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FILM: Exporting Raymond

After a successful nine-year run with the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, co-creator Philip Rosenthal was invited to work on recreating the series for Russian television.  The resulting fish-out-of-water experience is detailed in the new comedic documentary Exporting Raymond

The film opens with a short overview of Phil’s work on the series and some insight into his life featuring a visit to his boyhood home in upstate New York where we meet his parents, who end up being some of the standout comedic stars of the film.  We then follow Phil to Russia where, as one might expect, things are run in an entirely different way and the cultural and personality clashes become the guts of the movie.

The film offers a look into both the backroom of Hollywood (with it’s parallels to Moscow’s less glitzy film world) and a real first-person account of modern Russia as we meet and learn about what might be a normal life in the country from Phil’s chauffeur, translator, and film crew.

What really makes this film successful is Rosenthal’s expressive, straight-forward nature and his warm-hearted persistence in trying to keep the Russian version of the show, Everybody Loves Kostya, focused on being relatable and true to life.  The film illustrates that there are some universals in these two very different cultures in marriage, family, and the television establishment, which allow them to find some common ground.  Ultimately, the documentary is as funny as it is interesting and even if you’ve never seen Everybody Loves Raymond you’ll still enjoy this film.

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About Tim Needles

Tim Needles is an artist, photographer, humorist, and writer from Long Island, NY. His writing and art work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and publications around New York as well as the Photographer’s Forum, French Photo, the New York Times, and LI Pulse magazine. He is also an educator and currently teaches art and film at Smithtown, NY and as an Education Leader for Adobe. He was recently the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Award in Washington DC and serves as the director of Strictly Students, a non-for-profit group for media and education. His work can be seen on his website: www.timneedles.com
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