The Desert of Forbidden Art

The Desert of Forbidden Art
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True Stories
Saturday, January 08, 4:00 PM
Palm Canyon Theatre
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True Stories
Monday, January 10, 12:00 PM
Annenberg Auditorium
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The Desert of Forbidden Art
Uzbekistan, 2010, 80 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: USA/Russia
Topics: Art/Architecture/Film, Documentary
Program: True Stories
Language: Russian, English English Sub-Titles


“I found these paintings rolled up under the beds of old widows, buried in family trash ... sometimes even patching a hole in the roof. I ended up with a collection that no one in the Soviet Union would dare to exhibit," writes Igor Savitsky, the original collector and founder of the Nukus Museum. Inspired by the plight of artists repressed under the Soviet regime, the young Savitsky pretended to buy state-approved art, but instead daringly rescued 40,000 forbidden artists' works and created a museum in the desert of Uzbekistan, far from the watchful eyes of the KGB.

Besides amassing an eclectic mix of Russian Avant-Garde art, Savitsky discovered an unknown school of artists who settled in Uzbekistan after the Russian Revolution of 1917. He acquired their art as well and hung it in the museum. Six years in the making, Pope and Georgiev's thoroughly original documentary--featuring Ben Kingsley as the voice of Savitsky--itself stands as a remarkable achievement, telling the story of courageous figures in the art world, practically unknown in the West, and presenting the beautiful works of art that they worked so hard to save and exhibit.

Directors to attend screenings

DIRECTOR: Tchavdar Georgiev, Amanda Pope
Producer: Tchavdar Georgiev, Amanda Pope
Editor: Tchavar Georgiev,
Screenwriter: Amanda Pope, Tchavar Georgiev
Cinematographer: Gennadi Balitski, Alexander Dolgin
Music: Miriam Cutler
Principal Cast: Voiced by Ben Kingsley, Sally Field, Ed Asner
Filmography: Amanda Pope: The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club (2009)

Tchavdar Georgiev: Debut Feature
Print Source: Desert of Forbidden Art LLC -

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