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Film Review: Elena's War Dance

Divided from their family, 5-year-old Elena and her mother go 'on the run' escaping bombings, rape and shellfire during the invasion of Lithuania by Soviet armies in WW2.

Caught between Soviet and German occupation they flee into forests and across borders to escape the certain death awaiting those affiliated to the line of the Russian Tsars.

This inspiring documentary, directed by Jennifer Treur, presents Elena’s unbelievable story of survival and hope. Through archive footage, 3d animation, visual effects, music, live-action scenes, and Elena’s interview (now an 85-year-old woman), we enter the early life of Elena and her mother. Even as a young girl, Elena quickly learned to turn sorrow into laughter, which can be noticed nowadays, during her interview.

While escaping the Soviet armies and crossing dangerous borders, little Elena developed a passion for dancing (“In the fields, I watched the dancing butterflies”), and animals (“No animal has ever hurt my feelings”). She used to watch her mother dancing at parties and weddings, and would ofter dance beside her.

Elena’s War Dance is a deep story that would touch any heart with its honesty (“My mother used to thank God every day of her life, simply because she was trying to look after me. She was ready to die”). With her beautiful, good blue eyes that say so much, Elena shares her best and worst moments (“For years, I used to wake up with nightmares when I heard sirens”).

Jennifer Treur, the creator and Elena’s daughter, creates an important testimonial, told by a brave woman who despite her childhood trauma, has chosen life. Elena danced her entire life, and she remains active even at 85. She always keeps learning (“I decided to learn English, so I was the only one at the age of 16 with a job”) and always stays positive.

Elena’s War Dance is a beautiful story about love: for dance and music, for animals and people, and most of all, for life itself. Elena loves life, and with her incredible attitude and mental powers, she fulfills her dreams.

Elena's War Dance - Trailer

Elena's War Dance is a six-time Festigious winner.

List of awards (updated November 2019):

- Winner, Best Sound Design - Best Indie Filmmaker - Inspiring Woman in a Film, Festigious Sep

- Winner, Best First Time Director - Best Indie Feature - Best Visual Effects, Festigious Aug

- Winner, Best Indie Feature - Los Angeles Film Awards (LAFA), August 2019

- Winner, Best Indie Feature - Best Indie Filmmaker & Best Inspirational Film, FilmCon, Sep

- Winner, Best 1st Time Director - Best Indie Feature - Best Visual Effects, Vegas Movie Awards Oct

- Winner, Best War Film & Honourable Mention, Feature Doc. Oniros Film Awards, July

- Winner, Best Feature Documentary - Hollywood Sun Film Awards, July 2019

- Winner, Award of Merit, Women Filmmakers - Accolade Film Awards, LA Aug 2019

- Winner, Gold Award - Feature Documentary - Latitude Film Awards, London May 2019

- Winner, Award of Merit, Women Filmmakers - TheIndieFest Film Awards, LA May 2019

- Finalist, (Runner-up) Documentary Short (56:57mins) - LA Edge Film Awards June 2019

- Finalist, Feature Documentary - Florence Film Awards Italy, June 2019

Official website:


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