New Christian Films From Russia - With English Subtitles

Supporting traditional Christian morality through the creation of quality television programs, Russian filmmakers are shaping the culture, positively influencing the next generation. English subtitles for these films are planned for release soon.

This article from our archives was first published on RI in March 2019

There are a number of good Christian films, which already have English subtitles available now. Here is a link to some of the best ones: Christian Movies in Russia

There are additional Christian films from Russia, which should have English subtitles available very soon. Here is a sneak peek at some of them. Click the links below to see preview video clips without subtitles:

  • Saints Peter & Fevronia — This is a full-length animated film about the patron saints of marriage & the family. It has action, dialogue, romance, and battle scenes.

    Even without subtitles, the following trailer gives a good feel for what this movie has to offer:

    The following music video also gives a good overview of this wonderful Russian movie. One of Russia's top pop singers performed this song especially for the new film:


  • The Gift of God — Touching story includes animated cameo footage of Tsar Nicholas II and the royal family:

  • Second Episode of Raskol — Christian TV series about the most violent schism in Russian Church history:
  • Nails — Dramatic short film about the pain caused by careless words, and the importance of controlling the tongue:

  • Fr. Seraphim Rose — This documentary provides a biographical look at Russia's favorite American monk:

To make it possible for us to release English subtitles for these films, we are requesting donations. Some donors may be able to sponsor English subtitles for a full-length film, donating $500 or more. Some donors may be able to contribute $10 or $20. Others will be in between. If enough people join forces and make this a priority, then we can work together and get this done. It will be a spiritually beneficial gift for our children!

To make this happen, do these three things:

  1. Send us an email, and tell us which film you want translated into English
  2. In the email, let us know the amount being contributed
  3. Make a donation to support this effort

It is important to send us an email, so that we know your donation belongs in the fund for creating English subtitles. If we don't receive an email, we will assume it belongs in the general fund for running the Russian Faith website. So if you are donating specifically for English subtitles, please let us know.

Send us an email at this address: 

What is the best amount to donate? That depends on which film you choose. It costs less to create English subtitles for short films, than it does for long ones. At the end of this article, some helpful guidelines are provided.

It may only take an hour or two to watch a film, but creating quality English subtitles for a movie takes much longer. Here are the reasons why:

For a short film, approximately one hour in length, how much effort does it take to add English subtitles?

Step 1: Acquiring Quality Film Copy — 1 hour

  • The Russian film has to be located on Yandex Video, Vimeo, or another site.
  • Using special software, the film has to be downloaded to a video file.
  • In some cases, video editing software is needed to remove advertisements.

Step 2: Getting a Russian Transcript — 4 hours

  • The video file is sent to a person who is fluent in Russian.
  • The person watches the video, pausing it frequently, typing—in Russian—every word that is said.
  • It normally takes 3 to 4 times the length of the video, to type a transcript of the video.

Step 3: Translating the Transcript into English — 8 hours

  • The transcript is sent to a person who is fluent in English.
  • The person translates all the text, and types an English version of the transcript.

Step 4: Creating a Subtitle Text File With Timestamps — 8 hours

  • The Russian and English transcripts are sent to a person who is both bilingual and computer literate.
  • The person creates a special ".srt" subtitle text file that can be recognized by video editing software.
  • While watching the video, the person carefully notices the exact time at which a particular Russian phrase is spoken.
  • The timestamp is entered into the text file, followed by the corresponding English phrase.
  • Special care is taken to make sure the phrases entered are neither too short (making them disappear from the screen too quickly), nor too long (making them take up too much space and look awkward at the bottom of the screen). This is more difficult than it sounds, and often multiple attempts are necessary to get the subtitles to "look right" on screen.

Step 5: Recording a New Video File With Subtitles — 1 hour

  • Using video editing software, a person combines the video file and the subtitle file into a new film that has the subtitles permanently "burned in" to the video.
  • This way, viewers don't have to figure out how to "turn on" the subtitles. On this version of the film, the English subtitles are always visible. (If viewers want to see the film without subtitles, they can simply go online and watch the original version of the video without subtitles.)

Step 6: Proofreading / Re-Recording — 2 hours

  • After all of this work, it is still normal for a few errors to slip through. A word may have been misspelled, a translation error may be identified, or the timing may be off for a particular subtitle. Correcting these errors takes time. The first step is simply to watch the video once or twice, and to write down any errors that are detected.
  • The second step is to go back and correct the errors. This means editing the subtitle file, and then using software to create an updated video file.
  • The updated video then needs to be watched again, to make sure there are not any remaining errors. If errors are found again, then the error correction process must be repeated.

Step 7: Embedding Video on the Russian Faith Website — 1 hour

  • The video now has English subtitles, and it is time to make it available to the world. It has to be uploaded to a web server, so that it can be viewed online.
  • A new article is created on the Russian Faith website, introducing the new film. The film itself is embedded into the new article.
  • The new article is published and shared on social media, letting everyone know the new film is available.

TOTAL: 25 hours of work to add English subtitles to a single one-hour film.

Of course, every video is different. Some films are a little easier to translate, while some are more difficult. So the total amount of work can vary slightly from one film to another.

On average, it is easy to see why it can take $450 - $650 to add English subtitles to a one-hour video, and anywhere from $800 - $1200 to add English subtitles to a full-length two-hour movie. Even short clips — like this brief video about Christian martyrs from Persia — can take $40 or more to get subtitles added properly. 

We have already created English subtitles for the first episode of Raskol, and also for several Christian cartoons for children. We would love to do more, and as you can see, the process is time consuming. So we need your help.

Scene from film about Saints Peter & Fevronia

Here are some guidelines on how to calculate the best donation to make, based on the length of film you choose:

  1. $800 or more — Full length movie, such as Saints Peter & Fevronia.
  2. $450 to $650 — One-hour film, such as episodes of Raskol, and programs in the Sophia series.
  3. $225 to $275 — 1/2-hour program, such as The Gift of God, the documentary about Fr. Seraphim Rose, or Nails.
  4. $40 — Five or ten minute show, like one of these programs about the Lives of Christian Saints, or additional episodes of The Primary Chronicle.
  5. $20 or more — Partially support any program you want. Let us know which one. After several viewers donate funds for that same program, and the combined amount is enough to support the translation effort, then we will create English subtitles for the film.

These are only guidelines. Of course you may contribute whatever amount you are able.

Just remember:

  • If one person is very generous, donating enough to create subtitles for an entire film, it benefits more than just one person. It also makes it possible for several thousand Christians to watch the same film in English. What a gift!
  • If many people work together, it gets the same job done. If thirty people become donors, and each person donates $20 to help with a particular film, we get the same results. Then we can afford to create English subtitles for an entire film.

So whether you do it singlehandedly, or whether you work together as a team, let's make it happen! Send us an email, and donate today!

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