2021 Sundance Docs in Focus: MISHA AND THE WOLVES

Courtesy of Sundance Institute


MISHA AND THE WOLVES
Sam Hobkinson reveals the fascinating tale of a woman’s self-mythologizing Holocaust survival story.

Festival Section:
World Cinema Documentary Competition

Country:
UK/Belgium

Sundance Program Description:

A young orphaned girl survives the Holocaust by fleeing her home in search of her parents, escaping Nazis by sticking to the woods and living with wolves. Author Misha Defonseca’s story is an incredible one, and not just because of the wolves. Her memoir took the world by storm, but fallout with her publisher-turned-detective exposes the shocking truth beneath Misha’s deception. A real-life mystery unfolds, with a slate of characters individually revealing pieces of the puzzle in this stranger-than-fiction revelation.

Reenactments, interviews, and archival footage stylishly blend to tell a vivid story about truth, deception, and self-preservation in director Sam Hobkinson’s engrossing film. Each peeled-back layer is met with surprise, prompting larger questions as the story twists and turns. Whom do we trust, and what motivates deception? Where does the line blur between victim and perpetrator? Hobkinson brings fresh understanding and perspective to a story that might sound familiar to some, while delivering a gripping plunge for anyone new to the saga of Misha and her wolves.

Some Background:

Director:
Sam Hobkinson
First Sundance credit. Hobkinson is a two-time Grierson winner whose recent work includes the docuseries FEAR CITY (Netflix) and the feature doc THE KLEPTOCRATS (DOC NYC).

Producers:
Poppy Dixon
Past Sundance docs:
UNTOUCHABLE (2019)
THE IMPOSTER (2012)

Director, documentaries & factual, Sky. Dixon also produced the documentary segments of Sundance narrative hybrid alum AMERICAN ANIMALS and was the development producer of doc feature alum THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS (2018). She previously worked with Hobkinson on the Channel 4/NatGeo TV doc The Hunt for the Boston Bombers.

Al Morrow
Past Sundance docs:
THE REASON I JUMP (2020)
HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD (2015)

Head of documentary, Met Film Production. Morrow is a past Sundance Institute Stories of Change Content Fund grantee.

Matthew Wells
First Sundance credit. Producer, Arts Alliance Productions. Wells previously worked with Hobkinson on the Damien Hirst fictional documentary Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable (Netflix).

Gregory Zalcman
First Sundance credit. Managing Director, Take Five. The Brussels-based Zalcman’s previous productions have screened at Berlin, IDFA, MoMA Doc Fortnight, and Venice Days, among other notable events.

Jürgen Buedts
First Sundance credit. Founder/CEO, Las Belgas. Like Zalcman, Buedts is also based in Belgium, which figures prominently in the film.

Executive Producers:
Stewart le Maréchal
Past Sundance docs:
THE REASON I JUMP
HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD

Head of production, Met Film. Le Maréchal is a BAFTA Award winning producer of both fiction and nonfiction.

Thomas Høegh
First Sundance credit. Founder, Arts Alliance; Board of Directors, Met Film. Høegh is a Norwegian investor, entrepreneur, and film/theatre director based in the UK.

Vesna Cudic
First Sundance credit. Head of sales and acquisitions, Met Film Sales.

Jonny Persey
Past Sundance docs:
THE REASON I JUMP
HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD

Director, Met Film. Persey’s past films as producer or executive producer have screened at notable events including Toronto, Tellurise, CPH:DOX, SXSW, DOC NYC, Hot Docs, and Sheffield.

Adrian Sibley
First Sundance credit. Founder, Bright Yellow Films. Sibley has more than two decades of experience directing and producing docs for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, and Discovery, among other outlets.

Mandy Chang
Past Sundance docs:
SOFTIE (2020)
ADVOCATE (2019)
ONE CHILD NATION (2019)
COLD CASE HAMMARSKJÖLD (2019)

Commissioning Editor, BBC Storyville. Chang is a BAFTA and International Emmy winner.

Hayley Reynolds
Past Sundance docs:
COLD CASE HAMMARSKJÖLD
ONE CHILD NATION

Assistant commissioning editor, BBC Storyville. Before joining the BBC, Hayley was a BAFTA-winning producer.

Martin Pieper
Past Sundance docs:
GENESIS 2.0 (2018)
THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 (2011)
BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD (2011)
COMRADES IN DREAMS (2007)

Commissioning editor, ZDF/ARTE. Pieper focuses on culture and science programs for the German pubcasters.

Barbara Truyen
Past Sundance docs:
UNLOCKING THE CAGE (2016)

Commissioning editor/head of documentaries, VPRO. Truyen is also an executive producer for fellow 2021 Sundance World Cinema Documentary Competition title FLEE and a commissioning editor for 2021 Sundance Indie Series SEEDS OF DECEIT. She is a News & Documentary Emmy nominee.

More Info:
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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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