Ilshat Aminov launching 'Tatar Netflix'

According to the creators, the project of the new streaming service will be in demand among the Tatar-speaking audience

As Realnoe Vremya found out, the Tatarstan-XXI Century film company will be headed by the director of the directorate of morning broadcasting of TNV, Leonard Davletshin, and the chief director of the TV channel, Almaz Akberov, known for creating a Tatar sitcom, will be responsible for creating content. Right now, the new team is engaged in creating a Tatar TV series, which, according to TNV, can turn out no worse than Turkish and Kazakh analogues and which the new film company will present in its own online cinema.

TNV audience will be increased fourfold

Ilshat Aminov, the director general of the Novy Vek television and radio broadcasting company, deputy of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan and chairman of the Union of Journalists of Tatarstan, announced his intention to create the film company 'Tatarstan-XXI Century'. Speaking at the board meeting of Tatmedia, he said that the project received the support of the Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan Asgat Safarov.

'The era of television is coming, it is just beginning, today everyone is engaged in the visualisation of content — from bloggers to children's magazines,' said Ilshat Aminov, presenting the new project.

According to him, the audience of TNV is already 7 million subscribers in 418 localities of Russia, the potential audience is 27 million people. The growth of subscribers of the TV channel and Instagram was 25% over the past year. Simultaneously with the creation of its own film company, TNV is going to launch an online cinema, where it will broadcast the film company's product.

Worldwide streaming boom

The decision of TNV looks timely, given the boom of online services for the distribution of movies and TV series both in the world and in Russia. Almost every leading studio in Hollywood has got its own streaming service. Disney (it owns the 20th Century Studios film company, the Pixar cartoon producer, the Marvel comics producer, and Lucasfilm studio) has Disney+ for the mass audience and the Hulu indie service.

The Warners staged a big scandal in the industry at the end of last year, promoting the HBO Max service, and decided to 'throw' many film premieres of 2021 immediately on it, leaving the “cinema window” very narrow. What outraged both film distributors and film authors, for example, Christopher Nolan.

This is not to mention the triumphant Netflix, which got into big debts, gaining an audience through the mass production of films and TV series.

In Russia, TV series are produced by the streaming services such as Kinopoisk HD, Premier, OKKO and, and the series are not only locally popular among Russian-speaking viewers — for example, last year Netflix bought the series of the Premier service (originally posted the content of the TNT TV channel) Epidemic, which was praised by Stephen King. Epidemic eventually became very popular in the world due to its greater audience coverage. But just the Premier service has problems with the growth of the audience, according to industry representatives, so as the marketing company of last year in the end 'did not take off'.

Almaz Akberov: 'We've started with the creation of the Tatar TV series so far'

Hence, two key tasks that need to be addressed while the pandemic is working against film distribution and playing into the hands of streaming online services: we need a powerful marketing campaign and content. As Realnoe Vremya online newspaper found out from the chief director of TNV, who will also become the chief director of the film company 'Tatarstan-XXI century', Almaz Akberov, it is on the production of original content that all the efforts of the team will be directed in the near future. The film company itself will be headed by the current director of the TNV Morning Broadcasting Directorate and the Piramida Studio, Leonard Davletshin.

'We do not even have a clear idea of the amount of work that we will have to master so far. But at the moment we are preparing a TV series. First of all, of course, a Tatar TV series,' said Akberov.

The chief director of TNV noted that it is too early to talk about the launch date of the online cinema for which they want to gain the audience: now the whole team of the launching film company, in his words, 'is being literally in the very beginning of' work on the project because it is very difficult to build forecasts.

Film director Rinat Yuzaev, in a conversation with Realnoe Vremya, expressed confidence that TNV 'has all the resources' to create a film company.

The Tatar film company can produce TV series no worse than the Turks

'We have directors, the necessary tools, good movie cameras for this. We have everything! And even some of the experience. We've got some pretty good TV series coming out lately: Unsent Letters, for example, directed by Rustam Rashitov (the film adaptation of the novel by Adel Kutuy in 2016), Almaz Akberov has recently made a TV series (the Tatar sitcom 'Rehat Yashibez'). As far as I know, Almaz Akberov will be responsible for the production of the content of the new film company 'Tatarstan-XXI Century' and this, in my opinion, is great,' Yuzaev said.

The interlocutor of the publication believes that this 'should have been done a long time ago'. He drew attention to that 'on our TV channels' there are Kazakh and Turkish TV series, worthy. And the Tatarstan companycan produce series not worse, Yuzaev believes. He also noted that the new Tatar content of the film company 'Tatarstan-XXI century' will be posted on the online platform, bypassing the physical film distribution.

'Our Tatar-language content is popular not only in Tatarstan'

'Because the ethnic cinema today, unfortunately, is not yet able to interest a huge number of moviegoers. And viewers, who live not necessarily in Tatarstan, but in any other region of Russia or the world, could easily open an online cinema and watch a Tatar TV series. To do this, you don't even have to be a Tatar — we, not being Turks, watch Turkish TV shows not without pleasure,' he explained.

Film distributors also welcomed TNV's initiative to create both the film company and the online cinema. As told by Alexander Ishimov, the former director of the Kazan cinema 'Mir', now the director of the municipal cinema hall in the Lenin House of Culture in Kazan, today online cinemas around the world create their own content, their own series and films, in addition to buying the rights and licenses to show films. This can be seen on the example of Netflix and Kinopoisk,

'I would also like to note that our Tatar-language content is popular not only in Tatarstan, but also in some regions of both Russia and the world. But it will be very difficult to buy the rights to the online cinema, if it is created, for other people's films that were the international box office. They will also change the sound tracks [translating and voicing in Tatar], and this is a change in the author's vision. Large companies, even if they will give permission for this for a certain amount of money, they always have their own nuances. Starting with the voice of the voice-over and ending with the overall vision. It is difficult to imagine now how this will all happen. But God grant that they will succeed. It's an interesting thing'.

The film company and the online cinema will help preserve the Tatar identity

Nail Sagidullin, the regional director of the cinema chain Continent Cinema , ex-manager of the Kazan cinema Kinomechta, believes that it is necessary to separate the creation of content for offline film distribution and online cinemas. There is no threat to offline cinemas, he believes.

'The cinema is primarily a meeting place. And quite affordable in the modern world. For comparison, you one can cite 'refrigerator' and 'restaurant', we all have dinner with homemade food, but sometimes you want to go to a restaurant. That's the same with movies, you can watch the series online at home, but it's much more interesting to visit a cinema and watch a blockbuster on the big screen. The fact that many studios have decided to release 'big' movies simultaneously in cinemas and online (sometimes exclusively online) is a consequence of the pandemic, everyone wants to make money, even big studios. But we are talking about is not a big movie, but a movie on a regional scale. If you take a local film product, then success can be. It is not necessary to go far for an example, in Yakutia they are very fond of films in their native language, and they work very well in local cinemas.'

Sagidullin, however, considers the project from Aminov and Safarov to be very interesting. If such a statement was made, it means that the team already has plans and a model for developing this art direction. It will support and help the cause of preserving the identity of the peoples of Tatarstan, including the preservation of the Tatar language. Nail Sagidullin is sure that with a skillful approach and proper management, this project has the right to live.

'The Yakuts have an online movie theatre, why don't the Tatars have one?'

Albina Nafigova, the head of the directorate of the All-Russian Forum 'Time of Cinema', ex-programme director of the Kazan International Festival, considers access to content to be the cornerstone. And the very fact of the simultaneous creation of a TNV online cinema is important in this way.

The desire of TNV to create its own film company and online cinema Albina Nafigova evaluates positively in general. At the same time, she still noted that recently two Tatarstan releases have appeared on such platforms as OKKO, from young filmmakers.

'On rather hyped platforms, sales can be said to be more fun. Such distribution services from a film company would be useful here and now. On the other hand, the Yakuts have their own online cinema, their products are in demand, why don't the Tatars have their own online cinema? But this is quite a serious step. An online movie theatre is not just a catalog of movies and TV series or links to view them. Good money, good resources, personnel, and a stable flow of content are needed. They will have to invest not only in the creation of the platform but also in its promotion,' she listed the challenges facing the TNV team.

By Sergey Afanasyev

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