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|Headquarters||St. Petersburg, Russia|
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.
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
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.
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.
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
- 1934: Чапаев / Chapaev (cult film), directed by Brothers Vasilyev.
- 1947: Золушка / Zolushka (film adaptation of Cinderella)
- 1949: Александр Попов / Alexander Popov (biographical film)
- 1954: The Boys from Leningrad (Запасной игрок), starring Georgi Vitsin, Vs. Kuznetsov, and Pavel Kadochnikov.
- 1956: Старик Хоттабыч / Old Khottabych (aka. The Flying Carpet) directed by Gennadi Kazansky, starring Nikolai Volkov and Alesha Litvinov.
- 1960: Дама с собачкой / The Lady with the Dog directed by Iosif Kheifets, starring Iya Savvina and Aleksei Batalov.
- 1960: Пиковая дама / The Queen of Spades (film adaptation)
- 1962: Человек-амфибия / The Amphibian Man (film adaptation) directed by Gennadi Kazansky, starring Anastasiya Vertinskaya and Mikhail Kozakov.
- 1963: Каин XVIII / Kain XVIII, directed by Erast Garin (film adaptation)
- 1964: Гамлет / Hamlet, directed by Grigori Kozintsev (drama), the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1962 nominated and Special Jury Prize winner.
- 1968: Dead Season (Мёртвый сезон) (spy film), directed by Savva Kulish, and starring Donatas Banionis and Rolan Bykov.
- 1970: Franz Liszt. Dreams of love (Ференц Лист) (drama), directed by Márton Keleti, and starring Imre Sinkovits and Ariadna Shengelaya.
- 1971: Dauria (Даурия), directed by Viktor Tregubovich (film adaptation) starring Vitaly Solomin and Yefim Kopelyan
- 1976: Синяя птица / The Blue Bird, directed by George Cukor (film adaptation) starring Elizabeth Taylor.
- 1976: Twenty Days Without War, directed by Aleksei German.
- 1978: Одинокий голос человека / The Lonely Voice of Man, directed by Alexander Sokurov (drama)
- 1980: Разжалованный / The Degraded, directed by Alexander Sokurov (short film)
- 1981: Приключения Шерлока Холмса и доктора Ватсона. Собака Баскервилей / The Hound of the Baskervilles, directed by Igor Maslennikov (film adaptation)
- 1982: Пиковая дама / The Queen of Spades, directed by Igor Maslennikov (film adaptation)
- 1982: Golos (Голос), directed by Ilya Averbakh, (drama) starring Natalya Sayko and Leonid Filatov.
- 1983: Скорбное бесчувствие / Painful Indifference, directed by Alexander Sokurov (war film)
- 1986: Ампир / Empire, directed by Alexander Sokurov (short film)
- 1987: Письма мёртвого человека / Dead Man's Letters (sci-fi)
- 1989: Vagrant Bus (The Stray bus), directed by Joseph Kheifits, drama starring Lev Borisov, Mikhail Zhigalov, Athanasius Trishkin, and Sergey Parshin, with Hope Eremina and Leah Akhedzhakova.
- 1990: Taxi Blues co-production.
- 1991: Афганский излом / Afghan Breakdown (war film)
- 1991: My best friend, General Vasili, son of Joseph Stalin (Мой лучший друг, генерал Василий, сын Иосифа), directed by Viktor Sadovsky, drama starring Boris Schcherbakov and Vladimir Steklov.
- 1995: Особенности национальной охоты / Peculiarities of the National Hunt (comedy), directed by Aleksandr Rogozhkin.
- 1996: Anna Karenina (Анна Каренина), directed by Bernard Rose, drama starring Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean, with Alfred Molina and Mia Kirshner.
- 2008: Paper Soldier
- 2010: The Amazing Race 17 had a task in which the teams must search through a thousand filmstrips for a filmstrip from October.
- 2011: The White Guard: Белая гвардия, First adaption of The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov with Konstantin Khabensky and Mikhail Porechenkov. Directed by Sergey Snezhkin
- 2012: Sherlock Holmes: Шерлок Холмс. Russian TV Series that Directed by Andrey Kavun
- 2012: Idolatress: (Поклонница)
- 2013: Hard to be a God
- 2014: Catherine the Great (In Production; Directed by Igor Zaitsev)
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.