WASHINGTON -- Current Time launched the seven-part TV series InterNYET for Russian audiences last night, the latest addition to a highly acclaimed program catalog that reflects the network’s growing impact as a source of digital innovation and powerful content for Russian-speakers globally.
“InterNYET and the numerous awards and distinctions Current Time has racked up this season show that the team has the expertise, and attracts the talent, to deliver top-notch programming in a highly competitive environment,” said Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) President Jamie Fly. “We are definitely a leader in both the Russian-speaking news and features markets, providing our audiences high-quality, independently produced content that is simply not available anywhere else.”
InterNYET: A History Of The Russian Internet (Холивар: История Рунета), an original Current Time TV series directed by acclaimed Russian journalist and documentary filmmaker Andrei Loshak, tells the story of the rise and fall of the Russian Internet. The release coincides with the implementation of a “sovereign Internet” law planned for November, which the Kremlin has said will enable it to separate the country from the global internet. The series uses RuNet, as the Russian internet is known, as a lens through which to view the country’s recent political evolution, from the idealism and freedom of the 1990s, through the economic boom of the early 2000s, to the more recent introduction of online censorship laws. As RuNet’s founders ruefully tell Loshak, “We wanted to become a part of the civilized world... It was a desire to be helpful... We wanted to introduce Russians and Americans so the world would be safer.”
State Funeral (Государственные похороны), a film commissioned by Current Time, will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival today, September 6. The documentary, veteran Ukrainian Director Serhiy Loznitsa’s 25th film, uses mostly unseen archival footage from March 1953 to depict the funeral of Soviet leader Josef Stalin as the apotheosis of his personality cult. In his director’s statement, Loznitsa said his intent is “to bring the spectator inside this experience... as a participant and a witness of a grandiose, terrifying and grotesque spectacle, revealing the essence of a tyrannical regime.”
Putin’s Witnesses (Свидетели Путина), an award-winning film by Vitaly Mansky documenting the events that followed the unexpected resignation of Russian President Boris Yeltsin in December 1999 and brought Vladimir Putin to power, is one of 12 documentary films selected for nomination for this year’s European Film Awards. Current Time supported the production of Putin’s Witnesses, and was the first media outlet to air the film for audiences within Russia on December 31, 2018. Often referred to as the “European Oscars,” the European Film Awards honor the greatest achievements in European cinema. The “European Documentary 2019” award winner will be announced during the awards ceremony on December 7, 2019 in Berlin.
Current Time’s special documentary series Forma 087, by Katya Ponomaryova, which explores the plight of LGBT/transgender people in Russia, was shortlisted for a Content Innovation Award in the category Best Representation On Screen. Current Time is competing with projects from MTV Studios, World Productions, Sky Atlantic, Eureka Productions and Russia's Channel 5. The winners will be announced in Cannes on October 13, 2019 during the TV industry's annual most important international gathering, MIPCOM 2019.
Current Time’s up-close coverage in July and August of mass protests in Moscow proved the enormous demand for the network’s brand of live, uncensored reporting by garnering more than 33 million views of its live streams and video clips across the several social media platforms used by the network, including YouTube, Facebook, and VKontakte. On August 10 alone, some 1.5 million online viewers watched Current Time’s live coverage of the violent police crackdown, one million of them on YouTube, where about 70 percent of the views originated from inside Russia. Current Time was the only outlet to show the nationwide breadth of the protests, streaming live coverage in support of the Moscow rally in cities from Vladivostok in the Far East to Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast.
Current Time is a Russian-language, 24/7 digital and television platform, led by RFE/RL in cooperation with Voice of America. In 2018, its videos received more than 520 million views online and across social media platforms, with more than half coming from inside of Russia. It is seen in 20 countries via 94 distributors and 50 affiliates, and has more than 2.5 million followers across social media platforms.
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to 34 million people in 26 languages and 22 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed over 2.6 billion times on Facebook and YouTube in FY2018. RFE/RL is an editorially independent media company funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media.