Egor Abramenko’s feature directorial debut, Sputnik, will get its day in North America on August 14 in select theaters, on digital and cable VOD. IFC Midnight is handling its U.S. distribution with its acquisition from North American sales agents at XYZ Films.
The move comes following what would have been its April 16 Russia release ahead of its Midnight section premiere at the 19th Tribeca Film Festival, which is reportedly looking into other avenues for this year’s festivities as the U.S. battles the Covid-19 pandemic. Festival programmer Matt Barone describes the film as follows:
Due to her controversial methods, young doctor Tatiana Yurievna (Oksana Akinshina) is on the precipice of losing her medical license. Her career may not be over, though. After she’s recruited by the military, Tatiana is brought to a secure science research facility to assess a very special case, that of Konstantin Sergeyevich (Pyotr Fyodorov), a cosmonaut who survived a mysterious space accident and has returned to Earth with a unique condition: there’s something living inside of him that only shows itself late at night. The military has nefarious plans for it. Tatiana wants to stop it from killing Konstantin. And the creature itself thrives on destruction.
Due to the ever-large shadow of influence and importance cast by Ridley Scott’s Alien, extraterrestrial malevolence in genre cinema more often than not feels as if it’s been beamed down directly from the Nostromo. Sputnik bucks that tradition of pastiche and delivers something fresh to the interplanetary monster-movie canon. And with its massive scale and brutal carnage, this sci-fi gem signals the arrival of a major new voice: first-time Russian director Egor Abramenko.
Art Pictures Distribution is selling the pic internationally while Russia plots a digital platform release now set for April 23. Screendaily‘s Jeremy Kay broke the news on the film’s movement exclusively with statements from IFC Midnight, and Abramenko:
Arianna Bocco, IFC Films executive vice-president of acquisitions and productions, said: “Egor has created a stunning film with Sputnik in the vein of the classic sci-fi epics that captivate US audiences. We’re thrilled to bring this visually impressive debut to audiences across the country.”
Abramenko added, “I’m excited to share my film with American audiences. I was inspired by many American films when making Sputnik so it’s a very important country for me to show this film. I am so happy to be partnering with IFC Midnight who represent a great family of international filmmakers.”
Sputnik stars Oksana Akinshina, Pyotr Fyodorov and Anton Vasilev from a script by Oleg Malovichko and Andrei Zolotarev.