||FAMILY PORTRAIT (55' & 85')
DIRECTED BY JULIA IVANOVA
Horizontal Sub Menu Css3Menu.com
In a small village in racially charged Ukraine, headstrong
Olga Nenya is foster-mom to 16 Ukrainian-African orphans
and mom to 27 children total. Despite hardships caused by
their lack of money and the racist attitudes of their
citizens, these abandoned kids function as a family unit
under Olga?s relentless dictatorial, pseudo-Stalinist
guidance. The film offers deep insight into a fraught
community surrounding this one-of-a-kind clan and into the
passions, hopes and hardships of a unique self-made
Portrait is Riveting.?
- LA WEEKLY
Portrait in Black and White has a quiet, deceptive
simplicity that recalls the films of the Maysles
- Chuck Bowen, SLANT MAGAZINE
documentary. Well Crafted. Nicely scored.?
- Dennis Harvey, VARIETY
high marks for honesty.?
- Neil Genzlinger, NEW YORK TIMES
know that a film like Family Portrait in Black and
White will be playing in a Times Square multiplex
alongside franchise blockbusters in the dead heat of
summer should give us all a tiny breath of hope."
- Michael Tully, FILMMAKER MAGAZINE
Ivanova shows a masterful ability in examining
psychological landscape in the magnificent Family
Portrait in Black and White.?
- Rafael Vega, EL NORTE DE CASTILL
All Press Links Here
Of the 27 children, 23 have been adopted
or foster care with Olga for as long as they can remember.
She calls her bi-racial children ?my chocolates?, and
raises them as patriotic Ukrainians. Some locals consider
Olga a saint - but many believe she is just crazy.
Inherited from the Soviet era, there is a stigma in the
country against interracial relationships, and against
children born as "consequences" of romantic encounters
between local girls and students from Africa. The destiny
of hundreds of bi-racial children is tragic - unwanted and
doomed to grow up as orphans. Hence, for over a decade,
Olga has been literally picking up the black babies left
in Ukrainian orphanages.
The lesson the kids learn very early is ?life is not
fair?. Olga is no Mother Teresa. She loves most of her
children but can barely stand a few. By now, most of
Olga?s children are teenagers, with different
personalities, interests and strengths. Kiril, a
16-year-old boy nicknamed ?Mr. President? for his
intelligence, work ethic, and effortless aristocracy, is
the one who dares to openly argue with Olga. Roman never
argues, but stubbornly breaks the rules. Sylvia is a
beautiful, shy, obedient girl, who plays violin and whose
parents were both students from Egypt.
Interviews with Neo Nazis in Ukraine reveal the real
dangers of dark skin in the street. These white
supremacist youth joke about their evening raids and how
police seemingly lets them do it, unless they actually
murder someone. Olga is literally sacrificing her life to
raise her children. In an Orwellian picture - an absurd
injustice occurs when bureaucrats who don?t help the
family yet blame Olga for all shortcomings they find in
the her home. The local authorities threaten to ?downsize?
her family. The chilling consequences of a pending
separation from Olga and each other become clear as we see
the story unfold.
?At least when the kids grow up, they?ll have a mother to
blame for all the failures that will happen in their
lives?. A Mother (ideal or not, biological or adoptive)
versus being raised in the best of orphanages; there, a
child calls every caregiver ?a mom?, and might have twenty
moms without knowing what a real MOTHER is.
Family Portrait in Black and White has screened at film
festivals all over the world - from Korea to Bermuda, from
Mumbai to Amsterdam, including Sundance, Los Angeles,
Seattle, Cleveland, Hamptons, Vancouver and numerous
others. Winner at Hot Docs Film Festival (Canada),
Valladolid Film Festival (Spain), Miradasdoc (Canary
Islands) and Addis Ababa Film Festival (Ethiopia).