostudiya LenFilm
Type Corporation
Industry Film industry
Founded 1918 (as a Petrograd Cinema Committee)
Headquarters Coat of Arms of Saint Petersburg (2003).png St. Petersburg, Russia
Products Motion pictures
Television programs
Website http://www.lenfilm.ru/

Kinostudiya "Lenfilm" (Russian: Киностудия Ленфильм) is a production unit of the Russian film industry, with its own film studio, located in Saint Petersburg, Russia, formerly Leningrad, R.S.F.S.R. Today OAO "Kinostudiya Lenfilm" is a corporation with its stakes shared between private owners, and several private film studios, which are operating on the premises. Since October 2012, the Chairman of the board of directors is Fyodor Bondarchuk.

History[edit]

Before Lenfilm[edit]

St. Petersburg was home to several Russian and French film studios since the early 1900s. In 1908 the St. Petersburg businessman Vladislav Karpinsky opened his film factory "Ominum Film" which produced documentaries and feature films for local theatres. During the 1910s, one of the most active private film studios was "Neptun" in St. Petersburg, where such figures as Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lily Brik made their first silent films, released in 1917 and 1918.

The territory of Lenfilm was originally in the private ownership of the Aquarium garden, which belonged to the merchant Georgy Alexandrov, who operated a restaurant, a public garden and a theatre on the same site. The composer Peter Tchaikovsky came to what was then the Aquarium theatre (and is now Stage # 4 of Lenfilm) as a guest to the 1893 performance of the overture to his The Nutcracker ballet. Famous Russian bass singer Feodor Chaliapin performed here in the 1910s and the early 1920s. Stars of the Soviet era also gave performances here, such as Isaak Dunaevsky, and Leonid Utyosov with his jazz-band during the 1920s and 1930s.

Petrograd and Leningrad Film Industry[edit]

The facilities and land of the Leningrad film studio were nationalized in 1918 and it was established as a Soviet State-funded film industry. Within just a few years it bore several different names, such as "Petrograd Cinema Committee" and "SevZapKino" among various others. In 1923 the nationalized Aquarium garden was merged with "SevZapKino" and several smaller studios to form the Soviet State-controlled film industry in St. Petersburg. During 1924 - 1926 it was temporarily named Leningrad Film Factory Goskino and eventually changed its name several times during the 1920s and 1930s.

At that time many notable filmmakers, writers, and actors were active at the studio, such as Yevgeni Zamyatin, Grigori Kozintsev, Iosif Kheifets, Sergei Eisenstein, Sergei Yutkevich, Dmitri Shostakovich, Nikolai Akimov, Yuri Tynyanov, Veniamin Kaverin, Viktor Shklovsky, and the writers of Serapion Brothers, as well as many other figures of Russian and Soviet culture.

Lenfilm[edit]

The black-and-white version of the Lenfilm logo as it appears in Twenty Days Without War (1976)

Since 1934 the studio has been named Lenfilm.

During the Soviet era Lenfilm was the second largest (after Mosfilm) production branch of the Soviet film industry, which incorporated more than 30 film-studios located across the former Soviet Union.

During the World War II and the Siege of Leningrad very few cinematographers remained active in the besieged Leningrad and made film documentaries about the heroic fight against the Nazis. At the same time, most personnel and production units of the Lenfilm studio were evacuated to cities in Central Asia, such as Alma-Ata (1942) and Samarkand. There "Lenfilm" temporarily merged with other Soviet film studios into the Central United Film Studio (TsOKS). Lenfilm returned to Leningrad in 1944.

Today in the Aquarium Theater there is a stage where many famous Lenfilm pictures had been shot and many film stars played their roles. George Cukor in 1975 made a film here called The Blue Bird. Elizabeth Taylor was here; she played Queen of light in that film. Jane Fonda, Ava Gardner – they worked here, at Stage # 4, the prior Aquarium Theatre. Orlando was partly filmed here with Tilda Swinton. Afghan Breakdown was shot here by Vladimir Bortko, with Michele Placido, who plays a Russian Colonel. In the beginning of the 1990s there were about a dozen famous American scriptwriters, the winners of Oscars, here.

By the end of the Soviet Union era, Lenfilm had produced about 1,500 films. Many film classics were produced at Lenfilm throughout its history and some of these were granted international awards at various film festivals.

Today[edit]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lenfilm became a quasi-private film production company of Russia, retaining its name in spite of renaming of the city of Leningrad to St. Petersburg.

Lenfilm is a place that is tightly connected with the world celebrities, such as those mentioned and Jane Fonda, Maximilian Schell, Marina Vlady, Julia Ormond, Michael Caine, William Hurt, Sophie Marceau, Sean Bean, Sandrine Bonnaire, Gérard Philipe, and with many great Russians, such as: Vladimir Mayakovsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, Alexander Ney, Kirill Lavrov, Daniil Granin, Pavel Kadochnikov, Aleksandr Demyanenko, Sergey Kuryokhin, and many others.

In 2004 "Kinostudiya Lenfilm" was re-organized into a privately owned company.

In 2007 "Kinostudiya Lenfilm" together with Apple IMC opened the "Apple" post-production training centre for filmmakers, where Apple computers are used for editing and special effects, as well as for training and certification of film editors in Final Cut Pro 5.1 and other Apple programs.

Timeline and selected filmography[edit]

See Category:Lenfilm films

Several international productions were made in collaboration with "Lenfilm" such as: Anna Karenina (Анна Каренина) was produced by Warner Bros. and Icon Intl., albeit many Lenfilm's actors, crew, and production facilities were involved in a similar way as the production of Синяя птица / The Blue Bird, and Franz Liszt. Dreams of love (Ференц Лист), a Hungarian Mafilm production made in collaboration with Lenfilm.

External links[edit]