‘Citizen K:’ The Richest Man In Russia

Sag Harbor Cinema
Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Alex Gibney’s “Citizen K .”

Alex Gibney is a documentary film director and producer who has reached notable fame over the past four decades. He has won numerous Emmy Awards, an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, a FOCAL International Award, and Film Independent Spirit Award, and Writers Guild of America Documentary Screenplay Awards, among others. His nominations have led to his label as one of the most important documentarians of our time.

On Friday, December 6, at 8 PM, Gibney will make his way to Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor for a screening of his latest film, “Citizen K.” Presented by Sag Harbor Cinema in collaboration with Hamptons Doc Fest, the film will be followed by a conversation with Gibney moderated by Sag Harbor Cinema’s artistic director Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan. The showing is part of the 12th annual Hamptons Doc Fest.

“Whether it’s Putin’s Russia, Enron, the war in Afghanistan, Julian Assange, Scientology, or the perils of Silicon Valley, Alex Gibney has tackled some of the most complex and most defining issues of our time with a unique blend of courage, depth, and limpidity,” D’Agnolo Vallan said. “His contribution to our understanding of the world around us is invaluable.”

Gibney’s film “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” became one of the most-watched HBO documentaries. Other noteworthy films include “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” and his latest “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.”

“Citizen K” looks at post-Soviet Russia through a former oligarch-turned-political protester, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who became the richest man in Russia through finance and oil production. When Khodorkovsky accused the Putin regime of corruption, he was arrested and sent to prison for over a decade. Now, he lives in exile in London, but continues to speak out against Putin.

“It’s a work of in-depth journalism that plays like a political thriller,” D’Agnolo Vallan said. “We are very happy to renew our collaboration with Hamptons Doc Fest with this very timely film.”

“Citizen K” had its world premiere at the 2019 Venice Film Festival.

“Getting Khodorkovsky to look back was tough at first, for a number of reasons,” Gibney said. “First, he doesn’t like to look back, only forward. Second, as a businessman, and later as a dissident, he had learned that in order to survive, you must betray very little. But there were times, such as when we were reviewing footage, that we got him to be in the moment. That was very valuable.”

He described the interview process with Khodorkovsky akin to peeling back layers.

“He had an uncanny ability to analyze events and key characters — particularly Putin — and proved to be very candid about certain moments in his past,” Gibney said. “At the outset, I found Khodorkovsky a bit unnerving. He is shy, but there’s a certain steeliness in his smile and we were able to discuss subjects more thoroughly with some emotional honesty.”

Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. Tickets are $25. Visit www.hamptonsdocfest.org to purchase tickets or for more information.

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