Start page Aeroflot Roskino Moscow Government Department of Culture

Mobile-First 1968.DIGITAL Series Presented at the Russian Pavilion

On May 10, 2018 the Russian pavilion hosted the presentation of the 1968.DIGITAL project, a mobile-first vertical series with innovative interactive Screenlife elements produced by Future History creative studio of Mikhail Zygar and Karen Shainyan jointly with Timur Bekmambetov’s Bazelevs Production.

The series pretends that Internet, social networks, messengers and mobile apps all existed by 1968. There is an innovative package for the project’s historical documentary content: each episode is narrated through the screen of a smartphone the protagonist could have owned. Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes a novel in Notes, the Beatles have a WhatsApp chat, Andy Warhol shares exhibition snapshots on Instagram, Mick Jagger releases future hits through SoundCloud. Each episode is dedicated to one key figure or event that shaped our life and fundamental values for years to come and draws parallels between the circumstances in the Soviet Union, the US, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Mikhail Zygar, Future History studio founder
‘I think 1968 is the crucial year that defined the outcome of the 20th century and shaped the world we live in today. 1968 is the year of the introduction of the earliest Internet, the year when the sexual revolution along with revolutions in fashion and music took shape. The dissident movement started in the USSR, Andrey Sakharov began his fight for human rights and Alexander Solzhenitsyn was subjected to an unprecedented witch-hunt. The Prague Spring caused the loss of the USSR’s international leverage. However our project is not exactly about global political events: it is focused on people who were 20 to 30 years old and behaved much like us. We used a new cinematic language to close the gap between us and the people of 50 years ago. The older generation often scolds the young for living in their smartphones and missing out on self-education. We tried to accept this reality and use it to our advantage, to translate history into a cinematic language that would be relevant today.’

The project intends to show how 1968 changed culture and society, shed some light on the causes of sexual revolution and the reasons why fighting for human rights became mainstream. In short, it demonstrates how the world turned the way we know today. For the Future History creative studio 1968.DIGITAL is not the first successful attempt at digital storytelling. For the 1917 project archival documents were presented as if they were part of a hundred-years-old social network. With the new project Mikhail Zygar and Karen Shainyan supported by Timur Bekmambetov decided to reach out to international audiences.

Karen Shainyan, Future History studio founder
‘We wanted to make our first international project in several languages to show how different people in different countries addressed the same problems and made the same mistakes, or vice versa, acted in a beautiful and noble way. We bumped into Timur Bekmambetov in LA almost by pure chance and used the opportunity to share our ideas. So he suggested to use the Screenlife format he has been working on for the last few years. We live most of our lives in the virtual reality, and there is a whole universe behind our mobile screens. The Screenlife format holds the attention of the audiences and makes the story more relatable which is crucial for us since historical events are generally hard to concentrate on.’

Timur Bekmambetov, the founder of Bazelevs group, addressed the public of the Russian pavilion with a video message.
‘1968.DIGITAL is a unique project that uses modern cinematic language to narrate historical events. Screenlife is an innovative format of storytelling that Bazelevs has been practicing for the last 5 years. We made 7 films and reality shows and received audience awards at major festivals such as Sundance, SXSW, and the Berlinale. Audience appreciation made us realize that people love stories told through mobile screens. And I am sure that my partners Mikhail Zygar and Karen Shainyan have found their own unique dialect of the Screenlife language.’
1968.DIGITAL is made in three versions: English, French, and Russian. Five 8-minute episodes out of the planned 40 are already available, and new episodes will be released weekly until the end of 2018.

In the very first episode the popular American singer Eartha Kitt dares to confront the President and First Lady in their faces and gets blacklisted. The second episode is dedicated to the Soviet-American space race that leads to tragedy. The third episode is focused on the death of the civil rights activist Martin Luther King. Future series will be dedicated to John Lennon, Muhammad Ali, Janis Joplin, William Burroughs, Hunter Thompson, Yves Saint-Laurent and other key figures of the era.

The visitors of the Russian pavilion were treated to two episodes including the one dedicated to 1968 in the protest-riddled France and the premature shutdown of the Cannes festival following the revolt of Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut.

Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO
‘The 1968.DIGITAL series is one of the most original projects the Russian pavilion has to offer this year. It is an atmospheric moodful film about historical events that is full of rebel spirit rather than nostalgia. I think it is a very relevant story for Cannes since the turbulent festival-related events of 1968 narrated in one of the episodes caused major shifts in culture and the whole world.’

The series is based on true events and documentary content but there is an element of film art and creativity as well. It is partly a mockumentary, partly historical fiction but the narrative stays true to the original events.

The Russian version is voiced by famous actors. Gosha Kutsenko tells about the death of Martin Luther King, Filipp Avdeev is the narrator of the Yuri Gagarin and Neil Armstrong episode, Miriam Sekhon tells the story of the black star Eartha Kitt while the actor and director Evgeny Mironov took part in the episode dedicated to Francois Truffaut.

1968.DIGITAL is already available on Apple News and BuzzFeed News, while the French version premiered at the new version of the Liberation website. This is the first ever Russian journalistic product followed by global audiences of major international platforms. In Russia the series is available on VKontakte and Amediateka and versions in all languages are streamed at the project’s website 1968. DIGITAL.

ROSKINO is the only Russian state institution promoting Russian cinema internationally. Since its foundation in 1924 ROSKINO facilitates the integration of the Russian filmmakers into the world industry. In 2014 the company celebrated its 90th anniversary.

The company promotes Russian cinema at major film festivals (Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Toronto, Beijing, London), markets (AFM in Los Angeles, EFM in Berlin, Marché du FIlm and MIPCOM in Cannes), and awards (The Oscars, Golden Globes, EFA Awards). It supports distribution of Russian cinema and solicits international investments and co-production partnerships.

One of the most prominent initiatives of ROSKINO is the DOORS international traveling film market that allows the company to present national cinema at various markets around the world.

Since 2012 ROSKINO operates the Russian Film Commission USA based in Los Angeles.

In 2014 ROSKINO launched a London office, ROSKINO UK.

In October, 2014 ROSKINO organized the Saint Petersburg International Media Forum, a high profile event uniting three types of content markets dealing with film, TV, and new media that generated a considerable attention in the national and international media industry.

In May, 2016 Roskino partnered with the world’s biggest film market Marché Du Film at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, making Russia one of the headliners of the event.

In 2017 Roskino initiated the Moscow Film Commission (MFC), a Moscow City government organization set up and endorsed by Roskino with the aim promoting the Russian capital as a unique filming location and supporting international film and TV crews in setting up their production in Moscow.


Katya Mtsitouridze is head of ROSKINO, Channel One film expert, Variety Russia Editor-in-Chief, SPIMF concept developer and general producer.

Katya graduated from the Tbilisi State University with an MA in history and film studies.

She is the author and narrator of This Is Cinema, a regular show on Russia’s Channel One.

She is ROSKINO CEO since 2011.

Katya’s portfolio includes diplomas of the film festivals in Cannes and Venice as well as the AFM market in LA.

In June, 2001, she was a member of the FIPRESCI jury at the 23rd Moscow International Film Festival.

In May, 2002, she was a member of the FIPRESCI jury at the 55th Cannes International Film Festival.

In June, 2003, Katya was on the jury for debut films at the 25th Moscow International Film Festival.

In May, 2008, she was a member of the jury of the Un Certain Regard section of the 61th Cannes International Film Festival.

Still in 2008, she initiated the establishment of the Russian Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival and became its director.

From September, 2010 to January, 2011 Catherine provided PR support in US and Canada for The Edge (Krai), a film by Alexey Uchitel, which was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the HFPA Golden Globe awards.

In September, 2011 she was in charge of the international PR and advertising campaign of Alexander Sokurov’s Faust that won the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival.

In June, 2012 she held the first DOORS International Traveling Film Market of Russian Content at MIFF with the participation of 45 US sales and distribution companies from US.

In November, 2012, Katya reached an agreement with HULU, one of the leading US digital platforms, for the VOD release of 12 contemporary Russian titles.

In May, 2014 she reached a further agreement for the distribution of CTC Media TV Content through HULU platforms.

In October, 2014 Katya held the first edition of the Saint Petersburg International Media Forum of which she was the concept developer and general producer.

In 2016 Katya was named Breakthrough of the Year at the First National Business Communication Awards ceremony. Under her guidance ROSKINO delivered outstanding results, including a successful partnership with the world’s biggest film market Marché du Film at the 69th Cannes International Film Festival where Russia became one of the headliners.

In 2017 she initiated the establishment of the Moscow Film Commission, a Moscow City government organization set up and endorsed by Roskino with the aim promoting the Russian capital as a unique filming location and supporting international film and TV crews in setting up their production in Moscow.

Katya is a member of FIPRESCI, the Russian Filmmakers’ Union, the Russian and International Unions of Journalists, the National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Russia. She also holds an MA in History.

ROSKINO Strategic Partners

ROSKINO Information Partners