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$1,000 pledged of $238,000 goal
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By Arsen Uvaydov
$1,000 pledged of $238,000 goal
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About this project

The “Century Soldiers” Trilogy is that rare moment in time when producers get to tell a story that has never been told, the story that not only illuminates the past, but one that has a profound effect on the present and foreseeable future. “Century Soldiers” Trilogy is the epic story of three generations of Russian Jewish freedom fighters. In 2000 years of peaceful existence, young boys and men of the Jewish faith were forcibly enlisted into the Russian Army. Passivity quickly gave way to aggression, and the result was three generations of some of the fiercest soldiers to ever don the Russian uniform. Although this demonstrates a most unique facet in Jewish history, it merely provides the backdrop for the actual birth of anti-Semitism in Russia. Perhaps one of the most unfortunate circumstances is the continued anti-Semitism throughout the CIS today. While stories of LGBT as well as black and Asian civil rights in humans dominate today's current events, its origins are 19th century Russia during the time of Nikolay I. Our trilogy delineates anti-Semitism at its inception, its widespread growth, and its culmination, the Holocaust. Therefore, our works are not merely intended to entertain, but rather to inform and to educate today's youth in the CIS and globally to the tragedies that took place two centuries ago and continued today. Persecution in all its forms must be stopped, and not by force but by reason. The producers of “Century Soldiers” Trilogy most humbly ask the world today to honor the fallen soldiers of the past, remember the atrocities, and carry on their fight for respect, dignity, and the God-given right to live one's life in faith and in peace. The time is in 1930s, Lenin’s Soviets have been taught their plight is a result of the Jews living among them. Mass attacks follow with death and destruction within the Jewish communities. From the West, the Hitler war machine has already started the sterilization of the Jewish race. Abba Kovner, a Lithuanian born Jew, lead to brave band of men that wage constant attacks on the German soldiers to prevent them from the delivery of Jewish men, women and children to the nearby death camp. The time is made 19th century Russia. Hundreds of thousands of eight and nine-year-old Jewish boys are marched to the outer boundaries of the Russian Empire and forced to convert to the Russian orthodox religion or face starvation, beatings, and often death. The Cantonists, as they were called, survive up to 30 years as soldiers on the battlefronts, and their faith endures. They survive the genocide and build new communities throughout the Russian Empire devout to the faith they risked death to maintain. The time is to turn of the 20th Century Russia, and Vladimir Lenin is assumed power from the Romanov dynasty. There are starvation and despair, yet when tells the people look not to the government as the source of these problems, but to the Jews, who have taken all your money, your food, and your hope for a better life. Joseph Trumpeldor, a soldier in the sun of a former Cantonist, quickly ascertains there is little hope for the survival of his people under the circumstances. He leads a great Exodus of Russian Jews to Palestine, creates a new homeland, and hopes to form the Israeli Defense League. There is no order to the dates and times of the three brief synopsis’ that comprise our “Century Soldiers” Trilogy, but as they say they could be no order and chaos. The Russian people now recognize the mistakes of the past leaders, their savagery, butchery, and deviousness. Tragically they are unaware of their wholesale contempt and disdain for all Jewish people. They hate and they don't know why. The Jewish people have born the blame of all the failures of Russia. For almost 2 centuries they have sufficed as sacrificial lambs. Everyone throughout the CIS is aware of the anti-Semitism, unfortunately no one ever bothered to explain where he came from. Passed down through generations, we now bear witness to an entire society that embodies the same prejudices of their forefathers. The producers of these works now demand the truth be told. It is our objective to amplify the words of the fallen Jewish heroes. To carry on, to forge the promise of change, and to remember, that is our charge.

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Part One

Title: “CANTONISTS –SOLDIERS OF THE TSAR”

The anti-Semitism we see in Russia today originated two centuries ago, during the reign of Tsar Nicholas I. Nearly half the world's Jewish population found themselves Russian citizens overnight, due to an expansion of the Russian Empire. The Tsar, in an extreme effort to unite the masses, initiated the most extreme act of religious conversion since the Inquisition. The producers of this historic documentary believe this was an act of genocide, mandated by Tsar Nicholas I, and carried out by the Russian military; more than a century preceding the reign of Nazi terror. Although this occurrence remains a dark secret of the Romanov Empire, there is enough empirical evidence to bring this tragedy to light. Primarily due to the heroics of the first Jewish soldiers since biblical times, Judaism survived and with it the truths of the day. This film will tell the story the hundreds of thousands of young Jewish boys who lost their lives were unable to speak. It will be the voice of eight year-old children ripped from their mothers arms, marched one thousand miles only to be left dying on the side of a road; the voice of the Cantonist students who was starved and beaten simply because they refused to renounce their Jewish faith; and finally, the voice of the Jewish communities their animosity passed from one generation to the next, all emanated from the savage and inhumane actions of the 29-year-old Tsar, who saw communities of people who were different in their customs and devotions, and chose to destroy them. “CANTONISTS –SOLDIERS OF THE TSAR” will document the history of the Jewish peoples’ call to arms during the reign of Tsar Nicholas I. From the fall of the Napoleonic era and subsequently, the realignment of territories, to the final days of the forced enlistment of Jewish boys into the Russian Army, this film is dedicated to revealing the harsh realities of the past. It will chronicle the journeys of the Cantonists, some ending in death, others living a full life and becoming great warriors; all our heroes. The production team for this project is comprised of primarily Russian Jews. The distinction: some have lived their entire lives in Russia while others left Russia for the United States at an early age. Two countries vastly different in attitude and demeanor, as well as anti-Semitic prevalence, the collaboration, ultimately, created many defined layers throughout the artistic process. Therefore, the team believes this convergence of ideas and opinions lead to higher truths, and a better process for the audience. 

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Part Two

Title: “JOSEPH TRUMPELDOR - THE ROARING LION”

Part II is our series “CENTURY SOLDIERS” will document the first generation of Jewish Russians following the abolishment of the Cantonist schools, and the forced enlistment of young Jewish boys into the Russian Army. The time is to turn of the 20th century, the Romanov dynasty has been overthrown, and the revolution has begun. Horrific poverty and starvation is rampant throughout the land, and Vladimir Lenin is cognizant of the frustration and dissension festering among the masses. Meanwhile, the Cantonist soldiers, who had previously returned from their tours of duty and established thriving communities throughout the former Russian Empire, were the embodiment of Lenin's doctrines, creating collective, self-sufficient societies. Most people already had great contempt for the Jewish people, and Lenin took immediate advantage of this situation. He proclaimed that the Jews had taken all the wealth of Russia, and that they were directly to blame for their lot in life. This of course fueled their hatred and resulted in the destruction of Jewish communities throughout the region, beatings, and even murders of the Jewish people; while the authorities did nothing to prevent these unsolicited attacks. Lenin had scapegoats, blaming the Jews, as it was centuries before, and as we know, will happen half a century later during the reign of Adolf Hitler. To illustrate the atrocities during this time, we will chronicle the life of decorated war soldier Joseph Trumpeldor. Four-time Medal of Honor recipient, prisoner of war, celebrated by the Emperors of Russia and Japan, Trumpeldor would turn on the country he valiantly risked his life for (even sacrificing a limb in battle, before returning to the front line in winning his fourth Medal of Honor) leading a mass exodus of his Jewish compatriots to Palestine, where they bravely fought warring Arabian tribes to bring sovereignty and peace to what they considered their homeland. The producers of “JOSEPH TRUMPELDOR - THE ROARING LION” will explore and document the extreme anti-Semitism of Russia in the early years of the Soviet Union, so violent and deeply ingrained in society that one of its bravest and most honored war heroes so no other choice but to flee this nation of hate and paved the way for other afflicted Russian Jews to find a means of escape. The producers contend the appalling anti-Semitism we witness in modern day Russia is a direct result of the foundation of hate it was created during these earlier times. It is our intention, through the production of these documentaries, to help explain the hatred exhibited today, to make people throughout the world aware of the atrocities committed yesterday and ultimately to affect change tomorrow. Major historical events throughout Russia had a direct correlation with the extreme prejudices and anti-Semitic treatments of a quiet, peaceful and devout society of people. We must remember the man and soldier, Joseph Trumpeldor, and all those who were victims of Russian anti-Semitism, to honor them, to ensure their lives were not lost in vain, and to be armed with the knowledge of the past to be prepared and readied for the prevention of such inhumanities in the future.   

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Part Three

Production in progress and we will finish part three by August 1, 2015

Part III is our series “CENTURY SOLDIERS” will explore the second generation of Jewish Russians, many of whom had fled Russia during the Bolshevik revolution and were now dispersed throughout Eastern Europe. With the advent of World War II, many of the borders of Eastern European countries, for example Poland, were realigned as part of negotiations with Hitler and his Nazi regime. This unfortunate circumstance left many of the former Russian Jews now trapped within German borders, and were quickly gathered up and either killed or brought to labor camps; and as we are aware, soon after, Nazi death camps. Russia formed a new citizens group called the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), domestically, as well as in its surrounding countries. The Jewish youth united within this organization, but the older Jews rebuffed the group, again resulting in wide scale oppression, extradition to Siberia, and often, execution. The Jewish people now found themselves surrounded by hostile forces, and rendered helpless, most succumbed to their enemies, who were now comprised of many different groups. Amidst this pan Euro oppression, persecution, and execution, arose rebellious Jewish freedom fighters. This documentary will focus on one such group, led by Abba Kovner, in the country of Lithuania. Kovner formed a group of strong, desperate Jewish youth. He named the detachment “Nikam” (revenge), with the battle cry ”… Jews, take up arms! Jews, we have nothing to lose. Death is inevitable. Brothers, it is better to die with lethal force, than to go to carnage as sheep. Wake up and take up arms…” Kovner's vigilante would organize attacks on the Lithuanian guards, maintaining constant attacks in the attempt to prevent them from boarding Jews on a train that would eventually take them outside town to place called the Ponary. The pottery was a secret place where all the Jews that were collected by the guards were brought to be executed by machine-gun blasts. When the Nazis finally surrendered, Lithuania as well as the rest of Eastern Europe focused all their energies on rebuilding their towns and cities preceding the war. The results, many of the Nazi war criminals were left unharmed, permitted to go about their lives without restitution. Abba Kovner refused to allow this, and again rallied his Nikam to find these criminals, and bring them to justice, his justice. Kovner remembered the horrors committed upon his Jewish brothers and sisters before and during the war, and devoted his life to restitution, and prevention of such future inhumanities. The producers of ABBA KOVNER – “THE AVENGER” remain firm in the same commitments made by Abba Kovner. The world will must know and understand the plight of the Russian Jews, beginning with the eight-year-old “Cantonists”, the persecution during the Bolshevik regime, the horrors and insidious acts during Nazi times, and the same acts of persecution committed this very day throughout the Russian Federation. We have assumed the task of producing the stories differ two centuries have remained untold. So many have given their lives to ensure the freedoms we now enjoy, yet the task remains incomplete. The producers of this trilogy wish to dignify and honor these men and women, and floor all those who see our production to remember, and then challenge every man and woman to affect change.

Production in progres and we will finish part three by August 1, 2015

Risks and challenges

Our biggest challenge is to reach as many people as possible, knowing there are so many families throughout the world whose ancestors were affected by this tragic event in history. We have successfully completed 2 films of the trilogy, so we understand the work and expertise, but the challenge remains to improve them, and in so doing, broaden our base and gain newfound attention to this most worthy of causes.

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- (30 days)