Narrated unforgettably by Stephen Fry, this new documentary explores the rebirth of the Russian novel. It introduces the audience to six of the biggest stars of contemporary Russian literature and their work and shows us a rarely-seen side of today's Russia. New works in original English translations are read by Fry against a backdrop of award-winning original animations of these fictional worlds.
And we meet the contemporary writers: the former Special Forces officer who writes touchingly of provincial life, but idolises Mickey Rourke, 50 Cent – and Stalin. He greets the camera crew at his country house, naked in his banya. The innocent-looking young mother who writes chilling horror stories takes us to a secret spot in Moscow’s Gorky Park where the old Soviet-era rides of her childhood are being dismantled. In the former Soviet republic of Armenia we meet a woman who spent her entire adult life writing one masterpiece, a 1,000-page fantasy. In Moscow we march with the poet who leads many of the anti-Putin demonstrations, and we sit in the flat of the former scientist who only turned to writing after she fell foul of the KGB in the 1970s. And, finally, we meet Russia’s most scandalous and violent literary novelist, feted at home and abroad, who explains why he compared the ruling Putin clique to the medieval torturers who served Ivan the Terrible. A production by Wilton Films and Intelligent Television.
Paul Mitchel,Director, Russia's Open Book, Wilton Films
Paul Mitchell is an award-winning producer whose credits include: ‘The Second Russian Revolution’, a BBC documentary series about the Perestroika era which featured revealing interviews with many of the key participants; ‘The Alternative Rock and Roll Years’ about the history of rock music in the Soviet Union; and frontline war reporting in ‘Greetings from Grozny’. In 1985, Paul directed and produced the BAFTA award-winning documentary series ‘The Death of Yugoslavia’ which is in the BFI’s top 100 British television programmes of all time. He has also produced a diverse body of work for Channel 4, Discovery Channel, National Geographic and France Télévision. His recent projects include the acclaimed documentary ‘The Iraq War’. Born in USA, Paul began work in television for ABC News Moscow.
Sarah Wallis,Director, Russia's Open Book, Wilton Films
Sarah Wallis is a Russian speaker who has over twenty years’ documentary experience including eight years at the BBC. Sarah’s credits include Royal Television Society award-winning ‘Homecoming’, following Alexander Solzhenitsyn on his return to Russia through Siberia; ‘Letters from St Petersburg’; and the BBC/PBS oral history series ‘People’s Century’, for which 'Master Race' won an international Emmy. She is the co-author of two histories, ‘A War in Words, Letters and Diaries from the First World War’ (Simon [&] Schuster, 2003/4) and ‘We Were Young and at War’, the first-hand story of young lives lived and lost in World War II (Harper Collins, 2009/10).
A.D. Miller studied literature at Cambridge and Princeton. In 2000 he joined The Economist ; from 2004-7 he was the magazine's Moscow correspondent, travelling widely across Russia and the former Soviet Union, and is currently its Writer at Large. He is the author of the acclaimed family history The Earl of Petticoat Lane ; his first novel, Snowdrops , set in Moscow, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Awards, the CWA Gold Dagger and the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction, and is translated into 25 languages.
Tonia Samsonova is a foreign correspondent working for Russian radio station Echo Moskvy, she is also a host on TVRain, an independent online TV channel. In 2013 she moved to London to investigate Russian corruption.
Clearly, the Russian Novel is alive and kicking. Please join us for anearly screening of this highly-anticipated film.