USA Director tour #1 NYC-Cleveland-Philadelphia (Operation Wedding, Documentary)

February 23rd, 2017 - Ben Gurion airport

Worked from 9am to 2am for the past 3 days, started packing at midnight, slept 2 hours but I'm super pumped, happy and grateful to start my US film tour!

NYC-Cleveland-Philadelphia here I come!

NYC

Sunday, February 26th, 2017 -

Lerner Hall in Columbia University, 2pm

The first one who walked in the theater carried Save Soviet Jewry sign. I quickly found out this was Freda Bluestone Birnbaum! Freda's late husband Jacob founded the student Struggle for Soviet Jewry in the 60's.

Credit: Matan Tzinamon

It was a full house, mixed with human rights activists from the 70's and young student who knew little about Soviet Jewry struggle

Prior the film there were remarks by Gal Beckerman, Historian & NY Times book review,

and by David Harris CEO of AJC:

"Ultimately it became the most successful human rights movement in history, this could not have happened without the extraordinary courage of a small group of Soviet Jews who were determined to to put their lives on the line in order to sort the principle 'Let My People Go'. Without them there would be no story, there would be no success."

WATCH: Film remarks by David Harris

WATCH: Film remarks by Gal Beckerman

Credit: Matan Tzinamon

3pm. showing the film

Credit: Matan Tzinamon

There was no room for me in the cinema

so I set in the projector room

When I came out I was greeted with a standing ovation..

Thank you NYC!

I answered questions from the audience (my favorite part) and introduce special guests in the audience: The wives of two group members Yuri Fedorov and Aleksey Murzhenko

and of course my uncle Israel Zalmanson, also a group member, who served 8 years in Gulag, was there. I asked him to join and answer some questions.

WATCH: Q&A with Director Anat Zalmanson Kuznetsov

and group member Israel Zalmanson

Credit: Matan Tzinamon

We thank Aryeh: Columbia Students Association for Israel for organizing and initiating, AJC & The Department of Slavic Languages at Columbia University that co-sponsored the event and JDC for supporting and promoting!

Thursday, March 2nd, 8am

JM in the AM with Nachum Segal invited me for an interview:

"I asked my mother Sylva Zalmanson: if there was no Israel, would you have done it and risk spending years in Gulag or death? She said no. My mother, like the rest of the group, felt that her home is in Israel and they simply wanted to return home. That was worth dying for".

Listen to our conversation

CLEVELAND

Five screenings in two days!

Sunday, March 5, at 12:30pm: Akiva high school

Screening for teenagers is always my goal.

They seem to respond and really understand the deep meaning of the story.

Sunday, March 5, at 4 pm: Beth Israel The West TempleDid you know that the Struggle for Soviet Jewry started thanks to NASA in Cleveland 1963? It was founded in this place in 1963, the Beth Israel-The West Temple in Cleveland, so I was extra happy that Jewish Federation Of Cleveland hosted a screening of Operation Wedding at the West Temple. How is all that related to NASA? People who worked for NASA and were also members of the West Temple learned that USSR doesn't let people leave and even more so - that Jews in USSR want to leave! And that's how it started, in a nutshell

In the picture above, I'm pointing at the sign that says:

"Hear the cry of the oppressed THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN THE SOVIET UNION"

Sunday, March 5, at 7 pm:

Cedar-Lee Cinema, the main screening

American and Israelis gathered in the cinema. I enjoyed hearing their reaction to the film: laughing, crying...

Monday, March 6, at 11 am & at 7:15pm:

Russian subtitles screenings at Atlas Cinema

Even though not many former Soviet Union people know about this story, that was hidden from them in the Soviet press, the people who came stood up and said "thanks to your parents we are free"

PHILADELPHIA

Israeli Film Festival

A review in the Jewish Exponent: "In her documentary Operation Wedding, Anat Zalmanson Kuznetzov provides a moving, deeply human telling of her parents’ story, in which — unlike a 2010 Russian film interpretation — her parents are not terrorists."

Read more: (scroll to middle of the page)

Thursday, March 9

4 American activists, 2 brave Soviet dissidents and one who was born to freedom (me) meeting in Philadelphia:

a few decades later here we are, we won. OK, I wasn't there then, but I'm here now and I'll make sure it is not forgotten from history.

Friday, March 10

Shabbat dinner with the festivals organizers and sponsors

I didn't have a chance to take photos, but here the one photo I have from the evening with the host, Ronit

Saturday, March 11

Getting ready for the screening

5pm

Marina Furman came to pick me p for a dinner before the screening. Marina, former famous refusnik and now JNF Executive Director, Eastern PA and Southern NJ, first took me to a Soviet Jewry Forest monument: there are not many of those. So far I only found three

7pm

People will soon arrive. A good time to take a picture with the lovely festivals organizers Have and Cindy

8pm

People are seated and Marvin Verman gives his remarks, too bad I didn't catch it on video it was very powerful! Marvin helped bring to film in Philadelphia and he was one of the major activits in the 70's to free Soviet Jewry. Thank you Marvin!

Marina Furman also gave her remarks, watch the video:

10pm

"A bottle (of Vodka) a day, keeps the doctor away"

(Edward Kuznetsov, 2015 Operation Wedding) Vodka pouring like water in the film, and the Furman family came with pickles and vodka to toast for the film's future success after Philadelphia premiere.

Another interesting fact about Lev Furman - he was offered to join the original escape plan: which including 64 people in a bigger plane, he agreed right away! The Leningrad group changed their minds and so the Riga group continued the plan without them, though Lev would have been happy to join the Riga group!

But that's another story...

Sunday, March 12

Finally some time to see the city...

Tomorrow I'm leaving home and I'll be back in May!

Toronto-Philadelphia-NYC-NJ-Detroit-Washington DC

Check our screening list

Designed & created by Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov 2016