Bitter Harvest: A Brilliant Film on the Ukrainian Holodomor

Bitter Harvest (2017) is a film inspired by the love and rediscovery of the writer Richard Bachynsky Hoover’s ethnic heritage. On a trip to the homeland of his Slavic ancestors he began to ruminate on how to capture the story of the Holodomor on film. With small acting parts in a variety of television series Bachynsky Hoover was learning the ropes of the film and entertainment industry. He went again to Kiev, investigating his family history. . . .

He learned that Western audiences had never seen the Holodomor dramatized on film — a dramatically different situation compared to that other genocide that has become a touchstone of Western Civilization and both a sword and a shield for Jewish and Israeli interests through endless promotion in the media. In 2008 he would return with a script, seeking financing for an English language period piece set during the Holodomor. He met with officials from the Ukrainian Government as well as various oligarchs. All of them turned him down. It was not until 2011 that the dream to make his movie finally caught a glimmer of hope when fellow Ukrainian Canadian investor Ian Ihnatowycz committed $21 million to the film. . . .

“You’ve got to look back hundreds of years from Catherine the Great, attempts have been made through Russification to dilute and separate the Ukrainian national identity. Despite all that and being stuck between a rock and a hard place — Europe and the former Soviet Union . . . despite that, the national identity is still intact. The energy to rise up out of those dire circumstances it so overwhelming.” Says Irons, of his impression of the Ukrainian people.

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