Produced by Artem Vassiliev and Sergei Shumakov and associate producer Evgeny Lebedev for Phenomen Films and co-producer TV Channel "Russia", with support from Rotterdam's Hubert Bals Fund, Paper Soldier is the third feature by German, son of the acclaimed director Alesey German (Khrustalyov, My Car!) and screenwriter Svetlana Karmalita . His 2003 debut film. The Last Train, was awarded at festivals in numerous festivals, including Venice, Bratislava, Kiev, Rotterdam, and Thessaloniki. His second film, Gaspartum, set during the period leading up to World War I and the October Revolution, was also shown at Venice and awarded at the Sofia and Bratislava film festivals.
Shot on a reported $4 million budget, Paper Soldier looks at the period immediately leading up to the launch of the first person in space. The film focusses not on Gargarin, the astronaut who would make history, but on the story of a doctor (played by accomplished international actor Merab Ninidze) who works with the cosmonauts. Speaking of his approach to filmmaking and looking to the stories beyond the headlines of history, German jr has said, ""demythologizing always boils down to a hero who was discarded by history."
Critics have lauded the film for paying homage to classic Russian cinema, Chekhov, and the Krushchev era and beginning of liberalization. While German jr. was initially suspected of copying the style of his famous father, subsequent critiques have acclaimed him as a rising young director with a poetic ability to evoke earlier eras in Soviet history.