**Start of Production Release**
A film by David Bezmozgis
Begins Production in Toronto
Production has begun this week in Toronto, Canada on Natasha, a film by award-winning writer and filmmaker David Bezmozgis. The film is based on one of the tales from Bezmozgis’ first published book, Natasha and Other Stories.
Natasha follows Mark Berman, a slacker and son of Russian immigrants, who is given the job of keeping Natasha, the daughter of the Russian bride sent to marry Mark’s uncle, busy throughout the summer. In the height of his hormone-fuelled teenage years, Mark becomes infatuated with Natasha. He learns that, while living in Moscow she led a troubled and promiscuous life. A secret and forbidden summer romance begins between the two of them that has bizarre and tragic consequences for everyone involved.
The film, shot entirely in Toronto’s GTA for the month of July, stars Alex Ozerov (Mark), Sasha Gordon (Natasha), and Deanna Dezmari (Bella).
Produced by Bill Marks, Deborah Marks, and Co-Produced by Julia Rosenberg. Director of Photography is Guy Godfree and Editor is Michelle Szemberg.
The feature, made possible with the financial participation of Telefilm Canada, will be completed for early 2015. Mongrel Media will distribute in Canada.
“The story of Natasha has been with me for more than a decade,” says Bezmozgis. “I have continued to tell stories about this particular community and know this world very well. But, of all the stories none has had the impact of Natasha. It is still the story of mine that people reference most and one that continues to be read in high schools and universities across North America. People have a fascination with the tragic love story of Mark and Natasha. I admit that I still do too. There is something mysterious at its core that I’ve never worked out. It’s a mystery that, ultimately, can’t be worked out—which is true of life’s most persistent mysteries.”
About David Bezmozgis:
David Bezmozgis is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. Bezmozgis’ stories have appeared in numerous publications including the New Yorker, Harpers, Zoetrope All-Story, and the Walrus. His first book, Natasha and Other Stories, was published in 2004 in the US and Canada and was subsequently translated into 15 languages. Natasha was a New York Times Notable Book, one of the New York Public Library’s 25 Books to Remember for 2004, and an Amazon.com Top 10 Book for 2004. Natasha was nominated for the GuardianFirst Book Award (UK), the LA Times First Book Award (US), and the Governor General’s Award (Canada). It won the Toronto Book Award and the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for First Book. Bezmozgis has appeared at The New Yorker Festival, The UCLA Armand Hammer Museum, and the Luminato Festival. His work has been broadcast on NPR, BBC, and the CBC, and his stories have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2005 & 2006. In 2006, Bezmozgis was a screenwriting fellow at the Sundance Labs where he developed his first feature, Victoria Day. The film premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009, had a theatrical release in Canada, and received a Genie Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. In the summer of 2010, Bezmozgis was included in the New Yorker‘s 20 Under 40 issue, celebrating the twenty most promising fiction writers under the age of forty. The Free World, Bezmozgis’ first novel, was published in 2011 in the U.S. Canada, the UK, Holland, Germany, Italy, France, Israel and Spain. It was a New York Times Notable Book for 2011 and a Globe and Mail Best Books Title for 2011. It was also shortlisted for the Scotiabank/Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award, The Trillium Prize, and won theAmazon.ca First Novel Award. The Betrayers, Bezmozgis’ second novel, will be published in the summer/fall of 2014 in Canada, UK and the U.S. It will be a lead fiction title for HarperCollins Canada and Little, Brown U.S. with national press coverage, a six-city U.S. tour, a four-city Canada tour and an appearance at the prestigious Edinburgh International Book Festival. Born in Riga, Latvia, Bezmozgis lives in Toronto.