By Karen Weiner

Video Networks

Mystery of the Last Tsar began in 1991, when Victoria Lewis of Cymru Films traveled to the remote town of Ekaterinburg where the skeletal remains of the last tsar of Russia were believed to have been found in 1979. Lewis had previously viewed a tape, which had been smuggled out of Germany during the Soviet era, showing the excavated bones of Nicholas II and his family. “As soon as I saw the tape,” said Lewis, “I knew that I wanted to do this project.” The video showed the ex-KGB officer who had risked his life to locate the bones. “He looked directly into the camera and asked that someone tell the story.” A year of historic research only furthered her resolve to document the unraveling of a 75-year-old mystery. In the years since then, the collapse of the Soviet Union has unleashed a flood of new evidence indicating that the bones really are the remains of the Romanovs.

The investigative documentary. which is produced by Frank Simeone, includes interviews with DNA and forensic experts as well as rare archival footage of the last tsar and his family. Archivists, with access to the diaries of Yakov Yurovsky, who led the execution squad, also help to decipher the mysterious disappearance and brutal murders of the last imperial family.


The Mystery of the Last Tsar

Mystery of the Last Tsar was shot on 16mm film and is being cut in BAVC’s Avid Suite. Principal editors Eric Ladenburg and Gary Weinberg are now in their fourth month of editing and expect to be finished by March. Several TV venues have already expressed an interest in the film and Lewis also expects a theatrical and festival run for the 80-minute documentary.