Angelina Kariakina from Hromadske (google it, interesting online channel) was the moderator and she did a good job, keeping the panel engaged:
Olga Zakharova from Media Group Ukraine that includes a big commercial tv channel, Ivan Bukreev from NLO TV channel, also a commercial channel and Kenan Aliyev from the Russian language TV channel (started in 2014) Current Time TV.
The questions for the three dealt with the possibility of matching the documentary film sector and its productions with television. The two Ukrainian channel representatives mentioned what they had done in terms of documentary broadcast, not a lot, but some series and the sentence ”our audience is not interested in documentaries” came back again and again; the audience go to our channel to get away from problems of social and political nature – words to that effect.
Whereas Kenan Aliyev told the audience that his channel buys into 100 documentaries per year, being an alternative to the official Russian tv channels, ”a project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in cooperation with the Voice of America” with a budget to be approved by the American Congress. We have to prove that we reach an audience, Aliyev said, being proud to say that the documentaries are more watched by his audience than the news.
Aliyev, based in Prague, has set up shorter documentary shows called ”Unknown Russia” and ”Unknown Ukraine”, and he has a slot called ”Real Cinema”, where Vitaly Manski presents the documentaries coming to the channel. The same Manski is now finishing a film, supported by Current Time TV, called ”Putin’s Witnesses” dealing with how Putin came to power. He showed a clip from the film and on the screen waiting to be shown as well, but there was no time for that, was ”Lida” (PHOTO) by Anna Eborn, bravo, a fine piece of creative documentary. I have met Aliyev several times now, in Riga for the Baltic Sea Docs, in Prague for the East Doc Platform and now here. He is very interested in collaboration with festivals. Good news in times where public broadcasters in Europe are cutting down, playing a minor role in support of documentaries.