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"Sobchak's Case" Pled at Russian Pavilion at Cannes

On May 13th, 2018, the Russian Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival hosted a presentation of the documentary "Sobchak's Case" (dir. Vera Krichevskaya), an investigation into Anatoly Sobchak's political rise and fall introduced by his daughter Ksenia Sobchak, who had cowritten the film with the acclaimed journalist and filmmaker Vera Krichevskaya. Nino Maisaia received producing credit. The team behind the movie believes that not only does it accurately depict the political climate on the eve of the 1996 presidential election in Russia, it also has a lot to say about the current state of affairs in the country.

"Sobchak's Case" tells the story of Anatoly Sobchak, the first mayor of Saint-Petersburg who coauthored the Constitution of the Russian Federation and initiated into politics his former student Vladimir Putin. In June 1996, Sobchak lost the gubernatorial election to his deputy Vladimir Yakovlev, which effectively put an end to his political trajectory. In 1997, Vladimir Putin helped Sobchak, who had fallen prey to a virulent smear campaign, emigrate to France, thus making the former mayor the first political exile in the newly democratic Russia. Sobchak came back to his home country shortly before the 2000 presidential election only to pass away in a couple of months.

Eighteen years later, Ksenia Sobchak is still grappling with the hidden machinations behind those turbulent events. She says the idea for a documentary had been conceived long before she decided to run for president in 2018.

Ksenia Sobchak (original idea):
"It was a vital necessity for me to answer the questions that had been haunting me for years. I tried to distance myself from what had happened in Saint-Petersburg, and banish it from my mind, but at some point, I realized I just couldn't be at peace until I figured out what had happened to my father. Politics has steamrolled right across my whole life, taking my Dad away from me. Now I want everyone to remember what kind of a man he was, and to imagine a different path our nation could've taken. This film is not just about this particular case, it's about our country. What it's like today, how and why it became what it is. There's no ‘right' way to interpret this film. Many decisions that strike us as absurd today seemed completely reasonable at the time to the people involved. This film is not about giving answers, it's about asking questions."

With director Vera Krichevskaya at her side, Ksenia Sobchak gives the floor to her father's allies and opponents alike as she looks into his career-ruining criminal record and speculates about his possible place in the political landscape of today's Russia.

Vera Krichevskaya, director:
"I was most interested in telling a nuanced story that leaves no room for black-and-white, us-vs-them judgment. Things are much more complicated than that. Our film attempts to solve the mystery of all those people, who once changed the course of modern Russia, making sudden confessions in interviews 22 years later. Their testimonies have helped us shape Anatoly Sobchak's story into a political thriller. Besides, it's a movie about a formative period in my own life, about the city I grew up in, and the virus of freedom I caught in August 1991, thanks in part to Sobchak himself, when I worked for the "Smena" newspaper.
"Sobchak's Case" shows Russian politics come full circle, from a popular leader's meteoric rise into the upper echelons all the way down to his utter destruction, both moral and physical. It's the seamy underbelly of the political process that helps us, on closer inspection, to gain deeper insights into the mechanisms of political persecution and infighting. In this sense, it's as much a movie about today as it is one about the past."

Visitors to the Russian Pavillion watched the trailer and highlights from "Sobchak's Case". The film's main focal point is an interview with Vladimir Putin recorded on Sep 19th, 2017, when the Russian President first spoke openly about facilitating Anatoly Sobchak's escape to France. In order to record this conversation, a special "black room" had been built at the Kremlin.

Other interviewees who contribute to the filmmakers' chronicle of the 1996 election include Alexander Korzhakov, Anatoly Chubais, and Tatyana and Valentin Yumashev. Director of the National Guard of Russia Viktor Zolotov gave his first-ever interview on the subject.

At the presentation, Ksenia Sobchak admitted to the public and to her mother Lyudmila Narusova that she was afraid to start this project:

"I must admit I never fully believed my mother's stories about my dad. I'm a journalist, so my job is to be skeptical: what if she was just protecting her husband's honor, as any loving wife would do? I was ready for unpleasant discoveries. But it turned out that my father was truly just a victim in this situation. This film took a huge load off my mind. And just imagine, how powerful that lie must have been: they even managed to make a daughter doubt her father."

Lyudmila Narusova shared a memory from 20 years ago: she and Anatoly, who then lived in Paris, had arrived in Cannes to support Alexey German, who was presenting his film "Khrustalyov, My Car!":
"I was walking along the esplanade and thinking about our visit of 20 years ago. My husband, who was being slandered in Russia, then said: "The worst thing our country can do is use law enforcement as a political instrument." He also said, "You shouldn't defend a lie just because you're Russian." He was just thinking out loud, he never expected his words to be quoted. But I think that nowadays we need these ideas more than ever."

The creators of "Sobchak's Case" announced that the film is to premiere at the closing of the 29th Kinotavr Film Festival on 10 June. Russia Day, 12 June, will be the film's first showing in Moscow, followed by release for nationwide distribution. The film is distributed by the Documentary Film Center. Vera Krichevskaya shared the plan to create a "Western version" of the film for international release. The adapted version will focus on the Sobchak–Yeltsin–Putin triangle, with lesser emphasis on political events little known outside of Russia.

Katya Mtsitouridze, ROSKINO CEO:
"This presentation of "Sobchak's Case" at the Russian Pavillion is very special to me.
First of all, Anatoly Sobchak was a remarkable person and politician. I think he is underappreciated by the current generation, which is what makes this film so important. Today's people under 30 more often than not have a poor idea of the events of the time, and next to no knowledge of the personalities that decided these events.
Second, Ksenia Sobchak, by creating this film in collaboration with Vera Krichevskaya, has stepped into her father's shoes and carried on his cause. She has a long and difficult path ahead of her, I am sure. So I am happy that here at the Russian Pavillion, the international film community has had the chance to appreciate this serious effort with significant international potential."


Ksenia Sobchak (interviews, original idea, screenplay)

Nov 5th, 1981: born in Leningrad, daughter of Anatoly Sobchak and Lyudmila Narusova.

Married to actor Maksim Vitorgan. Son Platon born in Nov 2016.

2002: BA (with honors) in International Relations, Moscow State Institute of International Relations

2004: MA in Political Science, Moscow State Institute of International Relations

Since 2005, has hosted a number of top-ranking TV shows (First Channel, Muz TV, TNT, STS, NTV, Friday TV, TV3, 5th Channel, Dozhd). On Dozhd, Sobchak gained experience in investigative journalism and interviewed such political luminaries as Mikheil Saakashvili, Alexander Lukashenko, and Pavel Astakhov, among others.

Over the last 10 years, Sobchak has penned six books, hosted the "Budni Barabaki" show on Silver Rain Radio, and supervised special projects for the "Snob" magazine. A former contributor to GQ and editor-in-chief at MAX and SNC, she is currently editor-in-chief for L'Officiel Russia.

In 2014, Sobchak made a documentary about a subway terrorist attack entitled "Death at the End of the Tunnel."

In 2017, she announced her candidacy for presidency in the 2018 election.


Vera Krichevskaya, director and screenwriter

1997–2005: director and special projects producer for NTV. Directing credits include: "Anthropology," "Freedom of Speech", "Here and Now" (evening newscast).

2005–2008: launched "Freedom of Speech with Savik Shuster" on ICTV (Ukraine). As a TV producer, oversaw two parliamentary campaigns in Ukraine.

2008–2011: partner, creative producer, and director at Dozhd TV Channel. Developed and produced "Constitution on Dozhd" in 2010.

2011: launched the "Poet and Citizen" (later renamed "Citizen Poet") project on Dozhd TV, together with Andrei Vasilyev, Dmitry Bykov, and Mikhail Efremov. In 2011, left her job at Dozhd following the show's controversial cancellation.

2011–2013: creative producer for the documentary TV channel "23 Doc."

2012: wrote and directed the documentary "Citizen Poet: The Pass of the Year."

2016: cowrote, directed, and coproduced the documentary "A Man Too Free" about Boris Nemtsov.

Vera Krichevskaya's professional awards include three TEFI's; a "Golden Ray"; a "TV Triumph"; and a "Golden Quill."

Additional Info:
Natalia Adamova
ROSKINO Press Relations

+7 926 222 68 80

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.

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