Thursday, April 10, 2008

REFUSENIK: The Story of How Grassroots Activism Blossomed into an International Human Rights Campaign to Free Soviet Jewry

Last night I had the privilege to watch the North American premiere of Refusenik, directed by Laura Bialis at the Seattle Jewish Film Festival. It was apropos for Seattle and the Jewish Film Festival to be the first to present this landmark documentary, since Senator Henry 'Scoop' Jackson hailed from Washington State, and was so instrumental in the fight to free Soviet Jews. This incredibly moving documentary points to the power of ideas, demonstrating how history can be changed when idealism, perseverance and perhaps a bit of naivete converge, creating the groundswell for what developed into an international movement.
There are lessons for us today as the Jewish community engages in battles to safeguard the rights of Jews around the world, including ironically, those of our brothers and sisters in Israel. Thanks to Laura and all those involved in the creation of this wonderful film for helping show us the way forward.
Here's to the incredible courage and indomitable spirit of all the Refuseniks!
David Brumer

REFUSENIK -- the amazing story of the activists who led the three decade international struggle to free Soviet Jews
Exclusive Engagement at Landmark's Varsity Theatre
Opening Night Friday, April 11, 2008

Director Laura Bialis will be in person for Q&A Friday, April 11, at the 7:10 & 9:50 shows

Landmark Varsity Theatre
4329 University Way, N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 781-5755

click here for map
ShowtimesApril 11: 2:00, 4:30, 7:10, 9:50April 12-13: 2:00, 4:30, 7:10, 9:40

April 14-16:
7:10, 9:40

Advance ticket purchase at
Landmark Theatre box office
click here for trailer

About the Film
REFUSENIK is the first retrospective documentary to chronicle the thirty-year movement to free Soviet Jews. It shows how a small grassroots effort bold enough to take on a Cold War superpower blossomed into an international human rights campaign that engaged the disempowered and world leaders alike. Told through the eyes of activists on both sides of the Iron Curtain - many of whom survived punishment in Soviet Gulag labor camps - the film is a tapestry of first-person accounts of heroism, sacrifice, and ultimately, liberation.The campaign to free Soviet Jewry is a major event in Jewish history. By 1992, one and a half million Jews had left the Soviet Union to live in freedom as a direct result of what was likely the most successful human rights campaign of all times.REFUSENIK illustrates how individuals can utilize the power inherent in a tolerant democracy and literally change the world. The tactics and methods developed by activists in this struggle became examples to the rest of the world, forever changing the human rights landscape.One of the proudest chapters in Jewish history, the story of the refuseniks demonstrates the need for Jewish solidarity, the importance of the State of Israel, and the responsibilities we face as individuals living in a democracy.Much of the material used in REFUSENIK is unique and exclusive to this film. Interviews with key leaders in the movement are some of the first ever to be recorded. Many of the photographs and covert film footage – some of it smuggled out of the Soviet Union – have never been seen before by a large audience, and help make REFUSENIK a unique portrait of this amazing story.


Lao Qiao said...

Every silver lining has a cloud. Some of the beneficiaries of the Refuseniks are Russian Orthodox Christians who are Israeli citizens but who read, believe, and distribute the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

However, the fact that such people can live and function in Israel is evidence of the strength of democracy and of the openness of Israeli society.

Uzi Silber said...

Lao's words can't be argued with. I would a hearty Yimakh Shmam veZichram to those anti Jewish beneficieries of Israel's largess and refusnik heroism.