PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Ukrainian American filmmaker Matej Silecky’s documentary film, “Baba Babee Skazala,” features interviews with post-World War II immigrants who came to the United States after living as displaced persons.
Mr. Silecky’s Kitsune Tale Productions hopes “to foster independent creative and artistic projects, using storytelling to transform perspectives, much like the mythical shape-shifting kitsune.”
Through interviews, the documentary transcribes the verbal history from personal experiences and makes something “for the record” that will be accessible for generations. The film provides a more in-depth view of the Ukrainian American diaspora, focusing on the immigrant experiences of this post-World War II wave of migration to the U.S. Notably, this includes being caught between Hitler and Stalin, as well as after the war, the uncertainty – as displaced persons – of not knowing if you were going to be forcibly repatriated to the Soviet Union while awaiting passage to the United States. Once in the U.S., there were assimilation challenges.
In an e-mail sent to The Ukrainian Weekly, Mr. Silecky noted:
“We have filmed 30 interviews in five locations across the U.S. and are currently filming in the New York metropolitan area. Other interviews will be scheduled through 2017. We plan to have a promotional piece completed this summer, and schedule focus group screenings shortly thereafter. This input will be used in developing community engagement, outreach and distribution plans.
“Our team is growing: we are working with humanities experts, including Dr. Alexander Motyl, Andrew Fedynsky and Dr. George Kolbauss, who provide support in insuring historic accuracy, community outreach and archiving. Our new intern, Margaryta Maliukova, from Kharkiv, Ukraine, is a junior at Columbia College, which she attends as a finalist through the Ukrainian Students Association in the U.S.A. program.“
Readers who are interested (or know someone who may be) in being interviewed, participating in focus groups or interning this summer, the film team welcomes additional volunteers and input can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project has been conducted in collaboration with the Ukrainian Museum-Archives in Cleveland and others in the development of the film. Initial grant funding was obtained from the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust, and the film is sponsored by the International Documentary Association, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit arts organization.
Mr. Silecky is the founding director of Kitsune Tale Productions LLC. He earned a B.A in interdisciplinary studies from the University of California at Berkeley and gained performance experience from competitive dance, acting, figure skating, as well as screenwriting, film production and editing. Other members of the production team include freelance filmmaker Evan Yee and Ms. Maliukova.
Contributions in support of “Baba Babee Skazala” can be payable to the International Documentary Association (if paying by check, please add “Baba Babee Skazala” in the memo line) and are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Send to: International Documentary Association, Att’n Fiscal Sponsorship Donations, 3740 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 980, Los Angeles, CA 90010.
Donors will be recognized based on their donation level. At the $40 level, honorees are to be included in the Honor Our Ancestors Map; at the $100 level, honorees are listed on the map and in the film memorial; and at the $250+ level, receive the same as the above with the addition of an embroidered fabric art work inclusion of their names in the film credits as supporters.
Readers may find more information, support the film and the archives at www.babababeeskazala.com or Kitsune Tale Productions at www.kitsunetaleproductions.com. Donations can be sent online, via http://documentary.org.film/baba-babee-skazala-grandmother-told-grandmother/. Mr. Silecky can be contacted via telephone at 973-857-2142 or via e-mail at MSilecky@kitsunetaleproductions.com. The organizers can be contacted via various social media, but are most active on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/kitsune_tale_productions/).