About this project
To all our backers: Thank you so much for your support! Spasibo bolshoe! Even though we did not reach our goal for post-production on Kickstarter, the principles believe that the stories of these courageous women need to be told. This is why we are continuing this tax-deductible campaign on the film's site womenofthegulag.com and on this IDA site here. The principles feel so strongly about the project that they have agreed to match every contribution made. Your tax-deductible pledge through either of these sites will not be added to the Kickstarter totals, but will be treated the same by us.
Our subject is Women of the Gulag. The term GULag, which in Russian is an acronym for "Main Camp Administration," has come to mean something much larger than the corrective labor camps under the GULag administration. Rather it signifies the system of repression of the Soviet period, which peaked under Stalin. We use "gulag" broadly to mean the whole mentality of the Soviet repression system, the end point of which was execution or the camps, special settlements, remote places of exile where the victims of repression "sat." Our documentary tells the human stories of the last women survivors of the gulag.
We are now continuing the campaign and the project and are in post-production. We are also interviewing more women in other parts of Russia. We already have almost 40 hours of footage. These funds will go towards recording more testimonies on HD video and towards editing the footage we have gathered. Clearly the timing is urgent as the survivors and the heroines of the original Stalin gulag are getting very old. This is “the last chance.” (Marcel Krüger has an interview with with the filmmakers here.)
A Pulitzer-winning journalist Anne Applebaum expressed in her on-camera interview, "What had happened since the year 2000 is that history has been gradually re-politicized. And the Russians started treating history that way. And that means that they've become more sensitive again about discussing this sort of crimes of their past. For the Russians, understanding the history of the gulag is absolutely crucial." It is also crucial for the West: "The failure in the West to understand the magnitude of what happened in the Soviet Union and central Europe may not seem to have a profound and immediate implications for the Western way of life, however, in the modern global society, it is important to raise awareness of the global history and politics."
Anne Applebaum, in her on-camera statement tells us that Russia still lacks "that defining moment, that big monument" that will help the Russian people come to terms with their past.
TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION
Your donation is tax deductible!! WOMEN OF THE GULAG is a fiscally sponsored project of the International Documentary Association (IDA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization. Contributions on behalf of WOMEN OF THE GULAG are payable to IDA and are tax deductible less the value of any goods or services received, as allowed by law. The value of goods and services being offered is noted under each donation level.
Это фильм о женщинах-оставшихся в живых заключенных ГУЛаг. В отличие от большинства мужчин-заключенных, женщины-заключенные, пережившие ГУЛаг, еще живы. Их осталось мало, некоторым из них глубоко за 90. И так же мало осталось времени у нас, чтобы рассказать их удивительные истории.
Как говорит одна из героинь нашего фильма, "Для россиян понимание истории ГУЛага как неотъемлeмой части всего советского периода истории абсолютно необходимо, если они хотят понять, почему их общество сегодня такое, какое оно есть. Полупризнаниями и полуизвинениями перед жертвами репрессий, которых за прошедшие годы было немало, тут не обойтись. В России до сих пор нет большого памятника жертвам, большого музея, а главное - большого понимания кровавой истории ГУЛaга."
A Quote from Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer-winning Author of "Gulag: A History":
"I wish to express my support for Dr. Paul Gregory’s and Marianna Yarovskaya’s documentary project, Women of the Gulag. <> Although there have been a number of excellent Gulag documentaries, this film is intended to tell the personal stories of just a few former prisoners in greater detail. It will also focus on the stories of women, which differed in a number of ways from that of their male counterparts. Rape, pregnancy and motherhood were a part of the Gulag experience too. <>
Aside from its historic value, a project like this one has special significance in the light of contemporary Russian politics. In recent years, under President Putin, Soviet and Russian history have been re-politicized, and the Stalin period has come to be viewed with ambiguity by politicians, writers, film makers, and regrettably the public. The stories of the victims of the gulag, told by simple people who had little or no understanding of why this was happening to them, make an excellent antidote to creeping historical amnesia. This project is also urgent, of course, because most of their subjects are in their advanced years, and their stories have to be recorded now."
Columnist, the Washington Post
Author, Gulag: A History (2004 Pulitzer Prize)
Я хочу поддержать проект документального фильма доктора Пола Грегори и продюсера Марианны Яровской "Женщины ГУЛага". Хотя уже было снято несколько прекрасных документальных лент о ГУЛаге, в этом фильме упор делается на личные истории нескольких бывших заключенных, рассказанные с такими подробностями, которые ранее нигде не звучали. К тому же это будут истории женщин - заключенных, чей опыт значительно отличается от опыта мужчин. Кроме всех других тягот лагерей, изнасилования, беременности, материнство были частью их жизни в ГУЛаге.
Помимо исторического значения, такой проект очень важен в контексте современной российской политики. В последние годы, при президенте Путине, советская и российская история подверглись политическому пересмотру, и сталинский период теперь часто рассматривается политиками, писателями, режиссерами, и, к сожалению, публикой как "неоднозначный". Истории жертв ГУЛага, рассказанные простыми людьми, которые зачастую плохо понимали (или вообще не понимали) того, что с ними происходило, - это прекрасная прививка против такой исторической амнезии.
Этот проект не терпит отлагательств. Героини будущего фильма находятся в крайне преклонном возрасте, и их истории надо рассказать сегодня и сейчас.
Обозреватель газеты «Вашингтон Пост»
Автор книги "Гулаг: История" (Пулитцеровская премия за 2004 г.)
Letter of support from Yermolai Solzhenitsyn:
From: yermolai solzhenitsyn
Date: October 13, 2012 5:11:08 AM PDT
Subject: Re: Filming “Women of the Gulag” in Russia
Today’s Russia is a society transformed by staggering change, a land of much energy, tremendous resources and opportunities, yet one facing also many a momentous challenge, as we seek to chart our way forward.
One significant handicap for us in this quest is the dearth of memory, a striking absence of knowledge and even of interest in the recent past. As a result we are too often moored in the tactics of the current moment, losing the perspective and the lessons from preceding generations, unable to heed the heritage, the history, the good, the evil, the warnings and the bitter testimony stretching out to us from our forebears in the twentieth century. Not knowing, not needing and not caring to objectively understand one’s past casts a dark shadow indeed on the prospects of any nation’s future.
Thus we should be thankful for every sincere effort to bring our history back, to help us face, digest, discuss and come to terms with it. Even if too many in the current adult generation in Russia prefer to hide from this painful chapter of the Gulag, the younger generations will want and inevitably need to know the whole truth, will simply be unable to build a healthy society until the rot hidden from memory and light somewhere deep within is duly exposed and considered. And so I can only be supportive and grateful to Paul Gregory and Marianna Yarovskaya for bringing to life the stories of the women survivors of the Gulag in their film and book, for jarring our memory, for providing a chance for new generations of Russians to look directly into those faces and those eyes, to listen firsthand to their testimony, to start repairing the bridges to that time, which we so desperately must do in order to earn a worthy future.
Moscow, October 2012
Risks and challenges
For post-production, we have a very qualified team of Award-winning/ Los Angeles based professional filmmakers who have a track record of very successful projects. The book and the e-book by Paul Gregory will come out in early 2013 at the Hoover Institute, Stanford University. We do not expect major delays with completing the film or getting the book and the e-book published.
Tchavdar Georgiev, Editor
Tchavdar Georgiev is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts and holds an undergraduate degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has edited a number of award-winning fiction and non-fiction films as well as television programming for HBO, PBS, History Channel, National Geographic, Channel 1 Russia and MTV Russia.
The latest show he edited for National Geographic called “Alien Earths” was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Animation.
He has worked on the documentary We Live in Public which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and the feature Bastards which won the MTV Russia awards for best film.
His commercial clients include Honda, Oscar de la Renta, TELE2 and Rooms To Go. His spots have won several Telly Awards.
His documentary “The Desert of Forbidden Art” that he wrote, produced and directed together with Amanda Pope was nominated for the 2012 Emmy Award, won the Cine Golden Eagle Award and Best Documentary at the Palm Beach International Film Festival and will be broadcast on PBS Independent Lens in 2011.
Tchavdar operates his own post-production boutique in Culver City with state of the art offline and online HD equipment.
Wendy Blackstone, composer (several Academy Award nominations)
Having begun her career scoring documentaries, the form is an imperative to who she is as an artist. Of the numerous she has scored, some recent titles include: James Gandolfini’s HBO Special, Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq, HBO's The Alzheimer Project, Crude, Secrets of the Code, 9/12, and Snoop Dogg’s : California Youth Authority.
Wendy diversified into theatre with Anna Deavere Smith’s “Twilight: Los Angeles 1992”, directed by George C. Wolfe (Angels In America), taking her music to Broadway’s Cort Theatre and helping the show gain two Tony nominations.
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