A new film about the Stalin-induced famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933, The Bitter Harvest, has hit the movie screens in Ukraine and worldwide. On this occasion, film’s producer, Canadian Ukrainian Ian Ihnatowycz who had invested $20 million in its production, came to Lviv to promote the film.
Speaking in an interview to Western Ukraine’s flagship information agency ZIK, he said among other things, “It is important for me that people in the West should know about the horrendous tragedy in Ukraine in the ‘30s. The film was made in the first place for Western audience that knows little about Ukraine,” Mr. Ihnatowycz said.
The actors are predominantly from Hollywood, with just a few from Ukraine.
“Initially, I was shown the film scenario by Richard Bachynski-Hoover. I liked it at once. So, I got in touch with producer Yurko Mendeliuk whose parents had survived the Holodomor [artificial famine],” Ian Ihnatowycz said.
“The film team cooperated closely with the director of the Holodomor Institute, Liudmyla Hrynevych, and the now deceased renowned historian Orest Subtelny.”
“The shooting of the film took 2 years. As it was during the rule of Viktor Yanukovych, we had to watch our step to continue the shooting. We started giving interviews only when the film was completed.”
“For mass scenes we had to find physically exhausted advanced age Ukrainians. We looked for them in hospices and hospitals.”
Asked about his generosity in donating large sums of money to various charity projects in Canada, Mr. Ihnatowicz said there is an unfailing feeling among the rich people in the West to thank the society for their achievements.
There is an immense threat to Ukraine and the entire world from the glorification of Stalin in Russia. He believes his film says a lot about the horrors of the Communist regime in Ukraine, Mr. Ihnatowycz said.
The Russian propaganda is picking up, with billions spent by the Putin regime to mislead the people in the West about the true goals of Moscow, he said.
Rampant corruption in Ukraine stands in the way of foreign investment. If the government wants to develop the country, it must fight corruption and introduce reforms, Ian Ihnatowycz said.