Documentary  

A bucket of tears later, here is the film demo for The Traitor’s Daughter!

Armed with a brand new pink manual typewriter and an illicit pack of smokes, I began writing Mom’s story when I was a ten-year old kid in Netherhill, Saskatchewan. In the midnight hours, I loved the sound of the keys smacking the paper and the…

The Missing Thousand Days: THE CLUES

On March 27, 1940, in defiance of her mother’s wishes, Rosa Butorina (my mother’s real name) married a swarthy, Rudolph Valentino-esque man 20 years her senior. This is the last known photograph of her before she was captured by the Nazis in Poltava. The Nazi…

“You don’t believe in Death!”

“You don’t believe in Death! ” my mother said in a moment of piquancy during our customary game of thrust and parry whenever it came to trying to unearth her war-time secrets. The sheer force of her personality. The power of that voice. And her…

“Be tender with her history!”

“Be tender with her history,” the phrase rings in my ears on our final days of an extraordinary  film shoot penetrating the Russian heart of the Ural Mountains, a part of the world cut off from the west for most of the last century.  Over…

Ten days on the edge of Siberia, what mysteries will unravel?

Time seems to stand still in this place straddling the European and Asian borders of Russia. Lenin has been stripped of his pedestals in the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. But five hours to the east, ‘He’ remains a sentinel to an industrial city…

In the search for clues, how Donald Duck trumped Twitter!

The search for my mother’s “missing thousand days” during World War Two began this summer again, in earnest in a breezy, light-filled second floor apartment in Amsterdam, overlooking the Singel canal. I have come to this cosmopolitan European city with my twin brother, Victor Spicer…

“Don’t cry for me, my daughter…I lived through some hellish times, but no one got the best of me.”

  It would be the last interview. On my mother’s 84th birthday, I ambushed her with a television camera at her apartment in Calgary, Alberta, downplaying the invasion of lights, cables, and microphones, as “some friends popping by.” She looked at me, and, drolly asked,…