Stephen Fry to Host New PBS Documentary RUSSIA'S OPEN BOOK, 12/28
Some of the greatest literary achievements of the 19th and 20th century are Russian: Alexander Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, Tolstoy's War and Peace, and Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Readers in the West may have stopped hearing about Russian literature after the USSR collapsed, but that doesn't mean the Russians stopped writing. RUSSIA'S OPEN BOOK: WRITING IN THE AGE OF PUTIN, directed by Paul Mitchell (Putin, Russia and The West) and Sarah Wallis (We Were Young and at War) asks the question: Who is the new Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, or Gogol waiting to be discovered by the English-speaking world?
A co-production of Intelligent Television and Wilton Films, RUSSIA'S OPEN BOOK will premiere nationally on PBS member stations beginning in New York on THIRTEEN on Saturday, December 28 (check local listings for additional PBS airdates). The Intelligent Channel (INT.), YouTube's new online platform for enlightening nonfiction programming, will preview the PBS premiere with a digital showcase beginning on Friday, December 13.
The producers and THIRTEEN will partner on developing a national outreach campaign to local PBS stations to promote audience discussions at leading universities nationwide. PBS Distribution will manage ancillary sales of RUSSIA'S OPEN BOOK to consumer and educational markets.
Hosted by actor, author, and activist Stephen Fry (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Jeeves and Wooster, The Hobbit), RUSSIA'S OPEN BOOK celebrates contemporary Russian authors who are carrying on one of the world's great literary traditions - yet doing so on their own terms. Each author is interviewed extensively in the film, with contributions from their literary critics, publishers, and peers. Excerpts from the authors' recent works are brought to life by vivid animated sequences created exclusively for the film and voiced-over with dramatic readings in English by Fry, who currently stars in the new Broadway production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
"You may think Russian literature is no more than a catalog of suffering and misery and woe, but actually it's so much more than that. There's so much joy, there's so much hope, there's so much about the human spirit in it," says Fry in the film. "These six Russian writers and their contemporaries must grapple with the past, live in the present, and create fictional worlds that will continue to exist in the future."