As far back as we can trace the history of mankind is how long storytelling has existed; that’s because storytelling allows us to communicate our own history. At some point (most likely around a campfire) storytelling became an art and, as art does, the tales became more grand and entertaining. Through the ages, the means by which stories were communicated has evolved; oratory, legible, theatrical, and eventually we came to our modern cinematic means. Moving Pictures may be just a skooch over a century old but they have already transformed in so many ways and have escalated the art of storytelling on a global scale. Hollywood may be the epicenter of TV and film but many countries in the world have ingrained some form of the industry into their social fabric. Hollywood can be proud that its child has become loved everywhere on planet Earth. All the corners of the world use this means to tell their tales. By studying the productions of different countries we can understand more about them as well as gain insight into how they see themselves. Petr Golikov is a Russian producer who has had immense success in the world of commercial production but who has also been a producer on many documentaries which present the history of his country as well as how historical figures have effected Russian society. Because of his successful career as a producer and his respect for US productions, he has a healthy respect for Americas contributions. Viewing the documentaries, he has produced allows one to have an insider’s look at many historical figures and social aspects of Russian society that are not often presented to the US. It’s particularly interesting that a producer like Petr, who has such a lauded career (working with well-known US companies like: PUMA, Gillette, Kraft Foods, Ford, Phillips; with campaigns that won awards such as: an Effie Award, a Silver Prize at the Kiev International Advertising Festival, and a Golden Prize at the Golden Hammer International Advertising Festival, as well as others) is always searching for a way to hone his abilities and challenge his approach. Golikov left the world of commercial producing for a period of time to work at the award-winning Studio Ostrov. Studio Ostrov is a recipient of many prestigious awards including: an Emmy Award, Bafta Award, and Nika Award. This award-winning production company was founded by the award-winning filmmaker Sergey Miroshnichenko. Petr admits that when he was offered the opportunity to work with an artist as important as Sergey Miroshnichenko, he could not forego the experience. It is a scenario that has altered his approach to production ever since, particularly his style of communication with directors.
The production Gogol: The Farewell Letter mixed actual letters of correspondence from one of the most celebrated Russian writers with a very artistic presentation. The film was recognized and awarded at the Kiev International Film Festival in 2009. The film is based on Nikolai Gogol’s correspondence with friends and contains reconstructed scenes from the life of this writer and the intellectual debates which he led with them. The main role was played by Eugeniy Voskresenskiy (he won an award at the Kiev International Film Festival for this role). Golikov describes the creative approach which the film is known for, stating, “Three-fourths of the film took place in the set designed and built to look like a huge head of Gogol. People appeared there like ghosts or thoughts or images. We wanted the viewer’s to feel that they were inside Gogol’s head and we took the metaphor to a very literal place, which the audience seemed to really enjoy.”
One of the films Petr produced (at Studio Ostrov) which received the most accolades was The Word. This film is about the life of famed writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Word received a TEFI Best TV film nominee, a LAVR (2009) Best documentary film award, and a special award at the 2nd New York Festival of Russian documentary (2009). The Word was filmed shortly before Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn death in 2008 and discussed the writer’s book The Gulag Archipelago, his ideas, & future plans. The documentary contains rare footage of his life outside Russia and unpublished exclusive interviews in which he discusses modern literature and the future of Russian in the 21st century. Because the film discussed one of the most important writers and thinkers who witnessed such an extensive change in the world, it was paramount that it present his firsthand take on history and the literature of his lifetime.
One of the most intriguing documentaries which Golikov produced for Studio Ostrov is titled Closest. This is a riveting and poignant documentary which views the city of Kazan in Russia. This location is extraordinary in the fact that its population is comprised of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim people who live peacefully together. It is a model which attempts to explain if we can live amongst each other with these differences without strife and war. The production asks if “love thy neighbor” can truly exist. Filmed on location over a ten-day period, Closest gives first-hand accounts of what these different ideological groups think of each other and how they implement their religious teachings.
Reaching much further back into Russia’s history, Petr produced Pyotr and Fevroniya: Story of Eternal Love for Studio Ostrov. The Orthodox Church in Russia has declared this couple saints and the keepers of family and marriage. According to lore, Pyotr and Fevroniya were buried in separate tombs but the following day their bodies were discovered together in the same tomb. Many people visit this tomb and ask for intercession. Golikov communicates, “I had to approach the story with great care before it was presented to channel’s producer. There was a presentation for a priest from the Orthodox church because this couple is recognized as saints. The church was happy with it and the film crew was actually very moved by the story, as were the viewers…which gave us such high ratings. It’s a wonderful love story.
Petr’s acclaim as a producer of both documentaries and commercials in Russia has led to upcoming productions with Feel Good Video in the US. Golikov has been enlisted to bring his talents to a number of projects for Feel Good Video including the documentaries Dreams by the Ocean and Twinsters in addition to a series of commercials for both Dyno Wave and Joe To Door brands. Petr’s immensely popular and acclaimed work in the past is a causality to the effect of these international offers. The best reward for a professional such as Golikov is the abundance of offers that continue to find their way to this consummate producer.