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 program is a prominent international forum exclusively representing émigré filmmakers from the former Soviet Union 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 2019 Diaspora - Israeli-Russian Film Festival is held in the spirit of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, since our Guest of Honor is Boris Maftsir, the creator of the outstanding series The Unknown Holocaust. These documentaries, many of which we had the honor of showing at our previous festivals, are among the most significant explorations on the Holocaust, along with the films by Claude Lanzmann and the monumental collection of testimonies of the Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation. The mission of Boris Maftsir is even more complicated because he took up the topic of the Holocaust in the former Soviet Union, which was silenced and banned for decades. Recovering forgotten places of massacres, communicating with local witnesses and researchers, he created deeply emotional, historically accurate and talented series of films.

The film by the young director Roman Shumunov shows the different facets of immigration and the struggle of underprivileged youth for the dream of changing the harsh reality. At the presentation of his feature “Here and Now” we would like to see several generations of viewers, including teenagers and students, since it might appeal to a younger audience. Attracting more young people to our programs, which makes it possible to learn more about the history of our people and share unique cinematic experiences with family members, is one of our immediate goals.

Entry fee is not charged. Everyone is welcome!


COMMUNITY and FAMILY MATTERS | Teenagers are welcome!

2:15 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.


The Unknown Holocaust

4:00 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.

5:50 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. Drawers of memory include: an unusual attempt by the group faithful to the memory of the victims, to compile a complete and detailed list of all Jews who were in Latvia on the eve of WWII; the work of Latvian “guardians of memory” who took the idea of recalling the image of their Jewish neighbors who are no longer there; the personal drawer of Boris Maftsir, who learns and discovers his own memories of the Holocaust.

7:15 PM The Award ceremony honoring Boris Maftsir  

Discussion with Boris Maftsir moderated by Oleg Sulkin via YouTube

Regina Khidekel - Persona Grata | NTV interview via YouTube

Неизвестный Холокост: постижение правды by Oleg Sulkin (in Russian) via Vecherniy New York, Feb 1, 2019

Что делать нам в Нью-Йорке между 1 и 7 февраля by Maya Pritsker (in Russian) via Reporter Kultura

Boris Maftir's films about the Holocaust in the Soviet Union were produced with the support of Genesis Philanthropy Group

Festival's information sponsors: NTV,  Bukharian Times.

Event listing via Русская Реклама

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; Cojeco, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, and Investors Bank.