In collaboration with Penn Cinema and Media Studies
Isaac Babel's writings are subversive masterpieces, challenging the ideology of the early Soviet Union, and resulting in his arrest and execution in 1940. On the 75th anniversary of Isaac Babel's execution, Finding Babel follows Andrei Malaev-Babel, his grandson, on a journey to come closer to some sense of truth. Hoping to better understand Babel's powerful artistic method and elusive persona, Andrei journeys through Ukraine, France and Russia; locations deeply tied to the story of his grandfather. He confronts lingering traces of a turbulent history that echo in Babel’s writing and in the conflicts and climate of today’s Ukraine and Russia.
David Novack is the director, and a writer/producer of Finding Babel. Prior to his work with Finding Babel, Mr. Novack wrote, produced and directed the film Burning the Future: Coal in America, which won awards at numerous festivals. David Novack produced Kimjongilia, a documentary about N. Korean refugees that premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. In audio post production, Mr. Novack has enjoyed a successful career as a re-recording mixer/sound designer, recently adding a major new opera by Roger Waters to his credits. David Novack received an engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a degree in music from Berklee College of Music. In additional to making films, Mr. Novack is a Lecturer of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Pennsylvania where he enjoys mentoring a new generation of filmmakers.
This program is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Department of Russian and East European Studies and the Cinema and Media Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.