It’s hard to believe a film about hockey could be so political and relevant, offer up a scathing critique of cross cultural insensitivity and capitalism going off the rails, and entertain at the same time. Complete with gangsters, dancers and live bears serving beer on a hockey rink, Red Penguins tells the wild forgotten true story of capitalism and opportunism run amok in Moscow. Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the famed Red Army hockey team formed a joint venture that redefined what was possible in the new Russia.
Steven Warshaw, Gabe Polsky and Face2Face host David Peck talk about their new film, Red Penguins and themes of hockey, national pride, optimism and hope, cultural peculiarities, listening to others and capitalism run amok.
Eccentric marketing whiz Steve Warshaw, is sent to Moscow and tasked to transform the team into the greatest show in Russia, attracting some of the biggest names in Hollywood and advertising along the way. He takes the viewer on a bizarre journey highlighting a pivotal moment in U.S.-Russian relations during a lawless era when oligarchs made their fortunes and multiple murders went unsolved.
About our guests:
Steven Warshaw was the Pittsburgh Penguins man in charge on the ground in Moscow. With a ‘special talent for generating firestorms in arenas,’ Warshaw was instrumental in the success of the Russian Penguins and was asked to stay after the venture fell apart. He did not. He is currently the Arena Guest Services Supervisor at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Gabe Polsky wrote, directed, and produced the feature documentary In Search of Greatness, a cinematic journey into the secrets of genius as told through the greatest athletes of all time. It was released theatrically to critical acclaim in 2018 and was nominated several awards including a Writers’ Guild of America Award. In 2017, Gabe was the executive producer of Genius, the 10 time Emmy-nominated TV show on National Geographic about Albert Einstein. He and his brother Alan acquired the rights to the Albert Einstein estate and the best-selling Walter Isaacson biography, which became the bedrock of the series.
In 2015, Polsky directed, wrote and produced the award-winning documentary Red Army which was released by Sony Pictures Classics to universal acclaim. Executive produced by Jerry Weintraub and Werner Herzog, the film premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The story chronicled the epic rise and fall of the Soviet Union, through its famed Red Army hockey team.
Polsky co-directed and produced The Motel Life, a feature film starring Emile Hirsch, Dakota Fanning, and Steven Dorff. The film won numerous international awards and was described by Indiewire as “a perfectly formed indie with a heart of gold.” In 2016, The New Yorker commissioned Polsky to make a short documentary called The Blimp-Maker. Additional producing credits include Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans which was named in over 40 top-ten lists of 2009 and His Way , an Emmy-nominated documentary released by HBO in 2011.
Image Copyright: Norddeutscher Rundfunk and Studio Hamburg and Gabriel Polsky. Used with permission.
F2F Music and Image Copyright: David Peck and Face2Face.
For more information about David Peck’s podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit his site here.
With thanks to Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.