From the Detroit Free Press…
The dramatic story of the five Russian hockey stars who helped propel the Detroit Red Wings to two Stanley Cup championships is the focus of Freep Film Festival’s opening night film.
The world premiere of “The Russian Five” documentary will open the fifth annual Freep Film Festival on April 11 at the Fillmore Detroit.
The movie, directed by Port Huron native Joshua Riehl, includes new interviews with Russian Five stars Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Vyacheslav Kozlov and Viacheslav Fetisov, along with other Red Wing and NHL greats, including Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Darren McCarty and Wayne Gretzky. Top brass like Jim Devellano, Scotty Bowman and Tom Wilson also appear, as does actor and super fan Jeff Daniels.
The film gives the behind-the-scenes story of the Red Wings’ strategy in luring the five Russian players, including the under-cover-of-night defections of Fedorov and Vladimir Konstantinov. It also provides new insight into many key moments in Red Wings’ history, including coach Bowman’s decision to play all of the Russian Five at the same time, the bloody rivalry between the Wings and Colorado Avalanche, the 1996-97 Stanley Cup run and the horrific limousine accident that seriously injured Konstantinov and masseuse Sergei Mnatsakanov in the celebration aftermath.
“I think the story of the Russian Five is one of the most exciting chapters in the history of sports in Detroit, and I’m absolutely thrilled to screen our documentary at the Freep Film Festival,” said director Riehl. “There won’t be a better audience for this film anywhere in the world, and I can’t wait to share it with the people of Detroit.”