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"It is not a just-the-facts documentary, as it wears its heart on its sleeve, and the emotional pull will leave

the audience breathless."

—  Bobby LePire , Film Threat

Operation Wedding   documentary, 62 minutes

Israel, Latvia 2016

Spoken Languages: English, Hebrew, Russian

Subtitles: English, Russian, Hebrew, Spanish, Latvian

​Leningrad, 1970. A group of young Soviet Jews who were denied exit visas, plots to “hijack” an empty plane and escape the USSR.


​It started as a fantasy, Operation Wedding, as outrageous as it was simple: Under the disguise of a trip to a local family wedding, the group members would buy every ticket on a small 12-seater plane, so there would be no passengers but them, no innocents in harm’s way. The group’s pilot would take over the controls and fly the 16 runaways into the sky, over the Soviet border, on to Sweden, bound for Israel. 

Caught by the KGB a few steps from boarding, they were sentenced to years in the gulag and two were sentenced to death; they never got on a plane.


While the Soviet press writes "the criminals received their punishment", tens of thousands of people in the free world demand "Let My People Go!“ and as the Iron Curtain opens a crack for 254,000 Soviets Jews wanting to flee, the group members are held back to pay the price of freedom for everyone else.

​45 years later, filmmaker Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov reveals the compelling story of her parents, leading characters of the group, "heroes" in the West but "terrorists" in Russia, even today.

Anat and her mother Sylva, retrace the group’s journey from a Soviet airport to a KGB prison.

Cigarettes and vodka fuel interviews with the parents filled with intelligence and humor.

Archives, reenactments and interviews with KGB officers enhance this inspiring story of young Jews who imagined freedom and cracked the Iron Curtain.


Produced by: Sasha Klein Productions, EgoMedia, Saxsonia Entertainment
With the support of IBA (Israel Broadcasting Authority) and National Film Centre of Latvia

Produced with the endorsement of CoPro, IDFA and EBU

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