Home » Culture and History

Film Directed By Russian Woman Selected for Sundance Film Festival

21. January 2011 by Christy 0 Comments

Family Portrait in Black and White, a documentary film directed by Julia Ivanova, has been selected to compete in this year’s prestigious Sundance Film Festival. Ivanova’s documentary was one of 12 films selected from 796 international documentary submissions.


Competing in the category of World Cinema Documentary, Family Portrait in Black and White tells the story of Olga Nenya, a Ukrainian woman who is single-handedly raising 23 foster children. Sixteen of the children are of mixed-race, and the film exposes the harsh realities of growing up biracial in a nation full of blue-eyed blondes.


“It is a very serious film” Ivanova told indieWIRE. “Not only about racism and the sense of belonging, but also, and most of all, about the orphanhood and the parent-teenager conflict.”

In addition to directing, Ivanova also served as the documentary’s screenwriter, executive producer, cinematographer, and editor. Sally Jo Fifer and Mette Hoffman Meyer join the Russian in the role of executive producer (curiously, Meyer is also on the World Cinema Documentary jury), while Stanislav Shakhov helped with cinematography. Boris Ivanov produced the film and Boris Sichon was responsible for music.


When asked what makes Family Portrait in Black White unique and universal, Ivanova responded:

“I believe the film will be interesting to an audience in any country because of the combination of these universal themes and the unique story of these kids with their great personalities and big hearts who happen to live a in a village among drunks and goats. Plus, one of the boys in the family might have had an American father whom he hopes to find through this film!”


Held each year in Utah, The Sundance Film Festival is the largest independent cinema festival in the United States. Both American and international independent filmmakers showcase their work at Sundance, and the festival is comprised of both competitive and non-competitive sections. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival takes place in Park City, Utah, January 20 – 30. Click to see the Sundance Film Festival’s live streaming schedule.


Check out the trailer for A Family Portrait in Black and White!