Eighth Annual Diaspora - Israeli-Russian Film Festival

A prominent international forum presenting films by Russian émigré filmmakers, with a focus on the immigrant experience and the search for a new cultural identity.

Event Venue:

Ida K. Lang Recital Hall at Hunter College
695 Park Ave
New York, NY 10065

Event Date:

Sunday, February 3, 2019 | 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Russian American Cultural Center is pleased to announce:

The Eighth Annual Diaspora - Israeli-Russian Film Festival

presented in collaboration with Russian and Slavic Studies Program, Hunter College, CUNY

RACC’s film festivals are a prominent international forum exclusively representing Russian émigré filmmakers in the United States and around the world, given the experience of immigration and the search for a new cultural identity, while celebrating their artistic achievements in film media.

The 8th Diaspora Film Festival will be held in the spirit of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, when we complete the demonstration of documentary films from the series “The Unknown Holocaust”, which was created over the years, and reward its creator Boris Maftsir, a Guest of Honor of the festival.

The Diaspora Film Festival explores the turmoil of the 20th century, the Holocaust and various faces of immigration, as well as the struggle for the dream of changing the harsh reality. We would like to see several generations of viewers, including teenagers and students, to learn more about the history of their people and share their unique cinematic experience with their family members.

Entry fee is not charged. Everyone is welcome!


The Unknown Holocaust

1:00 PM | USA Premiere | The Road to Babi Yar by Boris Maftsir

Israel 2018 | 53 min | Documentary | Ukrainian, Russian , English, Hebrew with English &  Hebrew subtitles

When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, they did not yet have the intention and the mechanism for the complete annihilation of the Jews. This film tells the story of how and why, during the first months of the German offensive in the Ukraine, the mass extermination of the Jews, in hundreds of mass murder sites, developed - and Babi Yar, became their symbol. The killing Aktion of more than 30,000 Jews in Kiev began on the hundredth day of the beginning of the German attack on the Soviet Union. At first there was hatred of the Jews. Then - deliberate murder of Jewish men - especially from the intelligentsia. Shortly thereafter, when the idea of solving the "Jewish problem" through total mass murder was seen as possible –the murder of women and children started as well. According to the Ukrainian historian Alexander Kruglov, during the Nazi occupation of the Ukraine about 1.5 million Jews were murdered.

Q&A with Boris Maftsir


2:30 PM Drawers of Memory by Boris Maftsir

Israel  2016 | 80 min | Documentary | Latvian, Hebrew, German with English and Hebrew subtitles

In the sixth film of the project about the Shoah in the Former Soviet Union, filmmaker Boris Maftsir set out on a journey to uncover the memory of the Holocaust in Latvia, where he was born and grew up until he made aliya to Israel in 1971. The drawers of memory open as the search exposes the complex history of the Jews of Latvia: before-during and after the Holocaust.

First drawer. An unusual attempt by a group loyal to the memory of the victims to put together a full and detailed list of all the Jews who were in Latvia on the eve of WWII.

Second drawer. The work of Latvian "guardians of memory" who have taken on the idea of remembering the image of their Jewish neighbors who are no longer.

Third drawer. A personal drawer of Boris Maftsir who learns and discovers his own memories of the Holocaust.

Q&A with Boris Maftsir

4:15 PM | 80 and Counting by Lina Chaplin

Israel  2016 | 54 min | Documentary | Hebrew, English subtitles

By 2025, the number of octogenarians will be 10 times higher than today. The seniors no doubt need special attention. "But how do we feel, 80-year-olds?" 80 and Counting is a poignant reflection on the art of aging made by 82-year-old filmmaker Lina Chaplin. Focusing on three extraordinary women of the same age, the film shows the struggles and possibilities with which the old age confronts.

Awards 2017 • Audience Award, Best Long, Mediterranean Looks, Lisbon, Portugal 2016 • Honorable Mention, Haifa International Film Festival, Israel



5:15 PM | Here and Now by Roman Shumumov

Israel 2018 | 90 min | Drama | Russian, Hebrew and English subtitles

A social drama told through four young immigrant friends living in a poor neighborhood in the Israeli city of Ashdod. Surviving day to day, they form a rap group and devote their time to rehearsing for an audition to an upcoming international music festival. They believe that winning the musical competition will allow them to make their voices heard, to influence their harsh reality.

Their dream of taking part in the competition seems shattered when ANDREY, a main character, suffers a crisis at home. Andrey’s father has been in the hospital for months, leaving Andrey responsible for his little sister and for making payments on their mortgage. He can’t juggle caring for his sister, rehearsing, and working all at once.

Andrey falls behind on the mortgage payments and racks up a huge debt. The bank threatens foreclosure on the apartment, and social services threaten to take his sister away. Andrey feels helpless, which leads him to search for solutions in the world of organized crime. Andrey’s bandmates desperately try to help him, risking not only their dream but their lives.

Teenagers are welcome!


6:50 PM | Invisible Alice by Anna Fishbeyn (writer & director)

USA 2016 | 25 min | Short | English

Hope Altman is a single mother working a monotonous depressing travel agent job, wanting to please her intrusive Russian mother and her beautiful eight year old daughter. But the mysterious intrusion of strange phone calls and her melancholy hint at a secret life brewing underneath. When someone on the phone tells her that they like her, Hope becomes suddenly ecstatic and her mother thinks Hope is finally meeting the man of her dreams.

But as Hope dresses up in a sexy glittering dress and walks out of the house, we enter Hope's secret underground world and together with her, live out her dream.

Best Musical - Action on Film International Film Festival, USA 2017

Q & A with Anna Fishbeyn

7:15 PM | Panel Discussion  

Boris Maftsir, Anna Fishbeyn, Oleg Sulkin, Regina Khidekel

This program is made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and by public funds from the New York State Legislature, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and Cojeco.