Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your browser.

World Screen Newsflash

May 19, 2020


Best-Selling Novel Comes Alive in Russia
TV & Radio’s Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes

The debut novel of Guzel Yakhina, a young author from Tatarstan, quickly caught the attention of readers throughout Russia, becoming a bestseller in its home country. Translated into 34 languages, Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes has gone on to win multiple literary awards and capture hearts worldwide, and Russia Television ***image***and Radio has brought the story to TV in a series of the same name, which Sovtelexport is selling worldwide. 
The TV adaptation recently wrapped its run in Russia to stellar ratings. “The premiere of Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes was a huge success,” says Julia Matyash, the director of Sovtelexport. “It became the best prime-time series aired in Russia from the beginning of 2020. By now, more than 36.5 million viewers have watched it on TV and more than 20 million on the internet.”
The story is inspired by the dramatic life of Yakhina’s own grandmother. It centers on Zuleikha, a quiet and obedient Muslim wife, who is living with her abusive husband and tyrannical mother-in-law in a remote Tatar village in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. When her husband is murdered by communist soldiers for hiding grain, she is arrested and sent to Siberia. Many of those with her on the horrendous six-month train journey to the place of exile don’t survive the first difficult winter. The remaining deportees are abandoned in the middle of nowhere. In this severe wilderness, she begins to build a new life for herself and discovers an inner strength aided by great love and support.
Zuleikha tells how to transform the challenge of the most miserable circumstances into power and winning,” says Matyash. “Forgiveness, devotion, love and truth make this weak woman so strong. Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes is a beautiful and magical story about the power of the human spirit based on real facts.”
The series is directed by Egor Anashkin and was filmed all over Russia—from Moscow and Kazan to Uralian landscapes and the Arkhangelsk region near the Arctic Circle. The village of Ulbash, where Zuleikha lives with her husband and mother-in-law, was depicted by the museum of Tatar culture, Tatar-Avili, in Tatarstan. The settlement of Semruk was built in the Laishevo region near the Kama River specifically for the shooting of this series, and it will soon be turned into a tourist attraction. Attention to detail was paramount in bringing the story to life, Matyash acknowledges, with a huge amount of props and clothing and belongings sourced from flea markets for added authenticity. The central character is portrayed by a popular Russian actress of Tatar origin, Chulpan Khamatova, who says this role had a personal significance to her: there were exiles among her ancestors, too.
“It’s an amazing story that creates a flood of emotions through the masterful director’s work and brilliant lead-actors’ performances,” Matyash says. “The unique settings and historically accurate re-creation of the world of the story make it a real adventure for the viewers. The success of the book showed the great value and appeal of the story all over the world. It resonates even more nowadays when people come to understand how drastically life can change, how hard sometimes it is to find the inner power to cope with the challenges imposed from the outside. This story gives the viewer power and belief that you can overcome everything and become even stronger.”
Matyash adds that Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes “perfectly complements” the company’s lineup of strong, high-quality, female-led series.

See Russia TV & Radio’s Spring 2020 Showcase here.

More from Russia Television and Radio/Sovtelexport on WorldScreenings.com

Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes

***Video***(Historical drama, 8x52 min.) Zuleikha, a quiet and obedient Muslim wife, is living with her abusive husband and despotic mother-in-law in a remote Tatar village in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. When her husband is murdered by communist soldiers for hiding grain, she is arrested and sent to Siberia. A dreadful trip to a place of exile, thousands of kilometers and a fierce winter kill many. In this severe wilderness, she begins to build a new life for herself and discovers an inner strength given by great love and endearment.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com

Ekaterina. Pretenders

***Video***(Historical drama, 16x52 min.) 1774. The rule of Ekaterina is threatened. Numerous pretenders appear with claims to the throne. Her personal life also is troubled.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com


***Video***(Historical drama, 17x52 min.) Sixteenth century. The rule of an ancient dynasty is ended. For the first time, the Russian people elected a Tsar. It was Boris Godunov.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com


***Video***(Crime drama, 11x44 min.) Turbulent 1990s in Russia. A veteran of the Soviet-Afghan war, Herman comes home to find a completely different country—morally devastated and drowning in crime.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com

Anna Karenina

***Video***(Drama, 8x42-47 min.) The late 19th century, Russian high society. St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a reckless love affair with the dashing count Alexey Vronsky.
Watch now on WorldScreenings.com

Who Are We?

***Video***(Travel/psychology, 1x54 min.) Who are we? Where are our roots? Everybody is eager to find the answers. A young Parisian of Russian origin goes to the distant Solovetsky Islands tracing his ancestors.
Watch now

Antarctica: 200 Years of Peace

***Video***(Nature/current affairs, 1x44 min.) Antarctica is the only place on Earth with no borders, armed clashes and political conflicts. The frozen continent does not recognize sovereignty of any country. To protect and preserve this region’s valuable biological resources through peaceful cooperation is a task of crucial importance for all countries.
Watch now

Solzhenitsyn: Repentance

***Video***(Biography/culture, 1x64 min.) The last interview of Alexander Solzhenitsyn about the future of Russia and the world in the XXI century. He shares the most private thoughts.
Watch now


***Video***(Space, 1x44 min.) The space flight to the Salyut-7 station is a unique case in the cosmonautics history. The cosmonauts brought the uncontrolled vehicle back to life.
Watch now

Great China Reborn

***Video***(History, 1x72 min.) In 1949, Stalin sent a large group of Soviet camera operators to China. Their task was to make a film about the victory of Chinese communists in the civil war. This sensational historical footage has never been aired. Now, 70 years later, it is the foundation of the documentary about the birth of a new state—the People’s Republic of China. The unique color footage shows the life in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and the rural provinces of China the way it was 70 years ago.
Watch now

Visit Russia Television and Radio/Sovtelexport’s Screening Room here.

Russia Television and Radio/Sovtelexport Contacts: Julia Matyash, Director, Sovtelexport; Maria Dorokhina, Head, International Sales (worldwide, except CIS & Baltic States); Ekaterina Grigorieva, Head, Sales, CIS & Baltic States; Elizaveta Shcherbakova, Manager, International Sales; Svetlana Lyakh, Manager, International Sales.


Subscribe | Video | Feedback | Advertise | RSS | Twitter | App: Android - iOS | LinkedIn

Want to be featured in an upcoming WorldScreenings? Contact Ricardo Guise.

This email was sent to you by World Screen. To ensure that it is not labeled as spam, please add worldscreenings@worldscreen.com to your address book. If you would like to unsubscribe from WorldScreenings please go here.

If you were forwarded WorldScreenings and want your own copy, or would like to sign up for any of our other newsletters, please click here. For other subscription questions, please contact Dana Mattison.

Copyright © 2020 World Screen. 1123 Broadway, Suite 1207, New York, NY 10010, U.S.A.

WorldScreenings is a World Screen publication. No part of WorldScreenings can be used, reprinted, copied or stored in any medium without the publisher's authorization.