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Chicago Premiere: Finding Babel

Chicago Premiere: Finding Babel

Sunday, January 29, 2017 - 2:00 pm

Perhaps the best proof of the relevance of historical dramas
Winner, Special Jury Prize—Moscow Jewish Film Festival
Exquisite—Vitaly Mansky, President, Artdocfest
Gains in power, insight, and urgency as it journeys—Village Voice
Makes you want to read Babel's writing—New York Times

Watch the trailer

Isaac Babel was a Russian short-story writer whose works, translated into many languages, exemplify the achievement of Russia’s literary avant-garde. His writings are subversive masterpieces that challenged the ideology of the early Soviet Union, resulting in his arrest and execution in 1940.

In Finding Babel, his grandson, theater professor Andrei Malaev-Babel, pieces together the story of the grandfather he never knew. He travels across Ukraine and Russia amid remnants of their turbulent history and the rise of modern-day conflicts to learn the truth about Babel’s execution at the hands of Stalin’s regime.

Andrei Malaev-BabelAndrei Malaev-Babel introduced the film and led a post-show discussion. Malaev-Babel is Adjunct Associate Professor of Theater, Humanities, and Interdisciplinary Programs at New College Florida. As the former Producing Artistic Director for the Stanislavsky Theater Studio, he directed productions at the Kennedy Center and National Theater in Washington, DC. He was joined by David Novack for a Q&A with the audience.

David NovackDavid Novack is the Director, Co-Producer, and Co-Writer of Finding Babel. He won the prestigious IDA Pare Lorentz Award for Social Documentary Filmmaking for his film Burning the Future: Coal in America. His film Kimjongilia, a documentary about North Korean refugees that premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, won the Best Human Rights Documentary Award from the One World Brussels Film Fest.

A Note From David Novack 
"In an age where conflict has once again arisen in the battle-torn lands of Ukraine, where journalists are executed in a Paris office or beheaded in the Syrian Desert, where artists and writers face threats, arrest, or even torture in countless authoritarian nations — Babel's pen draws a line of continuity through history. It reminds us of the danger of unlimited power and the suffering of the common person in any conflict."

Sunday Cinema Film Series

5 fascinating films about Jewish lives
4 winter afternoons
4 special speakers
4 daring documentaries
3 premieres
1 short, sweet work of fiction 

Chicago Premiere: Finding Babel
January 29 at 2 pm

Chicago Preview: Big Sonia
February 5 at 2 pm

Chicago Premiere: Morgenthau
February 12 at 2 pm

Double Feature | Short Film: Hannah Cohen’s Holy Communion | Chicago Premiere: Torah Treasures and Curious Trash
February 19 at 2 pm

What is Sunday Cinema?

Sunday Cinema is a mini Jewish Film Festival that happened over four Sundays in January and February, bringing new Jewish films to Chicago that area audiences wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to see.

This year’s theme is Jewish Lives. The films all profile exceptional individuals whose stories reveal the depth and diversity of the Jewish experience. Included are four documentary films — shot in locales from Ukraine to Jerusalem to Kansas — along with one wonderful short film from Ireland.

The films were screened in the beautiful, state-of-the-art Feinberg Theater at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership.


Sunday Cinema Lead Sponsor
The Wilkow Family

Executive Producer Level Sponsors
John & Joan Gilchrist, Executive Directors-Investments