Spell Your Name, a collaboration between the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation
Pinchuk has visited the premiere of Spell Your Name, a film by director Sergey Bukovsky on the Holocaust in Ukraine, on the 18th of October 2006 in Kiev.
The premiere marked Mr. Spielberg’s first trip to one of the countries of the former Soviet Union, and to the country of his family’s origin. In addition to the Holocaust survivors featured in the documentary, political, cultural, and leaders of the Jewish community attended the event, which was helded at the International Center of Culture and Arts (the former Zhovtnevyi Palace) in central Kiev.
The film, produced by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education with support from Mr. Pinchuk, takes viewers on a journey of discovery, as Mr. Bukovsky and three Ukrainian journalism students absorb the testimony of Jewish survivors who escaped brutal execution and those who rescued friends and neighbors during the Holocaust. The men and women featured in the film share the details of their experiences in Ukrainian and Russian.
"To prepare for the film, we viewed nearly 500 testimonies at the USC Shoah Foundation Institute in Los Angeles. As I watched, I could imagine making a film from every single one," said the film’s director, Mr. Bukovsky.
Mr. Spielberg, who established the Shoah Foundation in 1994, is co-executive producer of Spell Your Name, with Mr. Pinchuk. Mr. Pinchuk first discussed his idea for a film on the Holocaust in Ukraine with Mr. Spielberg in 2004.
"The stories and experiences of survivors in Ukraine need to be seen and heard by the people of the world, who may not know what happened in Ukraine during the Holocaust," Mr. Spielberg said. "Sergey’s work is compelling art, and it beautifully conveys the emotions experienced by the students who took this journey of discovery."
"My appreciation and gratitude also go to my friend Victor Pinchuk, whose generous support and commitment to making a film on this subject made it possible for the USC Shoah Foundation Institute to make Spell Your Name," he added.
"It is essential that we learn the lessons of history, and the testimonies gathered by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute that you will see in this film are the most compelling teachers for Ukraine and all the world," Mr. Pinchuk said. "It was a pleasure for me to work with the master of modern cinema, Steven Spielberg. Together we were able to help the Institute and Sergey Bukovsky shed light on one of the darkest pages of Ukraine’s history."
"Raising issues of tolerance is timely everywhere, and especially so as we commemorate the sixty-fifth anniversary of the massacre at Babi Yar," said historian Douglas Greenberg, Executive Director of the Institute. "Spell Your Name teaches us all about some of the darkest moments in human history; we hope and expect that it will not only provide education about the past, but start a dialogue about the future as well."
Completion of a teacher’s guide to accompany the film will occur in early 2007 as part of a broader educational program being developed by the Institute in conjunction with the Mr. Pinchuk Foundation.
List of key credits:
||Steven Spielberg & Victor Pinchuk|
||USC Shoah Foundation Institute|
|Executive in charge of Production
|Directors of Photography
||Roman Elensky, Volodymyr Kukorenchuk|
|Ukrainian Production Services
||Film Plus, Ltd.|
About USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education
With a collection of nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s archive is the largest visual history archive in the world. The Institute interviewed Jewish survivors, homosexual survivors, Jehovah’s Witness survivors, liberators and liberation witnesses, political prisoners, rescuers and aid providers, Roma and Sinti (Gypsy) survivors, survivors of Eugenics policies, and war crimes trials participants.
The mission of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute is to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry–and the suffering they cause–through the educational use of the Institute's visual history testimonies. The Institute relies upon partnerships in the United States and around the world to provide public access to the archive and advance scholarship in many fields of inquiry. The Institute and its partners also utilize the archive to develop educational products and programs for use in many countries and languages.
About the Victor Pinchuk Foundation
Victor Pinchuk is the founder of Interpipe Corporation, one of the largest Ukrainian industrial groups. The Victor Pinchuk Foundation develops and supports projects that contribute to the development and modernization of Ukraine. Six fields of activity and the current projects of the Foundation have been selected because of their strategic importance for the future of the country: Health (Neonatal Centers), Education (Stipends Programs, School of Economics, cooperation with the Aspen Institute), Culture (Contemporary Arts Centre), Rule of Law (with the Soros Foundation), International Development (promotion of Ukraine in the EU) and support for local communities in Ukraine. Further program development is underway.