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HOLODOMOR documentary feature film to be made by established filmmakers in Hollywood
"HOLODOMOR; Ukraine's Genocide of 1932-33," a feature-length documentary, is in production by Tomkiw Entertainment and Moksha Films. The film’s production coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor, Ukraine's genocide of 1932- 1933.
"HOLODOMOR; Ukraine's Genocide of 1932-33" is an edgy, auspicious, cinematic look at a very dark and horrific time in which millions of people died due to a man-made famine in Ukraine, perpetrated by Joseph Stalin.
In November of 2006, Hollywood filmmakers Director Bobby Leigh and Producer Marta Tomkiw, were invited to a Holodomor memorial service in Los Angeles. "Although I had fancied myself as a history buff, seeing every World War I and II movie that I could and studying countless hours of history channels, I had never before heard of Holodomor or any genocide or famine in Ukraine. I was also surprised, as I later found out, that nobody I knew had ever heard of it either" says Leigh.
In the early 1930’s, Ukraine was the breadbasket of the Soviet Union, had bountiful crops of grain, yet its people were dying of starvation. In order to crush the will of the independent-minded Ukrainian peasants and secure collectivization of all Ukrainian lands, Joseph Stalin ordered an army of ruthless, well-fed Communist Party activists to confiscate all harvested grain and seize all the foodstuffs in the villages. As a result of this genocidal decree, by the end of 1933 nearly 25 percent of the Ukrainian population – 7 to 10 million people, including three million children - had perished.
In the face of terror, Ukrainians had little possibility of escaping their horrific fate or even to create another type of life elsewhere. Travel was banned for Ukrainians, keeping them confined in a prison of starvation within their own villages.
This is the first full-length feature film documentary on this tragic event in history. "HOLODOMOR; Ukraine's Genocide of 1932-33" will tell the story of the cold-blooded destruction of human life, silenced from the world for over seven decades.
"Marta and I researched and found no documentary film on this topic with the exception of "Harvest of Despair," which was made in 1983 and was only 53 minutes. A full-length theatrical documentary movie had to be made. I think we both felt that it was time that all the souls who needlessly died or had been murdered were given a collective voice to tell their story." remembers Leigh.
"We found it a duty or a calling to lift the veil of silence that's been shrouding the Ukrainian nation for too many years." recalls Tomkiw.
"This story should be important to ALL of us, not only as a historical fact but also because, the atrocities that happened to the Ukrainian people should never happen again." says Leigh.
Upon Luba Keske's urging and planting of the seed (Mrs. Keske is a member of the Los Angeles Holodomor committee), as well as Marta Tomkiw's convincing tactics, Leigh decided that, "this story needed to be told after being suppressed for 75 years."
Marta Tomkiw is a filmmaker who now lives in Los Angeles. She is a Detroit native of Ukrainian immigrants and grew up attending Ukrainian schools (Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Grade School, High School, Ridna Shkola - Ukrainian Saturday school), was a member of PLAST (Ukrainian scouting organization), and briefly studied Ukrainian dance. She studied film at the School of Visual Arts in NYC where she also worked at Rockamerica Video, a music video production company where she worked with various recording artists. She graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in film and television. She has also lived & worked in Miami for the television show “World Business Review with Casper Weinberger” and later worked as an Executive Producer for AFI Filmworks and produced car commercials.
Marta has produced several independent films with her most recent being a documentary titled HIGH TECH SOUL about the history and evolution of techno music in Detroit. She also works as a Location Manager on feature films and television shows and has worked on various film projects some of which include: JOHN HANCOCK starring Will Smith and Charlize Theron, GET SMART starring Steve Carrell, TRANSFORMERS (for which she received a “COLA Award” ((California On-Location Awards)) for Location Team of the Year), “Ghost Whisperer”, “West Wing”, RED EYE, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, S.W.A.T., KILL BILL, 8 MILE and many others.
Bobby Leigh served as a producer on THE GIFT…At Risk starring Vince Vaughn and Randy Travis which debuted at the Monaco Film Festival. For Visualiner Entertainment, Bobby is a producer on the Award Winning feature film STRIPPED DOWN staring Ian Ziering ("Beverly Hills 90210" and "Dancing with the Stars,") The film, which took three awards at the Silver Lake Film Festival, including Outstanding Achievement in Production, has been sold to eight European Markets including CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and Ukraine, and will have an American theatrical release in 2008. Recently he produced THE GUITAR PLAYER'S GIRLFRIEND, winner of the Los Angeles Screenwriting Competition sponsored by KODAK and PANAVISION. With Filmmakers Alliance, Leigh produced PLUS or MINUS: A Few Things I Thought I Should Consider with director Amanda Swikow. Leigh also directed the Children's film IT'S ALL AN ILLUSION for Christopher Coppola's Project Access Hollywood. The film, which took third place in the best picture category, is also on the Festival circuit. Other film credits include INFIDELITY, CHILDLIKE VIOLENCE, BURNING MAN, BROKEN and BUTTERFLY SKY.
Bobby served as a producer for three “MTV Video Awards” Television shows, two in New York and one in Dublin. Bobby also produced VISIONFEST/The Vision Awards for Filmmakers Alliance and the Directors Guild of America for four years in a row. Vision Award honorees include such renowned filmmakers as Mike Figgis, Terry Gilliam, Wim Wenders, Allison Anders, Alexander Payne, David O'Russell, Werner Herzog, Michael and Mark Polish and Laura Dern.
Recently coming on board as the film’s expert, historian and researcher is Professor Taras Hunczak PhD. Professor Hunczak is a world-renowned scholar whose primary fields of interest include Ukraine, Russia, Poland and national minorities of Ukraine. He received his PhD from the University of Vienna in 1960 and has authored and edited twenty-seven books on the subject of Ukrainian, Russian and Jewish-Ukrainian relations including 63 articles and chapters. His other activities include serving in November 1993 as consultant to the CSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and Preventive Diplomacy in Hague, The Netherlands. Professor Hunczak also received numerous awards in the United States and in Ukraine for his academic accomplishments as well as for his contributions to building civic society in Ukraine.
Currently Tomkiw and Leigh have put together a five minute sample trailer of the film and are looking for financing for the documentary feature film. "I really feel that this subject needs awareness and must be brought into the mainstream cinematic arena. There is no more effective way to get into everyone's homes and hearts than through cinema." says Leigh.
To view the film trailer and to donate, please see www.HolodomorTheMovie.com.
Be a part of helping the world finally learn about Ukraine’s Holodomor, “The biggest lie. The best kept secret.”
"History knows no other crime of such a nature and magnitude."