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Frumin, Boris

Born: 24 October 1947 (Riga, Latvia)
Latvian born Boris Frumin, became in his twenties one of the key Soviet filmmakers of 1970s. After his studies, as the youngest director at VGIK, he completed through Lenfilm Studios his first feature film, "Diary of a School Principal" (1975), day-by-day picture of school and home - everyday things and times with students, colleagues and family. The second film was "Family Melodrama" (1976), a 'retro-film', about Soviet life in the past, trying to say current things but dressed in different circumstances. The film was not in line with the Soviet stereotype of happy characters and though was not well accepted by Soviet authorities. Frumin continued to show that the perfect image, in real life, has many problems also in his third film "Errors of Youth" (1978/89), set around the military. This film was shelved by officials before it was completed, pressumably because the general tone of how the army was presented was not how they wanted it to be, even if there was an effort to balance a critical treatment with some positive images. The film was taken off the shelf and restored only during the perestroika in 1989. The month after the shelving Frumin applied for emigration, and four months after that left Soviet Union for United States. Frumin's assimilation to the USA was not easy, but through hard work and dedication he established himself as a teacher of film production in New York City, first teaching undergraduates at the New York Institute of Technology and then graduate students at New York University. The experience with his immigration inspired him for his next movie "Black and White" (1991), a story about immigration, about a stranger coming to a different place. The film won the Audience Award at the Mannheim-Heidelberg Filmfest and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 1992. When became the opportunity to make a Soviet film after the collapse of Soviet Union, Frumin returned to Russia to make "Viva Castro!" (1993), the tale set in 1960's Russia - where Fidel Castro was considered a superstar and a hero. Frumin continues to live and work in New York.

Filmography (as director/writer unless otherwise noted):

  • Viva Castro!, 1994;
  • Black and White, 1992; (also producer)
  • Mistakes of Youth/ Oshibki yunosti , 1978;
  • Diary of a School Director/ Dnevnik direktora shkoly, 1975; (director only)