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Studios Fight To Tell Story of Submarine

Published: February 2, 2001 (Issue # 641)



  • Nikolai Zateyev, captain of K-19
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

For 30 years, the crew of the K-19 Soviet nuclear submarine were forced to keep silent on the tragic accident that crippled their vessel and led to the deaths of eight of them.

Now, Hollywood wants finally to tell their tale. But two competing studios are fighting over who has the rights to reveal what happened in the North Atlantic on July 4, 1961.

In the middle of last month, a group of former K-19 crew members composed a statement objecting fiercely to a script proposed by Kathryn Bigelow, ex-wife of director James Cameron and the producer of blockbusters such as "Point Break" and "The Weight of Water."

Bigelow announced plans for her film, entitled "K-19: The Widowmaker," in September last year. The film's cast includes Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson.

However, Inna Gotman, a Russian-born American producer and president of Drawbridge Film company, is claiming she had been preparing to make a similar movie since 1994, when she first met the captain of the K-19, Nikolai Zateyev, and allegedly signed a deal with him for the exclusive rights to his personal story.

Lev Slavin, Gotman's co-producer in St. Petersburg, said in an interview on Thursday that Gotman first met representatives from Bigelow's Intermedia films International at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. Gotman, he said, was looking for financial backing from the wealthier Intermedia company, and hoped they might collaborate on the K-19 project.

However, such a deal was never struck. Instead, not long after the Kursk submarine disaster in August, Gotman heard about Bigelow's plans to pursue her own project, which she claimed to have thought of long before Gotman's approach.

Last December, Bigelow came to St. Petersburg with Ford and Neeson on a low-profile trip to meet the sub's crew and discuss details of the accident ahead of filming, which is due to start on Feb. 19, with film sites to include locations in Russia, Iceland, Canada and Norway. The visit was, by all accounts, a friendly one, crew and cast drinking together and toasting each other and the prospective film.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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