Inspired by the diaries of Nicholas II, "Russian Symphony" tells the story of Nicholas II's last days and his attempts to save his family while a priest and a British consul contemplate a rescue mission to save them.
The film was shot in February of 2019 and was completed in late spring of the same year and was produced by Dean Ball, Gene McDaniels, and Deaton Gabbard.
After reading of Nicholas II's diary, I was toying with the idea of doing another period piece after "Pilgrim" but couldn't find something to illustrate to film, until I came across the late emperor's 1917-1918 diary. I immediately became intrigued at telling the story of the Romanovs and realizing that my budget would be nearly non-existent, I wanted to do it as best to historical accuracy from a script standpoint and location. I began the research process by reading the primary source as well as Helen Rappaport's works.
I began writing the first draft in early 2018, initially intending to focus on the priest (Father Ivan Storojev, who was Ekaterinburg's local priest - he was one of the last persons to see the Romanovs alive) but this proved to be too difficult as the priest, while important, was a character that seemed too distant from the family. I discovered soon after this, a man by the name of Thomas Preston, who was the British Consul to Ekaterinburg at the time. he was attempting to escort the Romanovs out of the city, working with the soviet Commission to accomplish this - he was unsuccessful.
At the House of the Special Purpose, which was the name given to the Ipatiev House, where the Romanovs stayed for their final months, there were machine guns placed on the church steeple across the street, outside on the fence, and in the backyard - rescue was impossible.
Sometime in late June or early July, there was a protest outside the house that was quickly dispersed and resulted in all rescue attempts to be halted by the British government (King George V was asked to provide aide to his cousin, Nicholas, but was rather unresponsive).
The initial idea was to construct a short film to be later turned into a feature and this vision was realized in late 2018 when movements began to make a short in February.
The Church was graciously provided by Dean Ball, who allowed us to film for the day.
The house was provided by Gene McDaniels, who allowed us to film for two consecutive days.
Overall, the shoot lasted for three days.
Post-Production took around three months, mostly due to other commitments, but also to get the feeling of the film just right. We wanted to present it in black and white, as that felt right to period and for the mood of the film. Special effects were done last and took considerable time to get the right amount of believability.
Film Festival Circuit:
Rome Prisma Independent Film Awards (August 2019)