Family Portrait in Black and White: A Talk With Julia Ivanova

Posted in Articles, Europe, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Work on 2012-10-17 01:21Z by Steven

Family Portrait in Black and White: A Talk With Julia Ivanova

The Huffington Post
The Blog

E. Nina Rothe, Global Culture Explorer

The upcoming documentary by Julia Ivanova, titled Family Portrait in Black and White features a Ukrainian foster mother, Olga, and her brood of 27 foster kids. Ranging in ages between grade schoolers and legal adults, Olga’s children are for the most part the beautifully unique result of relationships between African students—attending the affordable universities of the former Soviet country — and Ukrainian women. In a national environment that presently leans more on the side of intolerance and bigotry, where neo-Nazi demonstrations can be the found on any given day in Kiev, Olga should be called a heroine.

Yet the beauty of Ivanova’s insightful film lies in her cinematic portrayal of the woman behind the mother. Olga turns out to be a flawed, overbearing, opinionated result of the former Soviet regime, who loves by the rules and teaches by the book: her book. In other words, perfectly human.

I caught up with Ivanova about her touching film and she shared her insightful views on the film’s imperfect heroine, as well as the future of these biracial children in a world that is increasingly partial to what is standard and un-unique.

Your film tells the story of a woman who is human, not just a heroine. How did you become aware of this particular story?

This particular story was very dear to me because for a number of years I wanted to make a film about biracial citizens of Eastern Europe and especially children who were born in Eastern Europe and don’t have a second identity other than the identity of the nation they feel they belong to. But the society sees them as different, so I was looking for a story that would allow me to explore this topic in its whole complexity. I was filming in Moscow in 2004 when I saw an article in the local newspaper of this woman in Ukraine with photos. Immediately I thought it was an excellent, excellent story and I got in touch with her a year or two later and then came to meet her…

Read the entire interview here.

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