Battle of Sevastopol | Bitva za Sebastopol | 2016 Seattle International Film Festival
Ukraine | 2015 | 122 minutes | Sergey Mokritskiy
An epic war biopic about Ukrainian sharpshooter Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who earned the nickname "Lady Death" for her prowess in battle, was sent by Joseph Stalin in 1942 to convince the U.S. to join the war, and formed a lasting friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt.
A joint production between Russia and Ukraine, Battle of Sevastopol is a blockbuster war biopic that immediately topped the box offices in former Soviet territories upon its release last year. Lyudmila Mikhaylovna Pavlichenko (Yulia Peresild), also known as Luda, was born one year before the 1917 Russian Revolution in Odessa. Her mother was a teacher and her father was a law-enforcement major for the Soviet Union. Luda is a serious woman with a fascinating past. She defended Odessa and Sevastopol against the Germans and quickly became the best female sharpshooter in history. In 1942, Joseph Stalin sent her to the U.S. to attempt to convince Roosevelt to join the war. She ends up piquing the interest of Eleanor Roosevelt (Joan Blackham), who is curious to know more about this beautiful young girl known to the Germans as "Lady Death," and who takes her under her wing, forming an unexpected friendship. Battle of Sevastopol was filmed on location in the Crimean cities of Sevastopol, Balaklava, Kiev, and Odessa. The production started a year before current conflicts between the two countries, which of course threatened the project. "Despite the complicated period in the relationship between Russia and Ukraine, we simply excluded politics from our work," says director Sergey Mokritsky. "For me this film is part of our joint history."
Sergey Mokritskiy graduated from the cinematography department of the Film Institute VGIK and worked at Mosfflm and the Odessa Film Studio. He has also directed Four Ages of Love (2008) and Protest Day (2012).
Sponsored by Francis Ford Coppola Winery, KING 5
Director: Sergey Mokritskiy
Principal Cast: Yulia Peresild, Joan Blacham, Evgeniy Tsyganov, Vitali Linetski
Premier Status: North American Premiere