JAMES CROMWELL'S 'A LONELY PLACE FOR DYING' has an impressive festival record, with 46 official selections, 53 award nominations and 29 awards, including 18 as best picture. So why has this acclaimed dramatic thriller has been banned in Russia?
The plot involves a fictional KGB mole, Nikolai Dzerzhinsky. In an abandoned Mexican prison he sits alone in the dusty Chihuahua desert, waiting for his contact from the Washington Post. Dzerzhinsky holds explosive evidence against the CIA - proof of CIA war crimes in Laos. Dzerzhinsky is burned by his CIA controller so offers the Washington Post a trade: proof that the CIA is using chemical weapons in Laos in exchange for asylum in the US. Special Agent Robert Harper must obtain this evidence and kill Dzerzhinsky or risk the end of his CIA career. As the two men hunt each other they discover that the sins from their past destined them for this deadly confrontation.
The filmmakers have been given no reason for the ban in Russia, but can only assume it's because of the brow-raising and controversial storyline.
Justin Eugene Evans is the writer/director/producer. The team's intention was to take this film to Moscow and screen it for a growing Russian fan-base.
"We released the first 22 minutes on the internet and our Russian fan base exploded," says Evans. "We had 1.5 million downloads of the teaser episode with several hundred thousand fans in the Russian Federation as well as the former Soviet Bloc nations, says Evans.
But Evans' visa has been denied.He perplexed by the situation.
"While loosely based on Project Tailwind, the film is an act of fiction. All of the characters are fictional. I personally think the film has more in common with Three Days of the Condor than some hard-hitting Cold War political expose. I'm just a storyteller and this is a story that happens to have a Russian audience. I don't understand the reason for the visa denial."
There are elements of the film that former Soviet Union bosses may not like. Nikolai Dzerzhinsky isn't just any KGB agent... he's the great-grandson of the KGB's founder. The film depicts him torturing an American CIA agent and discussing the inner workings of the KGB. And in the film Nikolai makes it clear he's defecting to America because of the USSR's history of lies, corruption and murder.
Despite that, Justin Evans is still surprised. "This film is about a time and place in history that no longer exists. I don't see why anyone in the Russian Federation would be offended by our observations of the Soviet Union and the KGB. I'm applying for another visa. I'll keep applying."
The film has been granted an AU release via iTunes on February 12th. Orders/preorders can be made here: https://itunes.apple.com/au/movie/a-lonely-place-for-dying/id586493636
A LONELY PLACE FOR DYING stars Oscar-nominated James Cromwell (American Horror Story, The Artist), Michael Wincott (Hitchcock, The Crow), Ross Marquand (Broken Roads), Jason Moore (TV's Kings), Robert Harper (Live Fast, Die Young), Brad Culver (Breathing Room), Mike Peebler (Valkyrie), Luis Robledo (The X-Files), and Jason R. Moore (The Sorcerer's Apprentice).