Table of contents:

Workplaces: interview with Liza Surganova, chief editor of KinoPoisk
Workplaces: interview with Liza Surganova, chief editor of KinoPoisk

About how one of the largest resources about cinema has changed in 15 years and what qualities are needed to become a good journalist.

Workplaces: interview with Liza Surganova, chief editor of KinoPoisk
Workplaces: interview with Liza Surganova, chief editor of KinoPoisk

"Now" KinoPoisk "is much more than just an encyclopedia" - about development and achievements

Tell us what the editor-in-chief of the most popular movie service is doing?

- My work can be divided into three parts. The first is working with the editorial board. This is an editorial strategy, coming up with new formats and areas of work, setting tasks, monitoring their implementation, recruiting the right people, and drawing up a budget. Such a crazy mix of creative and administrative work interspersed with the work of a psychologist.

The second is interaction with the rest of the KinoPoisk team (product, design, development, marketing) and alignment of editorial tasks in accordance with the strategy of the entire service. We are not just an ordinary media, but part of a large resource. And we constantly think about how the editors can benefit the entire service: to draw people's attention to different films, to encourage them to buy tickets from us or watch a movie in our online cinema, to work for the image of KinoPoisk.

And finally, communication with the film industry: from press releases in the mail to telephone conversations with PR specialists and producers, interview arrangements and planning joint events. Even when someone just needs to correct their page on KinoPoisk, they also very often come to me.

"KinoPoisk" recently turned 15 years old. How did you celebrate your anniversary?

- 15 years is a great event for us, so we celebrated our birthday two times. First, we had an internal event - a film festival for employees. We divided into teams, shot short trailers for famous films from the top 250 of KinoPoisk, and then watched them on the big screen. The best works were awarded. It turned out to be very fun and inspiring, because many of us first tried to invent and make our own little movie.

Liza Surganova: Employees of "KinoPoisk"
Liza Surganova: Employees of "KinoPoisk"

A week later, we organized a party for our partners and friends: actors, producers, directors, distributors and other representatives of the film industry. Together with the musician Vasya Zorky, we made a concert in the Central House of Architects, where various actors - from Gosha Kutsenko to Yulia Alexandrova - performed their favorite songs from films. We also presented an award to the best films, TV series, actors and directors in 15 years.


Sergey Bezrukov


Yulia Alexandrova

For 15 years, the resource has changed a lot. Tell us, what was he like at the very beginning and what he has become today?

- "KinoPoisk" in 2003 began as a base about cinema: a site with pages of films and persons, a collection of different lists. Now it is much more than just an encyclopedia.

"KinoPoisk" today is a site about cinema, where you can do everything that interests you: find out information about the film in the database, read news or interviews in our media, buy a ticket to the cinema, watch a movie or series online, leave a review and / or rate the film.

And if we talk about your achievements as editor-in-chief? What has changed in the past two years?

- Probably the most important thing we did was draw the attention of a wide audience to the fact that KinoPoisk has its own media. If earlier it was known mainly by representatives of the industry, for whom it was important to post some kind of news or interview, or hardcore users of the site, now I regularly hear reviews from people who have nothing to do with cinema. For example: “You've published a great article”, “I watched your cool video”, “I didn’t even know that there are materials about cinema on the site, but now I see how many of them”.

Liza Surganova: The KinoPoisk team after an interview with Konstantin Khabensky
Liza Surganova: The KinoPoisk team after an interview with Konstantin Khabensky

I am not from the world of film journalism, and it was important for me to attract the attention of a different, new audience to the service. Therefore, we constantly tried ourselves in various new formats, invited strong authors to write for us - from well-known film critics to social and political journalists, agreed to exchange materials in social networks with different publications - from Meduza to Arzamas.

Finally, we redesigned and redesigned the media navigation. Previously, news and articles were scattered across different parts of the site, and it was not easy to stumble upon them. Now they can be quickly found in the header and, which is very important, on the pages of films and persons. And we made the design of the materials themselves more modern and clean, removed all unnecessary elements from the pages. It is still far from ideal, but, in my opinion, our articles have now become much more pleasant to read.

I am also very proud of our YouTube channel.

We rethought the approach to video and created an educational and entertainment channel on how to watch and understand movies.

We took the video essay genre popular in the West as a basis. In short videos - usually from 5 to 20 minutes - bloggers and film experts analyze the movie from the point of view of direction, script, cinematography and literally frame by frame explain what the author wanted to say and why this or that film became so important. Why do we look at the characters from this point of view, how editing affects our perception of the film, why this particular color scheme was chosen, and so on. Everything is told simply and easily.

This is an immersion in the language of cinema, which, it seems to me, is sorely lacking today. And this is an alternative to many YouTube critics, whose main technique was to make fun of cinema. During the time that we have been doing this, the channel has grown from 30 to 160 thousand subscribers, and is growing faster and faster. Of course, this is not yet millions, but every such video is greeted very positively.

You are used to the fact that the Internet is usually half and half: there are a lot of haters and positive reviews. Here, each video gets a bunch of likes, some three dislikes and a lot of laudatory comments.

“I am in favor of employees inventing things and making them” - about working with a team and the qualities of a good journalist

Can you tell us a little more about the team: how do you interact with employees, what qualities should a candidate possess who dreams of becoming a part of KinoPoisk?

- We have a small editorial office, a little more than 10 people. Therefore, we all communicate quite closely. Well, I regularly meet with individuals, discuss their projects, tasks, together we come up with what can be improved.

In my opinion, one of the most important qualities for those who work at KinoPoisk or want to join us is the love of cinema. And this applies not only to the editorial office.

Professional qualities are of course also important. But at the same time, we often take people without much experience and help them grow. In a sense, I myself am such a person, because I came to KinoPoisk without any experience of managing the editorial board.

Liza Surganova: KinoPoisk editorial staff at the 15th anniversary celebration
Liza Surganova: KinoPoisk editorial staff at the 15th anniversary celebration

In people, I always value initiative, organization and independence. I want employees to come up with things that they want to do and do them. But only so that they themselves could organize all this, without shifting it onto someone's shoulders.

I also like working with people who want to constantly develop, are not afraid to try something new, are not afraid of responsibility. And I try to give my employees opportunities for such development.

Where did you work before KinoPoisk?

Liza Surganova: editorial office
Liza Surganova: editorial office

- After university, I worked at for almost three years and left there together with the whole team when Galya Timchenko was fired. Then she took up business journalism - at Forbes and RBC. Everywhere I wrote about media and sometimes about cinema.

Did you study at the Faculty of Journalism?

- No. To be honest, I wasn't even going to go into journalism, although it was very common among my fellow humanities. I studied to be an English and Spanish translator at Moscow State University, but after graduation I still somehow ended up in the media. Probably because then it was the simplest and most obvious option. And then it got dragged on.

Do you think academic education is needed for those who want to work in this industry? And in general - is it necessary?

- I have never heard a single positive opinion about journalism education. At least in the form in which it now exists in Russia. I have many friends who graduated from the Faculty of Journalism, and none of them thinks that this was decisive in his life and career, and without this he would not have been able to become a journalist. On the contrary, I know many very strong journalists who do not have journalism or any higher education at all.

That is, there must be some talent, a desire to be a journalist?

In general, I am always in favor of working for love. If you want to do something, you will find a way. If you dream of becoming a journalist, you will interview people, come up with topics, write notes and collaborate with different publications, gradually gaining experience. The presence of education is not so important here.

Journalism is a craft. You still get all the most important skills and knowledge just when you start working. But talent, of course, is also important.

Can you name a few qualities of a good journalist?

- In a broad sense - communication skills. Understanding how to find the people you need, how to get them to answer questions and how to generally make them start talking to you. It often takes a lot of time and patience to build a trusting relationship with a source. You have to be a bit of a psychologist, a bit of a diplomat. And be prepared to speak a wide variety of languages.

The second is obstinacy and the ability to seek. Don't just look on the Internet, but understand where to look for hard-to-find information. Don't give up if you can't find it right away, try different options.

Another important quality is honesty. I really do not like it when journalists introduce themselves as someone else in order to get information, or in some other way deceive their sources.

Also, journalists should not insult people, deliberately injure them or provoke them. I recently heard a story about how reporters from one federal channel brought the mother of a sick child to tears in order to evoke certain emotions in the audience. It doesn't have to be that way.

"Our task is to make an interesting publication about cinema for a wide audience" - about the difficulties and plans

Let's go back to KinoPoisk. Tell us what difficulties do you face and how do you solve them?

The main professional difficulties - not only mine, but of the whole team - are associated with the fact that KinoPoisk is a large resource with a huge number of tasks and a long history.

The failed website restart in 2015 had a profound psychological impact on both users and employees. After him, everyone was very wary of change.

We certainly learned a lesson from this: now we approach the changes smoothly, inform users about what we are doing and why, regularly communicate with them on our blog, respond to comments, including angry ones.

When we redesigned the media section, we were certainly worried about how people would perceive it. And we told the users in detail why we are doing this, offering to test the new design. Yes, many took him with hostility with the words that are already familiar to us: “You don’t need to change anything!”. But there were also a lot of comments: "Cool, it's high time, we are glad that you are changing, and we are ready to take part in this." It was a pleasant surprise for us.

Obviously, KinoPoisk needs to change and become more modern. It's just that these changes are now happening much more calmly and smoothly.

What are your plans for the development of KinoPoisk?

Liza Surganova: At the KinoPoisk screening
Liza Surganova: At the KinoPoisk screening

- We will continue to update the design to make the entire service more convenient and modern. In the media, we will experiment with formats and new authors: here our task is to make an interesting publication about cinema for a wide, non-film fancier audience.

In the online cinema, we plan to expand the library of films and TV series, with a special emphasis on exclusiveness that attracts the audience. We already have Castle Rock, Discovery of Witches and Manifesto - and there will be more and more such exclusive projects. By the way, we recently agreed on cooperation with Amediateka, which means that in the spring our users will be able to watch Game of Thrones directly on KinoPoisk.

If we talk about more ambitious plans, then this is personalization (we want to recommend films to people that are of interest to people as accurately as possible) and a denser bundle of different parts of the resource with each other. So, in the updated media design, we added cards with special buttons: our user, reading an article, can immediately place a movie in the expected ones, go to buy tickets or watch it online. We want the user to spend as much time with us as possible without leaving anywhere else.

"Most of the time I move between meetings with a laptop and a notebook" - about time management, hobbies and the workplace

How do you allocate your time with so many tasks? Do you use time management techniques?

- With that, I'm pretty bad. The only serious time management that has appeared in my life is a child.

If earlier I could sit at work until 10-11 pm, now I often need to leave to let the nanny go, which means that at 7-8 pm I have to leave the office.

Working at home also does not work: a small child requires attention and care, and sitting at a computer is not very compatible with this. So I don't have any techniques, but there is such a natural limitation (laughs).

What about free time? How do you spend it? Do you have a hobby?

- It turned out funny. When I was thinking about where to go to work after a couple of years in business publications, I realized that I really like everything related to cinema: watching it, discussing it, interviewing the people who create it. And I thought, "It would be great to work in the cinema, so that the hobby becomes your work." And so it happened. And now, when, in my free time (in general, of course, you cannot ask people with small children about this!) I watch some kind of TV series, I can console myself with the fact that it is necessary for work. On the other hand, I constantly feel that I sorely lack the time to watch everything I need to.

Therefore, now from the real hobbies I have only football. I play GirlPower, a women's soccer club that my friends made and which will turn five next year.


Why is football cool?

  • First, it is a regular sport. It's always great to run in the fresh air, even in winter. And this is a team sport, a gambling sport, which is perfect for people who, like me, are rather bored of going to the gym.
  • Secondly, it's a great brain reboot. It is impossible to play and think about work or any problems.
  • Third, it's just fun. We have a great team and great coaches. GirlPower is very different from football clubs or clubs with such a Soviet spirit, where you are trained to achieve results. Here everyone is playing for fun: if you do it badly or well, you will not be kicked out of the team.

What does your workplace look like?


- Most of the time I move between meetings with a laptop and a notebook and I am not particularly attached to the desktop. Therefore, there are no work pieces on it, all the most important things are always with me.

The rest is for comfort and pleasant memories. Badges from conferences and festivals, tickets from the premieres of the Cannes Film Festival, postcards from colleagues, photographs of your favorite actors, a cat brought from Japan by a colleague, a dog from the Isle of Dogs brought by another colleague from Berlin, and a Paddington bear donated by Volga to the release of the second film. Above the table are posters of favorite films: "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Ecstasy".

Life hacking from Lisa Surganova


For the 15th anniversary, the editors and I made material: each employee wrote about 10 of his favorite films. I think this is a super-list of films for every taste: you can just follow it and watch everything that you haven't seen yet. I've decided to make myself such a challenge for the New Year holidays.


The only book I managed to buy for myself, and not for my daughter at the last Non / fiction fair, is Time to Break Ice by Katerina Gordeeva and Chulpan Khamatova. On the one hand, this is a story (sometimes quite personal) about the life of two of our beautiful contemporaries, presented in the form of either dialogue or monologues. On the other hand, this is a book about how the “Perestroika generation” feels itself today, what is happening with television journalism and the acting profession, and, finally, the most important thing is how charity works in Russia and how the “Give Life” foundation appeared and developed. And what joys, sorrows, sacrifices and compromises await those who decide to devote their lives to charity.


This autumn is generally rich in cool TV shows, both Russian and foreign. I watched new projects from TV-3 and TNT-Premier with great pleasure: “Call DiCaprio!” and "An ordinary woman". Excellent actors, bold themes - for several years now there has been nothing so fresh in Russian cinema.

Of the foreign ones, one of my favorites is American Vandal, a Netflix mockumentary about two teenagers who are fond of investigative journalism. Absolutely idiotic and indecent things are happening in their school: unknown persons draw penises on teachers' cars, and they are trying to find out who did it with absolutely serious faces. Very funny.

Well, simply the best TV series - "The Good Wife" about a law firm in Chicago, as well as his spin-off "Good Struggle". Very witty and relevant: the writers constantly come up with episodes and jokes about Trump, wiretapping, social networks and the like. It is also a set of very interesting professional and ethical cases: how to negotiate, convince people that they are right or make decisions in controversial situations, play with words and legal precedents, or defend a guilty person.

Podcasts and online lectures

I listen to podcasts a little, I'm not a big fan of them. Sometimes I listen to podcasts of my friends from Meduza. But most of all I love the lectures of "Arzamas". Every time my husband and I are driving somewhere far away by car, we turn them on and with great pleasure we spend several hours talking about art, history and literature.

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