Red Penguin Review – Solid Doc on Marketing, Money, and The Russian Mob

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Red Penguins, from Universal Pictures, presents the story behind a brilliant idea, from an American investor, to revitalize the once winningest and revered Russian hockey team to the glory days of global dominance and national pride.

Directed by Gabe Polsky, the documentary is narrated by several key players including Steven Warshaw, a then young marketing exec, who fell into a dream job and was sent to Russia to essentially resurrect a dead brand, build the team and create opportunities for sponsorship's.

The documentary begins with an overview of the dominance of the Russian hockey team, with play by play calls and sports clips of the glory days, there is no doubt the players trained under the soviet system were superior to any nations.


Helmut Newton: The Bad and The Beautiful Review – Extraordinary Retrospective of A Master


Paralleling the dominance of the hockey team, Russian civil unrest is prevalent and ushers in the decline of the sport as a global superpower with the overthrown of Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev and the end of what many viewed as The Cold War.

Communism was essentially dead, and capitalism was the new normal for the Russians. By the 1990s, many of the ice legends had been picked up by the NHL and immigrated to America to further their careers and bring the championship trophy home.

Around this time, as the documentary goes, Harold Baldwin the then part owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, came up with a brilliant idea, and along with the actor Michael J. Fox, and a group of investors they set out to revitalize the once great Russian hockey teams.

 

What they didn't realize is the level of decline and erosion at every level of the sport, from the arena to the training schedule to the team uniforms and most importantly the fans. Russian hockey had deteriorated and was virtually unrecognizable.

Enter Steven Warshaw, the young marketing exec who explains, the combination of circumstances made him the perfect candidate to leave his life in New York City, and be shipped to Russia, for what became a chance of a lifetime.

Warshaw was given free reign and unlimited resources to make this venture a commercial success. He reported to his superiors in Manhattan who reported to Howard Baldwin. Seizing the opportunity, a new era in Russian hockey was born.


The Cuban Review – Delightful, A Testament to the Power of Music


Soon, the arena was back to pristine condition, the team uniforms were new, they had logos, a team mascot, Alexander Von Bush, who is also featured in interviews, limited rink board sponsorship's, everything except, of course, the fans.

Gathering hometown support became another of Warshaw's obstacles and as it was Russia, during a time of deep economic downturn, fan appreciation nights, unlike anything ever witnessed in the states became his priority. Slap shot contests, free beer night, giveaways, and the uniquely Russian brand of cheerleaders.

With Nike and Samsung on board, it was only a matter of time before one of the biggest brands in the world, the Walt Disney Company came knocking.


Rebuilding Paradise Review – Haunting Docu-Drama of California’s Deadliest Wildfire


Then Chairman Michael Eisner, saw the opportunity to advance the Disney brand into the region, not simply Russia, but the surrounding nations, and soon the Wonderful World of Disney was on the ice in Russia underwriting a $100million dollar investment. The marketing machine at Disney soon had the Red Penguins featured in merchandise, new bolder logos, a US tour was planned, trips to Disneyland. With Disney involved the sky was the limit.

With the amount of cash flowing in from the corporate sponsorship's, it was only a matter of time before the Russian Mob entered the scene. Once they began to muscle in, the system of survival changed. Direct bribes were paid out to police for fabricated traffic infractions, personal security and bodyguards were hired and kept on retainer.

This escalated until executions were planned can carried out. Warshaw had a price on his head, five of his colleagues were murdered and the amount of theft had exceeded what was considered acceptable.

The documentary also points out that the investors some financial loss, and fiscal mismanagement, the amount the Red Penguins Army liaison and team overseer was stealing was more than $1 million and the high stakes gamble, which did work for a short time and did advance traditional sport and entertainment, was quickly coming to an end.

In addition to Warshaw, Red Penguins features interviews with Howard Baldwin, former Pittsburgh Penguins owner, Valery Gushin, General manager of the Russian Penguins Hockey Team, Victor Gusev, the Russian Penguins Liaison, Alexander Lyubimov, Russian television personality, Tom Ruta, CFO and Co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the Russian Penguins Venture, Alexander Von Bush was the mascot of the Russian Penguins and Alexander Baranovsky is a Russian General who was the head of CSKA during the Russian Penguins Venture.


Jimmy Carter Rock and Roll President Review – Four Stars! An Entertaining, Engaging, Oscar Bound, Biopic


Red Penguins pulls together a time in history which highlights the rise and fall of Russian Hockey, the end of The Cold War, the decline of the Soviet Union and a brilliant idea which was supposed to reinvigorate national pride, and do some good for the local economy along the way.

A documentary worth seeing, Red Penguins premieres September 5, 2020 at the Toronto Film Festival. Enlightening, Informative, an insider's view to marketing, money, and the Russian mob. See it.

Haute Tease

  • Op/Ed: The Chicken or the Egg - and the Rooster

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Children who grow up on a farm learn the "facts of life" at an early age, such as the observation in an old song: "They're laying eggs now/ Just like they used ter/ Ever since that rooster/ Came into our yard."

     
  • Before You Know It Review – Perfect, Authentic, Genuine, Captivating

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Before You Know It, from 1091 Media and El Dorado Pictures, brings to the screen the story of family, secrets, lies, and life in Manhattan, the deals we make, the lives we live, hopes, dreams, life and loves.

     
  • Beltway Insider: NATO Summit; Iraqi ISIS/ISIL Syrian; Ebola Numbers; Al-Qaida Operative Dead

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama traveled to Wales, United Kingdom, for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit where he met with world leaders from the twenty-eight member nations to discuss the challenges and direction of the 65 year-old organization.

     
  • Swiss Forensic Specialist ID Frozen Couple

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Two mummified bodies, well preserved and intact, were identified by Swiss forensic specialist as that of a husband and wife who disappeared nearly 75 years ago after telling their children they were going to feed the animals.

     
  • World News: After Daesh, an Islamic State 2.0

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The death of the Caliph Abu Bakr El-Baghdadi marks the end of the Islamic State in its territorial version identified. But this disappearance does not announce the appearance of a new state defeated by geographical ties in favor of a sprawling spread?

     
  • Celebrity Interviews: The Cast of The Last Word Talk on The Movie, Ageism, Music, and The Future

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Bleecker Street Media recently released The Last Word, a timeless story of finding the missing pieces that, through discordant beginnings, are fine tuned into melodies, that somehow finding the right blends, the harmonies, that becomes treasured memories. 

     
  • Beltway Insider: State of The Union; Saudi King Dies; UK Prime Minster Visits WH; ISIS Update

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address calling on all Americans to complete the effort each has invested in rebuilding from the shattered ruins of the economic collapse that had left economies of the world distressed.

     
  • Zuzu Still Thinks IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A Conversation with Karolyn Grimes

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Nothing completes the holiday experience more than an extra serving—to go with the booze and candied yams—of Frank Capra’s yule-tide yarn, of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. It’s a picture that can melt even the iciest of hearts and for those of us grown-ups with no self-worth (or money) in December, there’s just something downright conciliatory about it.

     
  • De Minsk à Moscou, Autre temps et Autre Histoire

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    La contestation qui fait rage depuis des mois en Biélorussie met en évidence la faillite d’un système politique obsolète mais aussi toute la puissance et l’influence diplomatiques du Président russe Vladimir Poutine, dernier soutien d’Alexandre Loukachenko, le dirigeant biélorusse.  

  • Photography Accessories Review – Cool Ways To Capture it All

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Digital photography has revolutionized the way we take, share and store photos. Whether you're a pro looking for a better way to showcase your portfolio or simply striving for the perfect selfie, these four photography tools will bring your shots to life in entirely new and exciting ways.

     
  • Ketel One Vodka Celebrates the Legacy of "The King" with Launch of "Arnold Palmer Collector's Edition" Bottle

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Rooted in Mr. Palmer's winning tradition and honoring his unparalleled legacy, the Nolet family has created a limited edition Ketel One Vodka bottle as a "thank you" to Arnold Palmer for the impact he had on the world and the game many love.  

  • World News: Iran State News Claims 80 Americans Dead; US Counters with Zero American Casualties

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The feared Iranian response to the targeted killing of Qassem Soleimani, the powerful head of Iran's Quds Force, has passed with hardly a whimper. Dozens of missiles were fired at an America base in Iraq with no casualties.

     
  • Donald Trump Lists Beverly Hills Mansion

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Even the most politically disinterested person has not escaped being gobsmacked by what might be the strangest presidential campaign in American history. Candidates are scrutinized and bicker on everything from their marital history and health to even their choice of homes.

     
  • Money News: North American, European Markets Close Down; Asian Split

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average, fell prey to the predicted Bear market taking a hit for the second straight week, closing the trading week down with triple digit losses setting a world tone with eight of the ten most watched market in the world closing down.

     
  • Slimdown Secrets of Food & Fitness Superstars

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen can be tough. Those who struggle with weight loss and maintaining healthy lifestyle choices can feel like being trapped in a forever pattern of success, failure, judgment, repeat.