Seekers of Happiness
Iskateli schastya

aka Birobidzhan, A Greater Promise
USSR, 1934, 84 minutes, b&w
Russian with English subtitles
Directed by Vladimir Korsh-Sablin

with complete new English Subtitles by
The National Center for Jewish Film

DVD - Educational Use
Buy Now

DVD - Home Use
Buy Now

Arrange a Screening

Contact us at jewishfilm(at)brandeis(dot)edu
or call 781-736-8600 to book now

Public Exhibition Format: Beta


During the late 1920s, many impoverished Jews searching for a better life made their way to Birobidzhan, the Soviet Jewish Autonomous Region on the Chinese border. This melodrama tells the story of a Jewish family's immigration to Birobidzhan and their experiences as settlers on a collective farm in the area.

While the family encounters hardships in adjusting to this new way of life (including son-in-law Pinya's greedy, misguided search for gold) their search for assimilation is ultimately shown as positive. While the film is essentially a Soviet propaganda piece emphasizing the utopian dream of Birobidzhan as a socialist Jewish homeland, the reality of the area was harsh and inhospitable.

Selected Screenings

Filmhaus Nürnberg; Nuremberg, Germany (2009)
Toronto Jewish Film Festival (2004)
New York Jewish Film Festival (1999)

NCJF Film Restoration

Restoration was completed with funding from the friends and family of Barney Ash with additional support by Brandeis University, The Massachusetts Cultural Council, The National Endowment for the Arts & Gosfilmofond


Director Vladimir Korsh-Sablin
Screenplay Iogan Zeltser & Grigori Kobets
Camera B. Ryabov, V. Pokrovsky
Sound Engineer N. Kosarev
Music Issac Dunayevsky
Consultant S.M. Mikhoels

1996 Restoration © The National Center for Jewish Film
Executive Director Sharon Pucker Rivo
Associate Director Miriam Saul Krant
Technical Director Rich Pontius
Translator Robert Szulkin
On-line Editor Sylvia Fuks Fried
Title Production Tina Schonning
Film Transfer Cinema Arts
Post Production CF Video

Venyamin Zuskin (Pinya)
Maria Blyumenthal-Tamarina (Dvoira)
L. Schmidt (Rosa)
L. Taits (Basya)
A. Karev (Natan)
S. Yarov (Korney)
B. Zhukovbsky (Korney's Father)
I. Byi-Brodsky (Shlyoma)

Purchase the Film

 $36.00 + shipping
Home Use Policy (pdf)

Educational Use Pricing Explain

$72.00 - DVD Classroom/Library Use + shipping

Educational purchase DOES NOT include public performance rights. Library/Classroom Use Policy (pdf)

Recommended Titles

Benya Krik

Jewish Luck

The Return of Nathan Becker


Back to Top







Join our mailing list!