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The creators of the TV series ‘Call-Center’ walk the black carpet at the world premiere in Tallinn

PREMIER Studio's ‘Call-Center’ TV series saw its world premiere as a part of the “Class A” Black Nights International Film Festival. Directors and scriptwriters Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov, as well as the lead actress Sabina Akhmedova, walked the black carpet that traditionally replaces the common red carpet at the Black Nights festival.

Earlier that day the creators behind 'Call-center’ presented the TV-series as a part of the festival’s business program. Merkulova and Chupov explained that there is a certain division of roles in their duo, with Natasha being the lead director and Aleksey – the lead scriptwriter. "There should only be one boss," Chupov explained. They also reflected on how ‘Call-Center’ began:

"Our starting point was ‘The Sum of All Fears’, a novel by a popular American writer Tom Clancy," Aleksey Chupov told us. "Reading it left us wanting to create a work of art that would serve as an expression of all our fears."

"I am a great fan of horror and thriller films, and I consider such artworks to have an explicit therapeutic effect," Natasha Merkulova added. "Our first idea was to create a 5-minute episode web series. Over time, however, it evolved into a full-fledged series with episodes varying in length from 48 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes."

On behalf of the marketing director of the TV-3 network, Lily Sherozia represented both PREMIER Studios and TV-3 at two panel discussions on November 26th. During the Brave New World session, directors and scriptwriters from all around the globe discussed the future prospects of television in the age of online expansion, while the Eastern Promises session was dedicated to innovative projects coming from Russia and Ukraine. There, Lily Sherozia got the chance to speak about the new releases on the PREMIER platform – TV serials such as ‘The Outbreak,’ ‘Call-Center’ and ‘Identification’, all directed by Vladlena Sandu.

'Call-Center' is a thriller that tells a story about a group of workers for an online adult store who were locked in their office by unknown individuals with sadistic tendencies, somehow aware of the most intricate details of their lives. The series premiered in Russia as a part of the Pilot Festival in Ivanovo where Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov received the Best Original Screenplay Award.

Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov are talented directors and screenwriters, with their first project together, ‘Intimate Parts’, receiving the Best Debut Award at the Kinotavr Film Festival. Their subsequent project, the feature film entitled ‘The Man Who Surprised Everyone’, competed in the Orizzonti section of The Venice Film Festival, receiving the Best Actress Award. Together, Aleksey and Natasha also created ‘The Crisis of the Tender Age’, a popular TV series that aired on the TNT network. They earned their fame as scriptwriters during the production of ‘Gogol’, a commercially successful fantasy film, and the space blockbuster ‘Salyut 7.’


Genre: psychological thriller, horror

Number of episodes: 8

In a Moscow skyscraper, on the twelfth floor, there is a call center office for an online adult shop. One day its twelve employees come to the office, only to learn that there is a bomb hidden in the building. Two unknown individuals, calling themselves Mom and Dad, threaten to blow up the place unless the workers obey all their commands. As the bomb ticks, these twelve people will have to experience the absolute power of two invisible sadists as well as learn things about one another they would not have even dared to suspect.

Starring: Pavel Tabakov, Vladimir Yaglych, Yuliya Khlynina Sabina Akhmedova, Askar Nigamedzyanov, Alisa Selnikova, Egor Sheremetev, Zoya Kaydanovskaya, Polina Pushkaruk, Olga Venikova, Levan Khurtsia, Nikita Tarasov, Igor Semykin, Anton Eremin, Madlen Dzhabrailova, Nikita Kukushkin, Stasya Miloslavskaya, Igor Savochkin, Anatoliy Belyy, Natalya Kudryashova, Ekaterina Volkova, Aleksandr Robak

Producers: Valeriy Fedorovich, Evgeniy Nikishov

Scriptwriters and directors: Natasha Merkulova and Alexey Chupov

Cinematographer: Gleb Filatov

Art Directors: Fyodor Savelev, Nikita Evglevskiy

Showrunners: Ivan Golomovziuk, Maksim Filatov, Olga Kurenkova

Executive producer: Maya Tszo

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About Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

Started in 1997, the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival has grown into one of the biggest film festivals in Northern Europe and busiest regional industry platforms, hosting more than 1000 guests and industry delegates and over 160 journalists. The festival screens around 250 features and more than 300 shorts and animations and sees an attendance of 80 000 people annually. In 2017 the festival was covered in 71 languages with a potential global media audience of over 1.1 billion people.

As of 2014 the festival holds the FIAPF accreditation for holding an international competition programme which puts the festival into the so- called A-category of film festivals, alongside other 14 festivals in the world (including Cannes, Berlinale, Venice, Karlovy Vary, San Sebastian, Shanghai, Tokyo etc).  

Black Nights has an umbrella structure with two sub-festivals PÖFF Shorts and youth and children's film festival Just Film taking place concurrently with the main festival,
two off-season festivals - Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival and Tartu Love Film Festival - and a fully-fledged film industry platform Industry@Tallinn, organised jointly with the Baltic Event Co-production market.

Black Nights Film Festival 16 Nov - 2 Dec
PÖFF Shorts 20 Nov - 25 Nov
Just Film 16 Nov - 2 Dec
Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event 26 Nov - 30 Nov



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