Covert Media Launches Lexica Films For Foreign-Language Pics; First Project Is ‘Earthquake’

Anita Busch

Independent production, financing and distribution company Covert Media has formed international sales label Lexica Films and plans to launch five to 10 films per year through it. Covert’s President of International, Liz Kim Schwan, will lead the new division. The first title will be the Russian-language disaster film Earthquake, which stars Cannes Best Actor winner Konstantin Lavronenko (The Banishment, Name Me) and is directed by Sarik Andreasyan (American Heist). The film will be presented to buyers in Toronto.

In many cases, the company also plans to handle English remake rights for the projects. For Earthquake, Covert sees the film as a potential candidate as the Armenian entry for this year’s Foreign Language Oscar.

Covert is handling North American rights and international sales outside of Russia for Earthquake, written by Aleksey Gravitskiy and Sergey Yudakov (with participation from Grant Barsegyan and Arsen Danielyan). The film is a fictional account of the devastating 1988 Spitak earthquake that destroyed more than 300 towns across Armenia, displacing more than half a million people. Set in Leninakan, Armenia, the film follows the interwoven stories of a 50-year-old Russian and a 28-year-old Armenian who work together to rescue desperate survivors despite their complicated past.

The cast includes Sabina Akhmedova (The Ninth Cloud, High Security Vacation) and newcomer Viktor Stepanyan. Sarik Andreasyan, Gevond Andreasyan, Ruben Dishdishyan and Aram Movsesyan serve as producers.

Earthquake is set for a wide theatrical release under its original title Zemletryasenie in 1,000 theaters across Russia on December 1 by Caro Premier Film Company, a licensee of Warner Bros. International Pictures.

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