Bill Morrison


Portrait of Bill Morrison

Following the 2017 release of his internationally acclaimed documentary Dawson City: Frozen in Time, filmmaker Bill Morrison moves on to a project about a Soviet-era screen star, funded in part by an Artist Residency Award and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Village Detective will examine the life of Mikhail Zharov, a Russian actor who found stardom in the 1930s and whose career mirrors the rise and fall of Communism in the Soviet state. The project was prompted by the 2016 discovery of a print of the 1969 Zharov film The Village Detective off the coast of Iceland.  

Working with archival materials from across the actor’s long and varied filmography, The Village Detective will depict Soviet-era cinema through the films he appeared in—both the struggle to portray a strong nationalistic state working for the common good for which the Soviet Union was created and the paranoid and expansionistic empire it later embodied. The completed work will debut in 2019.