About the Film Trailer Gallery Screenings
The Making of the Film about_04
The Style of the Film
Voices and Music  
Dymshitz Family Genealogy
Key Bios  
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Thanks to Glasnost in June of 1991 in a visit to Russia we finally felt free to contact our Russian relatives. My father and his family had left in 1920 leaving behind on his mother’s side many aunts and uncles. All those years communication was limited and unwise, particularly as Stalin took control of the country. 

Sonia (Sofia Dymshitz-Tolstaya) was my grandmother’s sister and, when I met her granddaughter, I asked her what she knew about her grandmother’s life. In response she amazed me by giving me Sonia’s Memoirs, lists that Sonia had compiled of her paintings and many photographs of her art. I was deeply moved. I felt I had to tell Sonia’s story.

At first I was advised that there was not much left of her paintings, and her significance as a member of the Russian Avant-Garde was minimal. But, thanks to the help of relatives and scholars in both St. Petersburg and Moscow, I was able to find over seventy-five images of her art and many documents and photographs that portrayed a rich involvement with her times.

I worked with local cameramen, Mikhail Levitan in St. Petersburg and Yuri Gavrushin in Moscow, retracing places where Sonia had lived and worked. And I sought out and interviewed relatives and friends who had known her.

My research and filming took me to another time and place, with many surprises and amazing discoveries. When I look back on it, I realize it was the most ambitious, daring project I had ever undertaken, but personally the most rewarding.

Photo: Filming in St. Petersburg

© 2010 Lucy Kostelanetz Productions, LLC

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