Fifth Annual Russian Diaspora - Israeli Russian Film Festival

presented by RACC in collaboration with the Russian and Slavic Studies Program, Hunter College, CUNY.

Event Venue:

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

Event Date:

Sunday, November 2, 2014 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Russian American Cultural Center, in collaboration with the Russian and Slavic Studies Program, Hunter College, CUNY is pleased to announce:

The Fifth Annual Russian Diaspora - Israeli Russian Film Festival

Panel discussion video link:

The Fifth Annual Festival focuses primarily on the work of young émigré filmmakers presenting their first creations. It is symptomatic that starting new life and being fully adapted and educated outside of the country of origin, artists still like to use as a starting point their deeply rooted childhood memories and impression that they experienced by themselves or taken from their parents.

One of the festival’s participants - young American filmmaker George Itzhak states: "At the age of one and a half, I hardly have any memories of my family’s immigration from Uzbekistan. I was a bundle wrapped in blankets, barely able to walk, and some unknown force catapulted my family and I more than six thousand miles across the world to the immigrant-clogged streets of Queens. However, when I read through Lara Vapnyar’s stories of immigration and new life in America as experience by adults, I felt I understood them on a deep level. There’s an idea that fears, anxieties, and experiences are passed down to children from their parents. In this way, my own childhood memories, all of them tied to living in Russian-speaking immigrant neighborhoods, were affected by my family’s experiences and their efforts to adapt to their new life. The story of Broccoli is not my family’s story directly, but through making this film I felt I was able to connect with them and their generation. Plot specifics aside, Broccoli is a tribute to my parent’s generation, and the journey life took them on -- a journey I can feel through inherited memories, photographs, and through storytelling."

            We will also, present a new documentary by Lina Chaplin who with her late husband and frequent co-director Slava Chaplin have been the 2011 Festival Honorees, recognized for their outstanding contribution to the Art of the Cinema. Born in Russia and graduates of the Cinematography Institute, the Chaplins immigrated to Israel in 1976. For about 40 years, they have created dozens of documentary and feature films, many of which have won awards in Israeli and international film festivals. Most of the Chaplins' films emphasize the identification of Russian immigrants with the nation of Israel, while simultaneously affirming the importance of their Russian cultural roots to Israeli culture as a whole.


2:00 PM | Voices from the Booth  by Lina Chaplin (USA Premier)

Israel 2014 | Documentary, 49 min | Russian and Hebrew with English subtitles

You meet them everywhere, ten thousands of security people. They immigrated to Israel at an advanced age, doing security work in order to survive. In their previous life, they had free professions. The film focuses on a few security guards who insisted on remaining creative - an optimistic note in the quasi-tragic destiny of these people. Docaviv Festival 2014

3:00 PM | Next Year in Jerusalem  by Anat Kuznetzov-Zalmanson (USA Premier)

Israel, 2014 | Demo for a documentary film, 14 min. | Russian and Hebrew with English subtitles

It started with the action of a few, the few became many, and the echoes of their bravery have reverberated through history.


Q&A with Jon Hogan, the film's grant writer, and Israel Zalmanson, a member of the group who spent 8 years in a labor camp

3:40 PM | Pur  by Anat Vovnoboy (USA Premier)

Israel 2013 | Documentary, 13 min | Russian with English and Hebrew subtitles

 “Pur” is a story of Purimspiel plays staged by small groups of Jewish dissidents during the Soviet regime, when all expression of Jewish culture was strictly forbidden. Rare archival footage shows these young men and women crowded in small apartments across Moscow and Leningrad, rediscovering the old but long-buried story of Megillat Esther. Using the tale of the foolish Persian king and his evil adviser, the dissidents expressed their criticism of the oppressive Soviet regime and its foolish and evil leaders. Every one of them knew that simply participating in this amateur show could lead to lifelong imprisonment, or worse.

4:00 PM | Broccoli  by George Itzhak

USA 2014 |Short film, 24:18 min | Russian with English subtitles

"Broccoli" is a Russian-language short film that tells the story of Nina, a recent immigrant from Russia, who copes with her relocation to Brooklyn and her ensuing divorce through a strange affinity for vegetables.

Based on the short story by Lara Vapnyar.

Q&A session with director George Itzhak

4:30 PM | For the first time, we included new rapidly developing media: Animation Galani  by Soslan Bitarov

Israel docu-animation |

"Galani" is a humorous retelling via cut out of the filmmaker's experiences as a soldier in the IDF (Zahal). The emotional journey from solitary outsider, misunderstanding and misunderstood, to feeling a sense of camaraderie and solidarity, accompanies the chronology from boot camp to squad commander.

4:45 PM | Budke  by Gideon Latzman (USA Premier)

Israel 2012 |Short film, 17 min | Russian with English subtitles

After immigrating to Israel, a Ukrainian art critic is forced to work as a parking lot security guard. He turns his mundane existence into beautiful philosophical prose as he observes Israeli society.

5:15 PM | Nemez (German)  by Stanislav Güntner

Drama| Germany 2012 | 93 min | Russian and German with English subtitles

Starring: Mark Filatov, Emilia Schüle, Alex Brendemühl

"Nemez” means “The German”. This is how 20-year old Dima is called by his boss, art thief Georgij. After a failed burglary into the flat of a coin collector, Nemez is sent to a juvenile detention center. Once released, he wants to make a fresh start.

Stanislav Güntner was born in in Cheljabinsk/Russia in 1977 and studied at the University of Television and Film Munich from 1999-2006. His films include the shorts THE FORTH WALL (2001), SAY YOU LOVE ME (2002), PRACTICAL GIRL (2003), GUNSHOTS (2005), LONELY ISLAND (2007), and his feature debut NEMEZ (2012)

Q&A session


Discussion moderated by Olga Gershenson, Academic adviser of the festival; Dr. Regina Khidekel, Founder and curator of the festival,  Dean Movshovitz, Director of Film & Media, Consulate General of Israel in New York, David D'Arcy, film critic for Screen International, Artinfo, film director George Itzhak, writer Lara Vapnyar and film director Slava Tsukerman.

Supporters: RACC's events are made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and Cojeco.

Deep gratitude to Diana Bagrationi Foundation and VK Studios.

Panel discussion video link: