ahac the whte crowPhoto: Oleg Ivenko as Rudolf Nureyev Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - The defection of ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev from the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War in is the subject of the new feature film The White Crow set to premiere on Sunday, March 24, 2019 at 8:30 p.m. at the Atlantic Highland’s Cinema, 82 First Avenue as a fundraiser for FilmOneFest.

Dr. Fred McKitrick, a history professor at Monmouth University, and a former dancer, will give a short talk about Nureyev at a pre-film reception set for 7:00 p.m. at the Arts Council Gallery, 54 1st Ave.  Dr. McKitrick was inspired by Nureyev to study dance for ten years before becoming a professor specializing in modern European history.

Directed by Ralph Fiennes, and written by Academy Award winner David Hare, The White Crow portrays Nureyev from his birth on a train in Siberia to his request for asylum at Paris' Le Bourget Airport while on tour with the Kirov Ballet in 1961. It is based on Julie Kavanaugh's book, Nureyev: A Life.

In the lead role is Ukranian dancer, Oleg Ivenko, a principal with the Tartar State Ballet company, who bears a striking resemblance to Nureyev. Fiennes portrays ballet master Alexander Pushkin, who taught Nureyev at the Vaganova Academy and took a special interest in his talent, while French actress Adèle Exarchopoulos plays Clara Saint, the French socialite who helped orchestrate his defection.

Dr. McKitrick was a student at Columbia University when he first saw Nureyev perform in 1972 with the Royal Ballet of Britain. “It was my first exposure to dance and his performance was so electrifying, I dropped my plans to go to law school and began to study dance.” He studied and danced with May O’Donnell, a student of Martha Graham, from 1972 to 1982, before returning to academia.

In addition to his scholarship, Dr. McKitrick was instrumental in bringing simulcasts of the Metropolitan Opera and Bolshoi Ballet to Monmouth University’s Pollack Theatre.  (Monmouth University will host FilmOneFest’s 4th Annual Film Slam, a free 24-hour film contest for the 2nd year in a row at the Lauren K. Woods Theatre on April 5-6.)


Tickets to the movie premiere of The White Crow are $20; $10 for students under 18 (bring student ID) and includes Dr. McKitrick’s talk and light refreshments at the opening reception. Tickets can be purchased on-line at www.FilmOneFest.org/movie-premieres or at the door.

FilmOneFest and its fundraisers are volunteer-produced. Proceeds support the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council (AHAC) and AACC Food Pantry. Food donations are encouraged at this event.

FilmOneFest thanks its dedicated sponsors including Media Sponsors: Whole Foods; Pepsico; Janet Peterson; Blue Bay Inn; Alice Kupper, PE; JBL Trinity Group; and, Fred and Mickey Rast of Atlantic Cinemas.

FilmOneFest also thanks Kevin Smith for his generous support.

FilmOneFest is a project of AHAC, a registered 501 (c) (3) organization whose mission is to strengthen community through the arts. For information, visit www.aharts.org.

This program is made possible in part by Monmouth Arts through funding from the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

FilmOneFest is grateful for the continued support of Tom Bernard and Sony Pictures Classics.