How To Re-Establish A Vodka Empire is a whirlwind journey through family and European history combining documentary with creative green screen animation. I worked alongside Dan Edelstyn (whose family it involves) travelling to Ukraine and filming as we slowly uncoded the romantic manuscript left by his Grandmother Maroussia Zorokovich which told of her adolescence as part of a landed Jewish family in what is now Ukraine and her escape and subsequent life and death (as a convert to Catholicism) in Northern Ireland. This led to the unexpected discovery of a vodka distillery hanging on to productive life in the precarious economy of Ukraine. As a positive intervention in history Dan set about creating a social enterprise vodka brand in order to attempt to improve conditions in the village his ancestors came from and had been forced out of during the Russian Revolution. The project was a family odyssey in which I was camera woman, co-producer, vodka bottle designer, model-maker, costume and production designer and Grandmother Maroussia herself. A scrap book of images from the project can be found on flickr. The film premiered at the BFI London Film Festival 2011 and had 4 star reviews in Empire, Times, Irish Times.
“A tender, extraordinary underdog tale filled with humor, fear and above all, spirit. A heady delight of a documentary that will warm your cockles.” –Empire Magazine. More at www.myvodkaempire.com