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The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga

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Producers Jessica Oreck, Rachael Teel

Synopsis

Within a dense forest there lingers a sense of sinister foreboding, remnants of a nearly forgotten story, where the fairy tales of childhood persist within the subconscious. For generations of Slavic peoples, this fear manifested itself in the form of the mythical witch Baba Yaga — to roam too near her hut perched on chicken legs was to risk being roasted for her dinner. In spite of this culturally ingrained dread, the turbulence of war, famine, and destruction that stains the pages of Eastern European history led to the witch’s figurative vanquishing. Refugees fled to her woods for shelter, nourishment and sanctuary, and in so doing, reshaped an entire culture’s perception of nature. This transition was slow and unconscious, and is best told through the stories of the region — the memories of those who experienced periods of warfare first-hand as well as the recollections that have passed generation to generation. To bring these stories to life, we have merged countless accounts into a single, unified Fiction — an animated fairy tale that gathers history, folklore, and memory into one. This fairy tale is intertwined with an anthropological exploration of modern day, post-conflict Eastern Europe. Combining these elements, The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga is about more than a single moment in history. It is about the accumulation of history, the accumulation of repetitive action, the retelling of stories retold, the retention of belief, and the unconscious osmosis of ideas. It is a study of collective, social memory and how it shapes our interactions with the world around us.