A Fortunate Life

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TYPE
: Documentary
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Post-Production

LOGLINE

A Fortunate Life the Story of Urva K. is about hope in the midst of horror and learned lightness of being born from escaping death and destruction as a child refugee.

SYNOPSIS

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In 1944 at the age of six, Urva K. was forced to flee with her family from their home in Estonia when the Russian army invaded. She was six years old. Having lost her grandparents, her beloved dog Nero and all her possessions, Urva and her family were detained by Nazis in Dachau concentration camp. They were liberated by the Allies and given safe haven in Germany for five years in a displaced persons camp. Finally, the family was sponsored by a plantation owner in South Carolina where they were given old slave quarters. Urva's life was to change once more when she realized as a young teenager, that she was in love with her boyfriend’s mother. She got on a train to Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and began moving through the circles of the underground gay bars, never to return home again. Eventually, she became a social worker at the Women’s House of Detention. During this time her alcohol and drug use developed into abuse and a dangerous depression brought her to the edge of a rooftop. In one defining moment she was rescued by a homeless drunk and decided to get clean and sober.

This is a story about Urva’s indefatigable vitality and influence, which would come to transform and inspire the people she later worked with at Fountain House, a member-run clubhouse for the mentally ill in New York’s Hells Kitchen. Ultimately, Urva drew on her own prodigious experience to find effective and innovative solutions to difficulties faced by people attempting to medicate their own psychiatric disorders with street drugs.  

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ARTISTIC STATEMENT

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This documentary explores alternative methods of dealing with our fears--both of what lies beyond, in our external environment, and of what lies within us . It is a story that spans some of the most critical historical events of the 20th Century; from the seminal disaster that would shatter all cultural and social paradigms, leaving poets and artists speechless and theorists to denounce the possibility of creating anything true in its wake, through the struggle for sexual freedom, it is an account of invincible love, optimism and perseverance.

Urva drew upon these resources to survive war, bigotry, and post-traumatic stress to become a vital healing force in the LGBT community in New York City.  Urva was a pioneer in improving the lives of those who struggle with addictions and mental illness throughout her 30 year career at Fountain House.  With extraordinary humor and unconditional love, Urva overcame enormous challenges in adult life, going on to inspire and energize the lives of those around her. 

This story is told entirely through interviews with Urva and her companions from different areas of her life. It also incorporates photos from her vast personal archive of stills from the 1940s till 2008. The project is in post production with a budget of $100,000.

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KEY CREW

Janice Wilde - Director

Director: Janice Wilde has worked in the film industry since 1984 in casting, producing, acting, and assistant directing. Film credits include Field of Dreams, Sleepy Hollow, Two Weeks' Notice, Taxi, School of Rock, Spiderman 2, The Pink Panther, Winter Passing and The Wire for HBO. Broadway credits include, Closer, Dance of Death, Dirty Blonde, Diary of Anne Frank and Marlene.

A Fortunate Life - - The Story of Urva K. marks her directorial debut.

 

 

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