Making Russian Culture Cool

By  Luftmensch Films, Special for  USDR

A group of American filmmakers recently launched a crowd-funding campaign via Kickstarter to make KARAGANDA, a feature film about a Soviet prison camp and the Vory v Zakonye. The script is based on a Russian-language short film, also named KARAGANDA, produced at the American Film Institute in Hollywood. Entirely in Russian with Russian themes, the 26-minute film was invited to screen in 13 countries at 26 different festivals, earning 5 awards. The production team for KARAGANDA hopes that the recent election of Donald Trump will allow a greater cultural cooperation between Russia and the United States, which will help the  film.

KARAGANDA tells the story of Vladimir, a prisoner on a mission to find his wife who is also imprisoned in the Karaganda region. In order to rescue her, he must join the Vory V Zakonye, a criminal gang going back to the time of the czars. The Vors locate his wife, but at a cost that will haunt Vladimir as he transforms into a powerful crime boss in Brighton Beach,  Brooklyn.

KARAGANDA will feature American and Russian stars in the main roles, with production in both the U.S. and Russia. The film’s budget is $2.5 million and the production team is currently raising money to attach Hollywood stars to complete financing. In addition to director Max Weissberg, a graduate of the American Film Institute, two other experienced producers are involved in the project, Edwin Mejia (GENERATION IRON, THE HURT BUSINESS) and Nina  Gortinski.

“Unlike the short, the feature will be in color and half the action will take place in New York,” explained  Edwin.

The director Max Weissberg’s connection to Russia began as a student at Herzen University in St. Petersburg. While studying Russian, he also worked at Lenfilm Studios, the oldest studio in  Russia.

Max Weissberg wants KARAGANDA to change attitudes towards Russians in  America:

“I want to make Russian culture cool. If you think about how the GODFATHER made people interested in Italians and Italian culture, KARAGANDA will do the same for Russian culture,” Max  explained.

Link to Kickstarter video:

Luftmensch Films is an advertising and film company with locations in New York and Los Angeles.

SOURCE Luftmensch  Films

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