About the Film


Russia's Open Book video coverSome of the greatest literary achievements of the 19th and 20th century are Russian: Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, Tolstoy’s War and Peace , Gogol’s Dead Souls , Olzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich . RUSSIA’S OPEN BOOK: WRITING IN THE AGE OF PUTIN, new on PBS, 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 premiered nationally on PBS beginning in New York in December, and the film is now streaming online at:

Hosted by actor, author, and activist Stephen Fry, RUSSIA’S OPEN BOOK celebrates contemporary Russian authors carrying on one of the world’s greatest literary traditions. Contemporary authors are interviewed extensively in the film, with contributions from their literary critics, publishers, and peers. Excerpts from their recent works are brought to life by vivid animated sequences created exclusively for the film - with Fry providing dramatic readings in English.

The sheer size of Russia, its brutal climate, the violence of its history, and the heroism and genius of its people all have contributed to a world of literature like no other. “You may think Russian literature is no more than a catalog of suffering and misery and woe,” says Fry, “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 Russian writers “must grapple with the past, live in the present, and create fictional worlds that will continue to exist in the future.”

RUSSIA’S OPEN BOOK focuses on six writers in Putin’s Russia whose vibrant work continues to gain traction with a global audience:

RUSSIA’S OPEN BOOK is co-directed by Paul Mitchell, who won a 2012 Peabody Award for the BBC/NatGeo television series, “Putin, Russia and the West.” Since 1990 Mitchell has lived in the UK, producing award-winning films for the BBC, Channel 4, France Télévision, and PBS, among others. RUSSIA’S OPEN BOOK co-director Sarah Wallis is a Russian speaker and a published author with over 20 years of documentary film experience, including eight years with the BBC. Intelligent Television (INT), based in New York, produces innovative films, television, and online video in close association with leading cultural and educational institutions and renowned directors and cinematographers worldwide, executive produced RUSSIA OPEN BOOK. INT also produces the Intelligent Channel with Google’s investment on YouTube.

RUSSIA’S OPEN BOOK is generously sponsored by:

View the Film Trailer: