TJ Martin screens Undefeated in Yekaterinburg, Russia – Day 7
TJ began his second full day in Yekaterinburg with an interview in our hotel lobby with Svetlana Shaveleva (aka Sveta) who is the editor-in-chief of the local blog, It’s My City. While TJ spoke with Sveta, I talked to Lada Tikhonova, the consulate’s cultural affairs specialist. Lada told me that she sees that people like Dima and Sveta represent a new generation of Russians, young people creating media and art who are no longer afraid to express themselves like her generation had been. They’re dynamic, motivated, open and she spoke with great optimism about what people like them might bring to Yekaterinburg and Russia in general.
After the interview we met up with Krisi of the US Consulate, who was also hosting a 5-person a capella group from Washington DC called Snow Day. She had arranged for all of us to have a 4-course lunch and a kitschy Russian restaurant.
We later connected with Sveta again who gave us a personal tour of her city. Among many things she pointed out, she showed us the green park in the center of the city and the residence of President Putin when he is in Yekaterinburg. She led us to the Channel 14 TV station where she handed us off to Dima and Lada. TJ had a 15 minute interview with TV personality Yevgeniy Yenin, described to us as the Russian Larry King. The winner of a number of the Russian version of the Emmy’s, Yenin has spent time in the US following the American elections and was eager to talk American politics with TJ before the taping.
That evening was the screening of Undefeated at the Dom Kino movie theater as part of the Show US! Film Festival. The film was so packed that that stairs and the ground in front of the seats were filled with people. After the film, a number of people shared their own stories with TJ. One woman revealed that she is going through something very difficult in her personal life and that the film had given her strength to keep moving forward. A young man told TJ that he didn’t believe that the director was there with them because the director of that incredible film must be very big. We later heard from the US Consul General in Yekaterinburg that in the two years he’d been in the city, he’d never seen such a positive reaction to an American film.
Rachel Gandin Mark, AFS Staff