Title: FREE Screening of "Operation Wedding" Followed by Q & A with Director
Date: Sun, April 7, 2019
Time: 7.30-10.30 PM
Place and Sponsor: Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy, 2186 High Ridge Road, Stamford CT 06903
The community is invited to join Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy for a special evening out, the FREE screening of award-winning documentary "Operation Wedding" by Russian Jewish filmaker Anat Zalmanson Kuznetsov. Light refreshments will be served.
Leningrad, 1970. A group of young Jewish dissidents who were denied exit visas, plot to hijack an empty plane and escape the USSR. 45 years later, filmmaker Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov reveals the compelling story of her parents, leaders of the group, "heroes" in the West but "terrorists" in Russia.
It started as a fantasy, Operation Wedding, as outrageous as it was simple: Under the disguise of a trip to a local family wedding, the hijackers would buy every ticket on a small 12-seater plane, so there would be no passengers but them, no innocents in harm’s way. The group’s pilot, who once flew for the Red Army, would take over the controls and fly the 16 runaways into the sky, over the Soviet border, on to Sweden, bound for Israel. They were caught in the airport, a few steps from boarding the plane, and tried for high treason. Among those arrested remained one woman to be on trial: Sylva Zalmanson, who receives 10 years in Gulag. Sylva's newlywed husband Edward Kuznetsov, receives death sentence; they never got on the plane.
While the Soviet press writes "the criminals received their punishment", tens of thousands of people in the free world demand "Let My People Go!“ and as the Iron Curtain opens a crack for 300,000 Soviets Jews wanting to flee, the group members are held back to pay the price of freedom for everyone else.
Anat and her mother Sylva, retrace the group’s journey from a Soviet airport to a KGB prison. Cigarettes and vodka fuel interviews with the parents filled with intelligence and humor. Archives, reenactments and interviews with KGB officers enhance this inspiring story of young Jews who imagined freedom and cracked the Iron Curtain.
About the Director
Anat studied filmmaking at the London Film School.
It’s been a long-standing ambition for her to tell the story of her parents in the medium of film and Anat is now developing a script for a feature film based on her father's book "Prison Diaries" and her documentary "Operation Wedding".
The film was co-produced in Israel and Latvia.
"Watching this film gives us the sense of looking through a magical, miraculous window on a time the likes of which we may never see again. We can, however, experience it through Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov’s powerful, emotional, exhilarating film and come away filled with both satisfaction and hope."
The Jewish Press
"Anat Zalmanson’s raison d’être in making this film was not only to counter the “alternative facts” of this episode, emanating from Putin’s regime, but also to reclaim Jewish history for today’s generation. In her hour-long film, she has succeeded exceedingly well.""
The Jewish Chronicle
"It is safe to say that Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov has created the definitive tale of the Leningrad hijacking, and in the process, humanized the larger-than-life characters behind it. It’s hard not to pepper descriptions of the film with superlatives like heroic and courageous. It’s equally hard to stay dry-eyed throughout."