“Revolution is the mad inspiration of history”
A documentary for the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.
This the story of Leon Trotsky as told by those who knew him. Trotsky's dramatic tale of revolution, betrayal and exile comes to life in intimate detail through interviews brought to light after forty years.
Masterful writer and theoretician, Trotsky led with Lenin the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia; he founded and commanded the Red Army--5 million strong, defending the revolution from counterrevolution and fourteen invading armies. Expelled from the Soviet Union by Stalin in 1929, he continued to make history, as he was hounded across the planet until his assassination in Mexico in 1940.
Through these intimate interviews we are with Trotsky in his Moscow office the day after his expulsion from the Communist Party; we are with him in exile fishing at dawn on a Turkish island and writing into the night; we join him as he is buffeted from one French town to another, interned and incommunicado in Norway and finally welcomed to Mexico by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. As Stalin's purges intensify and Hitler rises to power, Trotsky pays a terrible price for his fierce opposition to Stalin. One by one his four children perish, seven of his personal secretaries and thousands of his adherents are killed, and in 1940, he himself is assassinated in Mexico by Stalin's executioner.
The film's dramatic arc culminates with harrowing descriptions from bodyguard Harold Robins of the two assassination attempts in Mexico. The second ended Trotsky's life but not the influence of this man who embodies the revolution and the course that history and the world might have taken.
Lindy Laub is an award-winning filmmaker, in fact every film she's worked on has won awards. She wrote, directed and produced the feature film They Come at Night starring Elpidia Carrillo (Predator, Salvador) and Barbara Williams (White House Down) which screened in many festivals from Havana to San Francisco to Barcelona, winning awards for Best Dramatic Feature and Best Acting.
As a screenwriter in Los Angeles, Laub wrote original screenplays for indie producers, and Touchstone, Disney and Fox including For the Boys, starring Bette Midler and garnering Midler an Academy Award nomination. Laub's film Shiksa was a Student Academy Award regional finalist, and won a CINE Golden Eagle as well as numerous awards internationally. She was cinematographer on, among others, the award-winning films Black Exodus (LA Rebellion Movement) and the documentary Sweet Jail: The Sikhs of Yuba City.
Laub earned her MFA in Film Production at UCLA; she taught screenwriting and film production for seven years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and in the UC system at San Diego, Santa Barbara and Riverside.
David Loeb Weiss
David Loeb Weiss was a life-long revolutionary and award winning documentary filmmaker.
In the early 1930s, David organized clerks in the New York garment industry (1932), was an organizer of a New York hotel workers’ strike (1934), and a leader of the victorious Dura-Steel strike in Los Angeles (1937). He was an organizer of the Socialist Party (SP) in Los Angeles (1936), and Socialist Workers Party (SWP) organizer in Youngstown, Chicago, and San Francisco. In New York City in the early 1950s he was the Socialist Party's candidate for mayor and governor.
David’s first film, Profile of a Peace Parade, (1968) features interviews with antiwar New Yorkers at a large demonstration in Manhattan. His landmark film, No Vietnamese Ever Called Me Nigger (1968), is still being shown at film festivals. It tackled racism and the Vietnam War, its title lifted from a statement by Muhammad Ali. His award-winning Farewell, Etaoin Shrdlu (1980), captured the last day of the linotype machine at The New York Times and its replacement by newer technology.
Suzi Weissman is Professor of Politics at Saint Mary's College of California and sits on the editorial boards of Critique and Against the Current. She is the author of Victor Serge: The Course is Set on Hope (Verso, 2001); and edited Victor Serge: Russia Twenty Years After (Humanities, 1996), and The Ideas of Victor Serge (Critique Books, 1997), as well as dozens of articles on the Soviet Union and Russia. Her emphasis is on working class and left dissent.
She is a Fellow of the Trotsky Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow State University, Institute of Economics.
Suzi Weissman is also an award winning broadcast journalist, has broadcast a weekly drive-time public affairs program on KPFK for more than two decades.
Additionally, Weissman has consulted on several films. Most recently, she consulted on Adolfo Garcia Videla’s Mexican documentary on Trotsky.
Paul Alexander Juutilainen, MFA
Paul Alexander Juutilainen has over 20 years of experience directing and editing feature documentaries, television specials, and narrative films. His work has received recognition with over 60 awards, including 13 Emmy awards, 18 Emmy nominations, DuPont-Columbia, and 10 Telly awards. In 1998 Juutilainen founded De Facto Fiction Films.
Juutilainen’s first long-format documentary, Herbert's Hippopotamus about philosopher Herbert Marcuse, was broadcast and screened at festivals internationally and selected for the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival. He also directed the documentary Life by Design (2008) premiering at the AFI Film Festival exploring the worldwide impact of Danish design, Sculpting Sound (2010) about how acoustician Cyril Harris created one of the greatest music halls in the world, and several documentaries for PBS including On Detour with Manny Farber about painter and film critic Manny Farber.
He was the editor for Rea Tajiri’s Lordville (2014); Bringing King to China (2011) produced by Kevin McKiernan and Haskell Wexler; Freshwater Seas (2009) for WTVS/Detroit Public Television; and the editor/researcher for Culture of Hate (2002) for KPBS/American Public Television.
Larry Groupé is one of the most talented and versatile composers working today in the entertainment industry. With an impressive musical résumé in film and television as well as the concert stage, his achievements have received both critical praise and popular acclaim.
Larry has completed his latest score for Straw Dogs. Directed by Rod Lurie starring James Marsden, Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgård. Just prior to this was Nothing but the Truth starring Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon and Alan Alda. A compelling political drama about first amendment rights, which followed on the heels of Resurrecting the Champ starring Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett. All collaborations with writer-director Rod Lurie.
Most notably, he wrote the score for The Contender starring Joan Allen, Gary Oldman and Jeff Bridges, a highly regarded political drama written and directed by Rod Lurie, which received multiple Academy Award nominations.
CLR James (1909-1989)Renowned author of Black Jacobins, Beyond a Boundary, World Revolution and much more, he tells of discussing with Trotsky the struggle for black liberation in the U.S.
Jean Van Heijenoort (1912-1986)Born in France, Van Heijenoort was Trotsky’s personal secretary from 1932-39. He's our guide in exile. "Van" was the hunk in Barbara Kingsolver's novel "Lacuna" and was played by Felipe Fulop in the movie "Frida". He later became a pioneer historian of mathematical logic.
James P. Cannon (1885-1973)Grand Old Man of American Socialism, Cannon worked with Big Bill Heywood in the IWW and Eugene Debs in the Socialist Party. He met Trotsky in Moscow, later smuggling Trotsky’s forbidden Critique of the Stalin/Bukharin Draft Program out of Russia in 1928.
Fanny YanovichThis wonderful old woman, Trotsky’s Russian secretary in Mexico, was “the only one permitted to smoke in his presence.” She alleges that one of Trotsky’s guards, who was later murdered, was in league with the attackers.
Suzanne LaFollette (1893-1983)Niece of liberal Republican Senator "Fighting Bob" LaFollette. Noted editor and writer, she was secretary of the John Dewey Commission of Inquiry in Mexico. Weiss asks her why she, as a supporter of capitalism would fulfill this task, she says, “Because it was the truth.” She was an ardent feminist and vocal anti-communist.
Esteban "Sieva" VolkovTrotsky’s grandson was fourteen when Trotsky was assassinated. Esteban grimly recounts returning home from school to see his grandfather being rushed to the hospital. He continued to live in his grandfather’s house and raised his own family there. He's the only eyewitness alive today.
Harold Robins (1908-1987)The bodyguard who fought Trotsky's assassin to the ground demanding, “Why did you do it?”
Pierre Pascal (1890-1983)Pascal was a highly placed member of the French military mission in 1917 who broke with the mission and went over to the Bolsheviks where he was able to observe Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and others at first hand.
James Farrell (1904-1979)Author of Studs Lonigan, among his many works. He knew Trotsky and was present at the Dewey Commission hearings in Mexico. He tells of Trotsky denied permission to speak in New York at the Hippodrome by the U.S. government.
Gerard Rosenthal (1903-1992)Trotsky’s lawyer in France. He was with Trotsky in Moscow in 1927 before his exile and later in Prinkipo, France and Norway.
Pierre FrankFrench Trotskyist leader, on the secretariat of the Fourth International from 1948-1979 and one of Trotsky’s guards in Prinkipo who many years later helped take care of Trotsky’s widow Natalia. “She died in my arms,” he says.
General Dmitri VolkogonovThree Star General who became Boris Yeltsin’s right-hand man, he was interviewed in 1990 when, during Perestroika, Weiss was invited as a filmmaker to the U.S.S.R. by the Moscow Memorial Society (which commemorates the victims of Stalin).
Nadezhda Joffe (1906-1999)Daughter of Adolph Joffe, who killed himself in protest at Trotsky's expulsion from the Communist Party. At his funeral, Trotsky delivered his last speech on Russian soil. Nadezhda survived 27 years in the labor camps, where she met Trotsky's first wife.
Pierre NavilleNaville was the very last of the original Parisian Surrealists who launched the movement with Andre Breton in the 1920s. He met Trotsky in Moscow the day after his expulsion from the Communist Party.
Arne Swabeck (1890-1986)A co-worker of Trotsky’s for many years, and one of the “witnesses” in Warren Beatty’s film, "Reds", about the life of John Reed.
This film has been FORTY YEARS in the making. WHY?
In film, it always boils down to money. Our biggest challenge is getting enough money to complete this important film before the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
Professional screenwriter Lindy Laub along with consulting producer Suzi Weissman, have written a documentary script using Weiss's extensive footage and transformed it into a compelling narrative. To complete the film, more help is needed.
We must pay for:
Archival footage rights and research, a film score, editorial work, sound mixing, and more.
Check out our KICKSTARTER now to support this important film!