04.11.2023–08.07.2024 MOSCOW, VDNH


What is the connection between cinema and neurobiology: Alexander Zharov, CEO of Gazprom-Media Holding, spoke to young people at the RUSSIA EXPO

What is the connection between cinema and neurobiology: Alexander Zharov, CEO of Gazprom-Media Holding, spoke to young people at the RUSSIA EXPO
Expo News
Photo: Press service of the Russian Society "Knowledge"

Alexander Zharov, CEO of Gazprom-Media Holding, spoke about the kind of heroes the modern film industry needs, explained how knowledge of neurobiology can help manage viewers' emotions, and what trends in content production are relevant now at a meeting with young people at the International RUSSIA EXPO on March 22. The presentation took place in the Gazprom Pavilion and was organized by the Russian Society "Knowledge", the general partner of the Exposition's educational program.

The meeting with Alexander Zharov was held in the form of a lively dialog with the audience, everyone could share their opinions and ask questions. At the beginning of the conversation, the head of the country's largest media holding company said that last year Gazprom-Media Holding launched its own neural production studio to optimize work with content.

"We use new technologies such as artificial intelligence, neural networks, user personality profiling to process content faster and better understand what the viewer expects from us. And we not only use content generated by artificial intelligence, but neural networks also help us to process archive content, implement special promotional projects, and create virtual presenters," said Alexander Zharov.

Photo: Press service of the Russian Society "Knowledge"

The relationship between film art and the basics of neurobiology became an important topic for discussion. Alexander Zharov explained how the human brain and its limbic system, where emotions originate, work, what chemical reactions occur in the body when watching a particular genre and how all this knowledge can be used in content creation. According to the lecturer, emotions affect all systems of the body, and in addition to changes in mood, even the physical state of a person often changes. One of the most important characteristics of emotions is their connection to cognitive processes, memory, and imagination.

"By understanding how emotions are set up, where they originate and how they affect the body, many screenwriters, directors, creative producers can build and predict their work. Horror, thrillers contribute to the release of neurotransmitters such as adrenaline and cortisol, which allows you to get those experiences that are unavailable in normal life. Watching comedies releases endorphins, adventure movies release oxytocin, which helps us relax. The sadness, sorrow and anxiety we feel when watching dramas give us an opportunity to release the accumulated psychological tension. Melodramas and romantic movies give a sense of happiness and peace. Watching an action movie allows you to release anger, sublimate aggression," explained Alexander Zharov.

Alexander Zharov paid special attention to the importance of humor and the popularity of comedies. As a striking example, he mentioned the New Year's comedy film "Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Everything," which had a total audience of 42.5 million people on TNT channel and in online cinemas "Kinopoisk" and PREMIER. The movie turned out to be the highest rated broadcast on TNT over the past five years and the most popular movie of 2023 on all TV channels among young viewers aged 14-44.  Comedies are especially favored by young people.

Photo: Press service of the Russian Society "Knowledge"

The National Advertising Alliance recently conducted a study that found that among young people aged 15 to 24, 36% prefer the comedy genre specifically, followed by horror at 28%, anime at 26%, and sci-fi is favored by 23%*. *("Television in the Eyes of Viewers", NAA and NSC).

"If we talk about formats on TV, the most popular one is TV series. According to Mediascope, 28% of viewers want to watch them, 19% are interested in entertainment programs, 11%* like to watch full-length movies," said Alexander Zharov. *(Mediascope TV Index, all Russia, population 4+, watching at home and in the country, 2023. Multiplex channels and large network channels. Study "TV Viewing in 2023").

As for the most popular movie hero with whom Russian viewers tend to associate themselves, this is a person who is honest, defends his interests, and is ready to fight for his family, city, and country. And as Alexander Zharov noted, this image is exactly in the archetype of people living in Russia, and such characters will prevail in the TV shows in the future.

A separate topic for discussion was the sensational series "The Boy's Word: Blood on the Asphalt", which was released last year on platforms and which will premiere on television this spring on NTV. The lecturer emphasized that the project accurately captured the spirit of the time to which it was dedicated, discussed with the kids why the series was so popular, what important values they realized while watching it and whether society needs such film works about teenagers.

"There are two artistic techniques: you can bring forward a positive character and say in the poster language: "Do like him!". Or, on the contrary, you can show a negative character and work on the antithesis. The task of the master is to make a movie in such a way so that everything looks natural, and the viewer made the right conclusions at the end. The series "The Boy's Word" is a good project, it shows the underside of life in all its unsightliness. The question is what conclusions people will draw after watching it," said Alexander Zharov, answering a question from the audience.

Fairy tale movies and cartoons as an all-time favorite genre among Russians also became a topic for discussion.

Photo: Press service of the Russian Society "Knowledge"

"A national fairy tale conveys important basic principles of existence of the nation that lives on that territory with the help of symbolic stories. A fairy tale improves, enriches, humanizes children's psyche. Fairy tales are also loved by adults, because they give an opportunity to return to the world of childhood. The legacy of fairy tales goes with us through life, awakening curiosity and emotional experience, and cinema has become a successful relay of fairy tales," emphasized the lecturer.

Alexander Zharov shared information about the nearest fairy tale movie premieres of Gazprom-Media Holding. This is the blockbuster "The Wizard of Emerald City" produced by Central Partnership, Kinoslovo, CGF, and Nikita Mikhalkov's TRITE Studios and supported by the Cinema Fund. It is scheduled to be released on January 1, 2025. The expected premieres also include the feature-length animated film " Dinosaur's Doctor", which the Central Partnership film company is developing together with the YARKO animation company (both companies are part of Gazprom-Media Holding). The premiere is scheduled for 2025.

There was also discussion of the rapid development of online movie theaters, including PREMIER, which is part of Gazprom-Media Holding. Here Alexander Zharov noted that the Russian audience of online platforms is increasingly choosing domestic content. Thus, in 2023, 97% of PREMIER platform viewers chose Russian products, and only 44% of users watched foreign content. In many ways, the rise in popularity of domestic content is facilitated by the emergence of own original projects (originals).  In 2023 alone, 65 original projects were released on the PREMIER platform. PREMIER became the leader among Russian online movie theaters by the number of its own original projects last year.

The Gazprom Lecture Hall at the RUSSIA EXPO, where young people had a conversation with Alexander Zharov, regularly hosts meetings with interesting and influential media people. The events are free of charge for visitors, and thanks to live broadcasts on the RuTube channel "Gazprom at the RUSSIA EXPO", every resident of the country can attend them. Recordings of the meetings on media development, content creation, blogging, the movie industry and production can be found here.

Photo: Press service of the Russian Society "Knowledge"

Gazprom-Media Holding is Russia's largest media holding company that has been contributing to the development of the domestic media industry based on the best media and technological expertise for more than 25 years. Gazprom-Media Holding's business covers all media segments: information broadcasting, television, cinema, content production and distribution, digital services, radio, press and online publications, influencer marketing and sales of commercials. The holding implements a large program of corporate social responsibility and creates a powerful human creative resource.

The Russian Society "Knowledge" is the general partner of the RUSSIA EXPO educational program designed to introduce the wide audience to the achievements of our country in various spheres. Lectures, masterclasses, marathons and many other events organized by the "Knowledge" Society become a space for young people to communicate with experts in science, business, sports, art and technology. You can find the program on the official website, and watch the broadcast on the Znanie.TV channel.

The International RUSSIA EXPO is the most important achievements of the country gathered on one platform. Throughout the Exposition, cultural events, a rich business and educational program await the guests. The expositions of 89 Russian regions, leading federal agencies, corporations and public organizations are presented to the visitors. More than 9 million people have already visited the Exposition. The International RUSSIA EXPO takes place at VDNH in Moscow from November 4 to July 8.

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