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Award-Winning Doc 'Family Portrait In Black & White' Getting US Theatrical Release

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by Tambay A. Obenson
June 18, 2012 1:19 PM
4 Comments
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I didn't get to see this at the Sundance Film Festival this year, but it's definitely of interest; I'll be checking out a screener of it soon enough, and share my thoughts here.

Details in the press release below:

Pond Entertainment is proud to announce the U.S. theatrical release of director Julia Ivanova's Family Portrait in Black and White.

An official selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and winner of this year's Best Canadian Feature Film at the Hot Docs Film Festival, Family Portrait in Black and White opens Friday, July 13th in New York (AMC 25), with a national release to follow.

In a Ukrainian village, big-hearted, formidable Olga Nenya single-handedly raises 23 foster children. Sixteen are the biracial offspring of visiting African students and Ukrainian women, who, living in a country of blue-eyed blondes that’s racked with endemic racism, often see no choice but to abandon their babies. Family Portrait in Black and White charts the rhythms of Olga’s hectic household, rife with rambunctious kids and goats. As diverse dramas unfold among the brood—a high-schooler struggling to transcend his plight through education, a boy longing to reunite with his Ugandan father, and a child courted for Italian adoption—Olga reveals herself to be loving and protective, but also narrow-minded and controlling. A product of communist ideology, she favors collective duty over individual freedom. It’s this philosophy that gives the orphans the rich sense of belonging they ache for, as well as cause for rebellion and distrust, in this lyrical, sometimes gut-wrenching tale about the meaning of “Mama,” “family,” and “nation.”

About the director:

Julia Ivanova, a Canadian documentary film director and editor, grew up in Moscow and was trained at the Russian Film Institute (VGIK). After immigrating to Canada in 1995, Julia together with her brother Boris Ivanov self-produced their first documentary “From Russia, For Love” which has been televised in 26 countries. In the decade that followed Julia felt a deep commitment to making films that break individual and societal perceptions. She directed a number of intimate films on the topics of minorities, orphanhood and search for love. These films have been shown on PBS, Discovery, and various TV channels in Canada, Asia and Europe. Other titles include “Fatherhood Dreams” (2007) - a film about gay fathers and their children; “Love Translated” (2010) - a journey into the world of Dating Tours to Eastern Europe.

Family Portrait in Black and White 2011, 85 minutes, unrated In Russian, Italian and Ukrainian with English subtitles A First Pond Entertainment Release.

Trailer below:

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4 Comments

  • dean | June 18, 2012 11:04 PMReply

    The children, while neither black nor white but biracial, deserve love. The film seems to show that from what I've read. Love is love and humans need love.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | June 18, 2012 8:36 PMReply

    Yeah, man, please do. I'm always interested in those who take on unwanted black children -- for better or worse.

  • Charles Judson | June 18, 2012 1:49 PMReply

    Strong film. It's not shy about showing Olga's faults--I wanted to jump into the screen and shake her so she'd stop being so controlling and at times so blind--as well as her strengths. Even more importantly, I think it does a great job of rendering the kids as not only individuals, but also showing how their outsider status forces them to make choices about their identity and future at such an early age.

  • Darkan | June 18, 2012 1:36 PMReply

    Looks very interesting and touching.

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