Directed by: Steve Hoover 2014 | 96 min.
Section: Film For Thought
Premiere: Hawaii Premiere
The fall of The Soviet Union left Ukraine in a wake of social and political upheaval. The crippled economy and corrupt infrastructure produced little hope. Within this backdrop, a pastor and civic leader from Mariupol, Ukraine named Gennadiy Mokhnenko, made a name for himself by forcibly abducting and rehabilitating homeless drug-addicted kids from streets of his city.
He founded Pilgrim Republic, a children's rehabilitation center and home for former street kids. With Gennadiy’s help over the years, things seem to have changed. Mariupol is no longer crawling with homeless kids. Many credit this largely to his efforts at Pilgrim. Now, as the large majority of Ukraine leans towards a European Union inclusion, hopes of continued revitalization seem possible. However, in the meantime, Gennadiy's center has evolved into a more nebulous institution. Gennadiy is also seen as a vigilante who uses any force necessary to carry out his moral vision. And when Russia invades the Crimean peninsula in 2014, Mariupol becomes embroiled in the violence, threatening everything Gennadiy has worked for.
CROCODILE GENNADIY examines the fine line between ‘hero’ and ‘vigilante’ in one of the world’s toughest places. This harrowing, captivating, and stunningly lensed documentary from director Steve Hoover was also Executive Produced by maverick director Terrence Malick (TREE OF LIFE).
This film is nominated for the Halekulani Golden Orchid Award for Best Documentary. As part of HIFF's Film For Thought program presented by the Hawai'i Council for the Humanities, the first screening of the film will be followed by an extended discussion with Jon Davidann, Ph.D., Professor of History at Hawai'i Pacific University .