My Lost Russian Mother

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28/07/2024 14:00


Skibbereen Town Hall



Filmed over ten years, Northern Irish filmmaker Sam Jones' feature is a fascinating and poignant documentary about family and belonging.

While working and travelling in Russia, Cork-based Sam meets U.S. citizen Gabe, who is trying to trace the birth mother that he and his sister were taken from as young children when they were adopted into America. What follows is an intimate portrayal of one young man's life-changing search in rural Russia for the truth.

"Few films at this year’s [Galway Film] fleadh were more memorable than Sam Jones’s My Lost Russian Mother...As the film progresses, we get a surer sense of Gabe’s own traumas and the sadness turns in upon itself. A fascinating, troubling story that reminds us to avoid hasty judgments."--Donald Clarke, The Irish Times, July 2023 




"I never for a moment thought my first feature documentary would take a decade to complete, nor turn out to be so personal, so complex, dark and tragic. My wife’s career had brought us to Russia. I was making my very first steps as a filmmaker when I met Gabe. Not just met. We became close friends. He was a complex character, fiery and erratic, warm and funny. It took me a while to learn that he’d been diagnosed with ADHD. Nor did he tell me at the outset that his mother was an alcoholic, who turned out to be implicated in her husband’s murder. As the story progressed, although Gabe was my friend, I could see a darker side to his character. I desperately wanted to understand him and portray him fairly. But at the same time, I had to be fair to his mother. It was a complex line to tread and one which caused me a great deal of anguish. I can only hope I’ve been able to give the audience some understanding of that. I’m still coming to terms with everything this film taught me. Not just as a filmmaker. But life lessons about the bonds of family, and ethnicity. And I’m still missing Gabe. " _ Sam Jones, Director