Set between the two World Wars and based on true historical events, BITTER HARVEST conveys the untold story of the Holodomor, the genocidal famine engineered by the tyrant Joseph Stalin. The film displays a powerful tale of love, honour, rebellion and survival at a time when Ukraine was forced to adjust to the horrifying territorial ambitions of the burgeoning Soviet Union. With an exceptional cast of established and rising stars, the film epically recreates one of the most dramatic and dangerous episodes in the history of 20th Century Europe.
Bitter Harvest is a romantic-drama film set in Soviet Ukraine in the early 1930s. The film was directed by George Mendeluk and the original story and script was written by Richard Bachynsky Hoover. The film stars Max Irons, Samantha Barks, Barry Pepper, Tamer Hassan and Terence Stamp. It was shot on location in Ukraine. The film has been acquired by Roadside Attractions for a 1st quarter 2017 US release.
About the Story
The plot of Bitter Harvest follows two lovers, played by Irons and Barks, struggling to survive the Holodomor Soviet regime forced famine with their Cossack grain farmer families. Inspired by actual events, Bitter Harvest is set at the time of the Soviet famine of 1932–33. In view of a standout amongst the most disregarded tragedies of the twentieth Century, it is an intense story of adoration, respect, insubordination and survival as observed through the eyes of two young lovers caught in the ravages of Joseph Stalin’s genocidal approaches against Ukraine in the 1930s.
As Stalin advances the ambitions of the burgeoning Soviet Union, a youthful craftsman named Yuri (Max Irons) fights to survive starvation, detainment and torment to spare his childhood sweetheart Natalka (Samantha Barks) from the Holodomor, the death by-starvation program which ultimately killed millions of Ukrainians. Against this tragic backdrop, Yuri escapes from a Soviet prison and joins the anti-Bolshevik resistance movement as he fights to rejoin with Natalka and proceed with the battle for a free Ukraine.
Production and Cast
Filming began in Ukraine by November 15, 2013. On February 5, 2014 Variety reported that the shoot had just ended in Kiev. In early 2014, post-production continued at London’s Pinewood Studios, using the official James Bond filming tank for under-water filming. Skyfall editor Stuart Baird and SFX teams worked on the film in post production.
Filmed on location in Ukraine, this love story brings to light one of the most devastating chapters of modern Europe. The cast includes Barry Pepper, Tamer Hassan and Terence Stamp. Director George Mendeluk co-wrote the screenplay with Richard Bachynsky-Hoover based on Bachynsky-Hoover’s original story.
Producer Ian Ihnatowycz stated, “Given the importance of the Holodomor, and that few outside Ukraine knew about this man-made famine because it had been covered up by the Soviets, this chapter of history needed to be told in English on the silver screen for the first time in feature film history.”
Bitter Harvest (2017)
Directed by: George Mendeluk
Starring: Max Irons, Barry Pepper, Terence Stamp, Samantha Barks, Samantha Barks, Richard Brake, Tamer Hassan, Lucy Brown
Screenplay by: Richard Bachynsky Hoover
Production Design by: Martin Hitchcock, Vladimir Radlinski
Cinematography by: Douglas Milsome
Film Editing by: Stuart Baird, Lenka Svab
Costume Design by: Tatyana Fedotova, Galina Otenko, Aleksandra Stepina
Music by: Benjamin Wallfisch
Studio: Roadside Attractions
Release Date: February 24, 2017