On November 30, the documentary Vysotsky ... Odessa Notebook premiered at the Mayfair Hotel in London, UK. The event was organised by the Antropov Foundation in collaboration with Apollo Film and Russian Day. The viewers were welcomed by the organiser Alexey Antropov, film director Anatoly Balchev and film producer Mark Ivasilevich. Among special guests of the evening were Nikita Vysotsky, the poet’s son, and Mikhail Shemyakin (also spelled as Chemiakine) famous artist, sculptor and close friend of Vladimir Vysotsky.

The event took off with a brief wine and canapes reception: everyone was welcome to share their memories of Vysotsky, take a photo or socialise with Nikita Vysotsky and Mikhail Shemyakin, film director Anatoly Balchev, film producer Mark Ivasilevitch, or with the event’s patron Alexey Antropov, who was very popular that evening. Among the guests attending the event was spotted famous French film producer Pierre Spengler, accompanied by author, screenwriter and producer Kyra Pahlen. One could also rub shoulders with glamorous Swiss fashion designer Olga Roh ( founder of the fashion brand Rohmir), philanthtropist and arts patron Prince Nikita Lobanov-Rostovsky, head of the Russian department at Bonhams Daria Khristova-Chernenko, the press attaché of the Russian Embassy in the UK Mr. Ilya Erofeev, architect Alexander Barabanov, curator and art critic Anthony Fawcett, Natasha Hart, MBE, coach and founder of NASSA Sports Academy All Stars, as well as director of Chance for Life charity Olga Makharinsky, research scholar and head of the Vysotsky Centre in the UK Dr. Olga Tabachnikova, the famous Brodsky scholar Dr. Valentina Polukhina, film producer Maria Rusanova, director of the Hertfordshire Press, vice president of the Eurasian Creative Guild Marat Akhmedzhanov, director of the Aitmatov Academy in London Rahima Abduvalieva, as well as journalists from BBC, Paris Match, Russian Art and Culture, Mayfair Times, major art collectors and gallery owners, including those who knew Vladimir Vysotsky personally.

The documentary highlighted the role that Odessa played in Vladimir Vysotsky’s life and artistic career. Most iconic films starring Vysotsky, such as The Vertical, Dangerous Tour or The Meeting Place Cannot be Changed, were shot at the Odessa Film studio – the all are now considered indisputable classic of the Soviet cinematography.

Prior to screening, the film director Anatoly Balchev addressed the audience, mentioning that Odessa had always been known as a free- spirited, buoyant community, kindred in spirit to Vladimir Vysotsky. It was producer Mark Ivasilevich who came up with the idea to consider Vysotsky’s artistic heritage in the context of this city. And this is how the film Vysotsky ... Odessa Notebook came to fruition.

The screening concluded with a panel discussion with Anatoly Balchev, Nikita Vysotsky, Mikhail Shemyakin and Marc Ivasilevitch held in a warm, friendly atmosphere. Both Russian-speaking and English guestsequally took part in this session addressing their questions to the participants. Nikita Vysotsky reminded that Vladimir Vysotsky had once performed in London and even dedicated a poem to the city — the fact that came across as a pleasant surprise for the British guests.

At the end of the discussion, Mikhail Shemyakin shared the story of circumstances that led to the recording of Vysotsky’s song French Demons. Shemyakin and Vysotsky were close friends who had been first introduced to each other by dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. Subsequently, Shemyakin acted as producer for his friend and released seven vinyls with Vysotsky’s songs. Their major project took more than two years: Vysotsky spent generous amounts of time recording with famous Parisian performer of gypsy romances Alyosha Dmitrievich. Eventually, Shemyakin and Vysotsky released a unique vinyl that paid tribute to the disappearing Russian tradition of performed romances and became timeless classic.

The evening concluded with a gala reception at the Novikov restaurant in honour of the distinguished guests.