Alexander Yefymovych Rodnyansky (Russian: Алекса́ндр Юхи́мович Родня́нский; born July 2, 1961) is a Russian director, producer, television executive and businessman of Ukrainian-Jewish origin. Member of European Film Academy (representing Russia) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (representing Russia).
Life and career
Rodnyansky was born in Kiev to Jewish parents, both of whom worked at the Ukrainian film studio Kontakt. His father Yefim Fridman was a senior engineer, while his mother Larisa Rodnyanskaya served as a film producer. Alexander's maternal grandfather Zinovy Rodnyansky worked on documentary films as a screenwriter and editor, and so did his cousin Esfir Shub — a prominent Soviet director. Alexander's cousin Boris Fuchsmann is a German media mogul and investor, as well as a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress and a president of Jewish Confederation of Ukraine. Together they co-founded the 1+1 TV Channel and built the Hilton Kyiv.
During his career, Rodnyansky produced over 30 films and more than 20 television series including Stalingrad (2013) - the highest grossing Russian film ever ($67 million). Among other films produced by Rodnyansky: The 9th Company (2005), Heat (2006), Piter FM (2006), The Inhabited Island (2009), The Sun (2005), A Chef in Love (1997), A Driver for Vera (2004), East/West (1999). He created Ukrainian TV network 1+1 and for seven years was the CEO of Russian media company CTC Media.
Alexander Rodnyansky graduated from Kyiv's National University of Film, Theatre and Television as a documentary director. In 1983 he started his career at Kyivnaukfilm studio. He has directed 10 feature documentaries which won him over 40 prestigious awards both at home and abroad. For the documentary Raoul Wallenberg’s Mission he was awarded the highest award for a documentary filmmaker in the USSR – the Russian National Film Award NIKA as well as the European Film Award (for Best Documentary).
Last farewell USSR (1991) was awarded the Gran Prix of Cinema Jove Film Festival in Valencia, Russian National Film Award NIKA, Special Jury prize at the Festival International de Cinema Nyon and the Best Documentary prize at the Duisburg Film Festival. Last farewell USSR Film II (1994) won the Russian National Film Award NIKA, the Silver Dove award at International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, the Jury prize and FIPRESCI at the International Documentary Film Festival at Yamagata and the Grand Prix at the Strasbourg Film Festival.
From 1990 till 1993 he worked as a producer and film director at the German television channel ZDF.
In 1994 he returned to Ukraine to create the first independent television channel in the country, 1+1. In a matter of months 1+1 became the leader of the television market in Ukraine. Rodnyansky served as CEO of 1+1 and was a co-owner of the company together with Central European Media Enterprises (CME). Later he sold his interest in 1+1 to CME.
In 2002 Rodnaynsky was asked to head the American company Story First Communication (later renamed CTC Media) which operated one TV-channel - CTC. Under his leadership the company transformed into an international television powerhouse with five channels in three countries.
Rodnyansky was responsible for making CTC Media the first ever Russian media company to have an IPO on NASDAQ. In 2002 the CTC Channel had a market value of approximately $40 million; when Rodnyansky left CTC Media in 2008, the company's market capitalization was over $4 billion; CTC doubled its audience share and became the fourth most popular channel in Russia.
In 2009 Rodnyansky founded A.R. Films through which he now controls a movie production company Non-Stop Production, the leader of the distribution of independent films Cinema without frontiers (Kino Bez Granits) and the most important film festival in Russia - Kinotavr.
In 2011 Alexander Mindadze's film Innocent Saturday produced by Alexander Rodnyansky premiered in competition of the 61st Berlin International Film Festival. Pre-production of the war drama Stalingrad had begun. In 2011 the next film of Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev Elena, also produced by Alexander Rodnyansky won The Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard category at the Cannes Film Festival. Elena also screened during Toronto International Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival in 2012. In 2012, Elena won multiple awards at the 10th Annual Golden Eagle Awards. The Golden Eagle is the top Russian film and television award, presented by the Russian National Academy of Film Arts. This year, Elena, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev and produced by Alexander Rodnyansky, received four Golden Eagles, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Supporting Actress.
Also nominated for Best Picture this year was Rodnyansky’s film Innocent Saturday, which received a Golden Eagle for Best Script. In the television mini-series category, Dostoevsky, produced by Rodnyansky’s Non-Stop Production, won three Golden Eagles, for Best Television Drama and for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress in a TV Drama.
Jayne Mansfield’s Car, a family comedy/drama directed by, co-written, and co-starring Academy Award-winner Billy Bob Thornton became the first US film, produced by Alexander Rodnyansky. The ensemble cast includes Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Robert Patrick, Frances O’Connor and Ray Stevenson. Jayne Mansfield’s Car premiered in competition of the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in 2012. Rodnyansky also produced The Goat Island, a drama based on the acclaimed young adult novel by Brock Cole. The Goat Island was written and directed by D. J. Caruso, and stars Annalise Basso, Chandler Canterbury, Val Kilmer and Radha Mitchell.
In 2011 Alexander Rodnyansky's A.R. Films 51% of Berlin-based A Company Consulting and Licensing, one of the biggest film licensing and distribution outfits in Central and Eastern Europe and, developer and operator of GameNet platform and one of the biggest online game publishers in Russia and Russian speaking markets.
In 2012, Rodnyansky partnered with director Robert Rodriguez to produce a sequel to the 2010 hit Machete, Machete Kills, and the cult 2005 film Sin City, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller. Cloud Atlas, directed by Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and co-produced by Alexander Rodnyansky, was released in 2012 in Russia by A Company and grossed $16.5 million.
In 2013 Alexander Rodnyansky produced with his partner Sergey Melkumov an epic war drama Stalingrad, directed by Fedor Bondarchuk. Stalingrad is an epic look at the battle that turned the tide of World War II. A band of grimly determined Russian soldiers fight to hold a strategic building in their devastated city against a ruthless German army, and in the process become deeply connected to two Russian women who have been living there. Presented in IMAX 3D, the scale of the battle contrasts dramatically with the human drama of the Russian soldiers, the few remaining civilians and their invaders into Stalingrad. Stalingrad became the highest grossing Russian film ever with $67 million from three territories (Russia, Ukraine and China). Stalingrad has opened to $8.3 million in China on 7,136 screens, including 123 in Imax 3D making it the best-ever start for a non-Chinese and non-Hollywood film in the country.
In 2014 Leviathan directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev and produced by Alexander Rodnyansky premiered in competition of 67th Cannes Film Festival. The Guardian called the film "a new Russian masterpiece" while IndieWire gave it an "A+". The Leviathan won the award for The Best Screenplay and was picked up for US distribution by Sony Classics.
Leviathan won the Best Film Award at the BFI London Film Festival and the Best Foreign Language Film award at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Leviathan was also nominated for BAFTA as The Best Film not in the English language and an Independent Spirit Award as The Best International Film.
In 2016 Alexander Rodnyansky was invited to the Jury of the Caméra d'Or program of the Cannes Film Festival. In June 2016 he became the member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In 2017 Loveless directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev and produced by Alexander Rodnyansky premiered in competition of the 70th Cannes Film Festival. Loveless won the Jury Prize at Cannes. and The Best Film Award at BFI London Film Festival.
In September the Russian Oscar committee nominated Loveless as a Russian entry into the Oscar race. Another film produced by Alexander Rodnyansky - Requiem for Mrs. J directed by Bojan Vuletić was nominated by Serbia as their entry into the Oscar race.
Variety included Alexander Rodnyansky in its Variety500 index of the 500 most influential business leaders shaping the global entertainment industry.
- Members. European Film Academy, 2019
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- Tartaglione, Nancy (21 September 2017). "Oscars: Russia Enters Andrey Zvyagintsev's 'Loveless' In Foreign Language Race".
- "Oscars: Serbia Selects 'Requiem for Mrs. J' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Piper-Shimizu, Stephane (28 September 2017). "Alexander Rodnyansky".