Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The Children of Beslan and Leningradsky

HBO Documentary Films Presents
The Children of Beslan

The Youngest Survivors Tell Their Story


In Russia, Sept. 1 is the Day of Knowledge, a joyous annual event marking the start of the new school year. But Knowledge Day 2004 was different at School No. 1 in Beslan: A group of heavily armed rebel extremists stormed the school, holding more than a thousand children and adults hostage in a sweltering gymnasium for three days. The harrowing siege ended Sept. 3 in a series of explosions and hail of gunfire that killed some 350 people - half of them children.

Featuring heartbreaking interviews with more than a dozen young survivors, as well as chilling footage shot by the hostage-takers themselves, Children of Beslan explores the devastating impact of violent conflict on children. Through the words of those left orphaned and bereft of family and friends, details of the 57-hour siege emerge, from the confusing first moments, when pupils heard noises they thought were balloons popping, to the numbing hours and days in the overheated gymnasium, to the devastating final hours, when bombs taped to walls and suspended from ceilings went off, and hundreds of panicked hostages, bullets flying around them, began scrambling over the bodies of victims in search of safety. Ranging in age from six to 12, the kids recount the events that robbed them of their family, friends and innocence - describing experiences that are chillingly familiar.

The Beslan siege ultimately killed more adults and children than the tragic 2002 Moscow theater siege by Chechen extremists (chronicled in the 2003 HBO documentary Terror in Moscow). Most surviving children now study at another school in town, with some fearful parents still accompanying them to school. The children's scars, visible and hidden, remain. "I have fewer friends than I used to," says Carat. "The ones who survived - we're not the same funny kids we used to be, we're serious now. We're already grownups. We don't fight any more... Even little boys became adults. Kids understand everything."

Produced and directed by Ewa Ewart and Leslie Woodhead; executive producers for the BBC, Alan Hayling and Fiona Stourton. For HBO: supervising producer, Lisa Heller; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

© 2005 Home Box Office, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Beslan Related News and Information Archive

Images of Beslan
The Children of Beslan: The unique depravity of modern Islamic terror
Grieving Beslan marks siege end
Wails pierce Beslan's silent tribute
Most Russians want further probe of Beslan siege
Time to Tell the Truth About Beslan
Beslan Is Still Covered by a Smokescreen
Russian Security Services Facilitated Beslan Raid — Basayev
Tragedy in Beslan: Lessons to be learned
Beslan revisited
Beslan Terrorist: "I didn't want to kill"

Beslan Project
To Russia With Love
Charity Helping Russian Orphans
Seaview House, 192 Clontarf Road, Dublin 3, Ireland
Tel: +353 (0)1 8532920
Fax: +353 (0)1 8532919
Email: Help Beslan children
Charity raising funds to help the children affected by Beslan terror act. Information on the foundation, past projects and their mission.

Hope for Beslan - Welcome Page
Canadian-based non-for-profit charity tohelp survivors of the Beslan (Russia) school siege of September 1-3, 2004

Help Russian Children Terrorism Victims
The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia

Through this initiative, the FJC aims to send victims urgently needed medical supplies and medicine. "We welcome everyone, schools and children around the world to send drawings, letters, and small gifts to our New York office, so they may be sent to these injured children as a sign of solidarity with the victims," said Avraham Berkowitz, FJC Executive Director. read

If you would like to make a financial contribution to assist the victims of the terrorist attacks in Beslan and Moscow or send letters of solidarity and small gifts and postcards, please contact us, to make an on-line donation

HBO Presents
"The Children of Leningradsky"
A film by Hanna Polak

Nominated for the 2004 Academy Award® for Best Documentary, Short Subject, this documentary
takes an intimate and heartbreaking look at a group of homeless children living in and around a Moscow train station.

Polish filmmakers Hanna Polak and Andrzej Celinski captured numerous intimate and heartbreaking scenes in this raw, verité documentary, which combines footage of the children and Moscow
authorities with alarming statistics about homelessness and its devastating effects in post-Soviet Russia.

"Children of Leningradsky" Project

Russian Children's Welfare Society, Inc.
200 Park Avenue South (btwn 17th & 18th) Suite 1617
New York, NY 10003
888-732-RCWS 212-473-6263 fax 212-473-6301

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