2023 / 96'
Dir. Jessica Gorter
Prod. Zeppers Film
Deep inside the Russian forests, against the wishes of the authorities, 60-year-old Yuri Dmitriev searches for mass graves from the era of Stalin’s terror against his own people, until one day he is arrested and sentenced to 15 years in a penal colony.
Yuri Dmitriev exhumes what the Russian rulers would rather forget. After years of searching
the pine forests of Karelia in northwestern Russia, he discovers a mass grave containing
thousands of people who were secretly executed during Stalin’s “Great Terror” of 1937.
It is not the Russian government but Yuri Dmitriev who tracks down their identities in the
archives and organizes commemorations for their next of kin. Thanks to his efforts, they
finally find out what happened to their lost relatives. Having himself been left at a maternity
clinic as a baby, he is a man on a mission: ‘Every human being has the right to know where
they came from and where their family lies buried.’
While abroad there is increasing recognition for this “archaeologist of terror”, in Russia
Dmitriev is discredited as someone collaborating with the West. Then he is arrested, on basis
of a fabricated charge. Tragically accurate Dmitriev predicts his own future and that of his