Blitz Films Launches With Martial Arts Drama 'Heart of a Champion'

Independent filmmakers Sergey Sarkisov and Nick Sarkisov have launched Blitz Films as a finance and production company, Variety has learned exclusively.

The first project the company is producing and financing is "Heart of a Champion," a martial arts story written by David McKenna ("American History X"). Produced in association with Straight Up Films, the film follows a high school judo prodigy who steps into the Ultimate Fighting Championship cage to face the ultimate rival in a battle for recognition and retribution –- his father.

Blitz, which made the announcement Wednesday, will specialize in "responsibly-budgeted" indie fare along with a wide variety of genre projects. Producer Eryl Cochran has signed on as head of production and development for Blitz and will work out of the company's Los Angeles office.

Nick Sarkisov will make his American feature directorial debut with "Heart of a Champion." He began his career working with independent television producer Evan Charnov and was later hired by the STS Channel in Russia to direct all episodes of the hour-long drama series "The Moon." He made his feature directorial debut on "Krasny," with his father Sergey Sarkisov producing. He is also developing the animated feature "Imaginary Friend" with Jeremy Renner.

Cochran's development projects include Ben Affleck's "Daredevil," "The Spirit" starring Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, and "From Prada to Nada" starring Camilla Bell and Alexa Vega. She wrote, directed and produced "Totality: The American Eclipse" last year and was the VP of development and acquisitions for Gigi Pritzker's Odd Lot Entertainment.

"We created Blitz films because we realized the stories we wanted to tell were not being told," said Nick Sarkisov. "As filmmakers ourselves, we actively support the careers of up-and-coming creatives, as we seek out diverse, character-centric and conversation-provoking entertainment."

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