This is getting some serious praise.
Cork-based filmmaker Sam Jones is behind the must-see documentary, My Lost Russian Mother, screening on December 20th at the new Arc Cinema on North Main Street as part of IndieCork.
The film is generating significant buzz — having world-premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh with The Irish Times writing “few films at this year’s fleadh were more memorable”. It also won the Audience Award at the Belfast Film Festival.
The documentary follows the poignant journey of Gabe, a US citizen, embarking on a quest to a remote Russian village in search of the mother he was separated from in childhood.
Sam shared with Yay Cork how his chance encounter with Gabe while studying in south Russia sparked the idea behind the film.
“He started telling me his story that he’d come here to find his mother, all I could think was would he let me come with him and film,” revealed Sam.
“It was the fact that what he was saying just didn’t fit with what I was seeing — this confident, slightly privileged American saying he was nine and his sister, six when they were taken from Russia.
“I was so interested in the story that I didn’t ask him outright in case he would say no. We met later in the week and talked it over, it was then that he told me he’d always dreamt of someone filming his story.”
Sam, originally from Belfast, studied sculpture at MTU Crawford College of Art & Design in early 2000 and then moved to Cork when a job opportunity at UCC arose for his wife. After the birth of their daughter, he began editing My Lost Russian Mother in cafés across the city.
After a successful debut at the Galway Film Fleadh, Sam expressed astonishment at the emotional audience response.
He’s now looking forward to the IndieCork screening. “Although the story was filmed in America and Russia it’s been made here in Cork where we’ve been living for the last six years,” he said.
As the film gains traction in Ireland, Sam hopes for international success, but acknowledges the element of luck in the industry. And while he continues his work in factual TV, he hinted at another documentary in the works, promising it won’t take a decade to complete.
Tickets for My Lost Russian Mother, starting from €6.50, can be nabbed here.