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Online Drinking Buddy

original title: Sobutylnik-online

2021, 48 min., color, Russian

DOCUMENTARY CATEGORY : Social / Society / Human


Svetlana Tretyakova


Director : Screenplay : Vladimir Nepevny
Cinematographer : Skype, Zoom
Producers : Vladimir Nepevny


FESTIVALS: Moscow Interntional Film Festival 2021 (EUPHORIA OF ISOLATION)



The film’s protagonist, Svetlana, during the Coronavirus Epidemic, like many, finds herself out of work. In order to keep busy and earn some money, she comes up with a new business – “Online drinking buddy”. For a fee, she’s ready to keep customers company if they’re looking for a partner they can have a drink and a heart-to-heart chat.
The film features unique material – recordings of Svetlana’s conversations with her “drinking pal” clients. People share their experiences of how they have survived quarantine and how the coronavirus has had an impact on their lives.


“In this sense, Drinking Companion Online can be seen as an example of modern minimalism, in which the person being filmed and the person who films act as co-directors on an equal footing. The film’s future protagonist Svetlana Troyekurova, having lost her job, came up with an occupation both not inconvenient and quite pleasant: she invited those who wished to talk to share a drink online. Besides many people tired of loneliness, isolation or an unfulfilled need to speak out, she was contacted by a well-known documentary filmmaker who offered her to make a film about it, since all her conversations could be recorded on the same computer. The result was a kind of exhibition of spontaneous teleportraits made in the virtual office of a non-professional but entertaining psychologist.”Victor Matizen, Literaturnaya Gazeta

“The demand was enormous. The compassionate Svetlana received thousands of requests a day; a virtual queue lined up to speak to her, and their intimate conversations were reminiscent of visits to a psychotherapist. Both sides were deeply satisfied: Svetlana, who was broke, got means of subsistence, while her interlocutors, having shared their secrets, felt less lonely and abandoned in the abyss of lockdown. These conversations that form the backbone of the Drinking Companion Online provide a unique glimpse into the condition not only of individuals, but of an entire society facing the unknown, a document of extreme times.
What are the prospects of the film?
Vladimir Nepevnyi: The distributor of the film, ANTIPODE, hopes to screen the film at other festivals and then release it in cinemas. At the premiere, the audience received it very well and laughed a lot. I think it was a laugh of recognition…”  – Valeriy Kichin, Rossiyskaya Gazeta