Phil Rosenthal, creator of "Everybody Loves Raymond," has made millions of Americans laugh. The challenge he faces in his new documentary, "Exporting Raymond," is whether he can get the Russians to do the same.
In this culture clash of comedic proportions, Rosenthal attempts to launch a Russian version of his hit sitcom, and tries to prevent his jokes from being lost in translation.
Rosenthal says that after he decided to make the documentary and hired two camera crews to capture his exploits, his focus was only on the job in front of him.
"I had a real job to do, which was try and help the Russians turn "Everybody Loves Raymond" into "Everybody Loves Kostya," said Rosenthal. "So that was my job, and then I worried about forming the film in editing."
The project began when Sony asked Rosenthal if he wanted to go to Russia and observe the unique way they work with the Russians. The idea was to have Rosenthal use the experience to write a fictional feature film about a creator of a show who goes to Russia to have his show translated.
"I thought, well, that's nice, but if the situation really exists and the people that you're telling me about really exist, why not bring a camera crew over and film what would really happen?" Rosenthal said in an interview with ABC News.
Sony loved the idea, and soon enough, Rosenthal found himself in Russia working in an "asbestos-laden death trap" of a studio with a motley crew of Russians who did not see eye-to-eye with his vision. Watch our Conversation to see the studio where Rosenthal joked he could "hear the cancer" in the walls.