Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov, that also known internationally from such films as Burnt by the Sun, The Barber of Siberia and Oscar nominated 12, is probably the most powerful man in Russian cinema. Beside being famous filmmaker and actor by himself, he is also head of Cinematography Union of Russia, which can be very useful and allowed him to get 70 million dollars (!) for his latest pompous and megalomaniac project - a sequel for his most successful film, Burt by the Sun 2.
This expensive two parts movie, one part is scheduled to be released at May 9th 2010 and the other in 2011, was filmed for several years and just finished its production few months ago. First footage from the film was shown at latest Cannes festival, and now shorter version of it found its way into the web.
The story is continuation of the previous film, but many years later, during the World War II. The characters from the first film are back, and the film portrays their lives in the time of war. Needless to say, most of the completely unprecedented budget (most expensive Russian film ever, double what Inhabited Island cost), went into the battle scenes and pyrotechnics, and as you can see in the footage - it shows.
Mikhalkov is a controversial figure, known for his megalomaniac behavior and questionable political views and activities. But he is close to the Government leaders (Putin himself visited the set), enjoying financial support of major Russian banks and affecting Russian film industry with his strong influence. So it is not surprising that his patriotic film pulled such budget despite economical crisis, that shut down many film productions in Russia.
The movie is partially sponsored by French Canal+ as well, that probably will have the rights for international distribution.
More photos at production company's (owned by Mikhalkov) website.