Based on his personal experience as a medical transport driver and an immigrant, director Kirill Mikhanovsky, with writer Alice Austen, create a raw feature film about the comedy and heartbreak of people in the underprivileged communities living in a struggling American city.
Give Me Liberty, a film directed by Kirill Mikhanovsky, and an official Selection at Sundance Film Festival plus Cannes – Directors’ Fortnight 2019, will open at IFC Center in New York on August 23rd and at Laemmle Monica Film Center, Playhouse 7 and Town Center in Los Angeles on August 30th. Other cities will follow.
Medical transport driver Vic (newcomer Chis Galust) is running late, but it’s not his fault. Roads are closed for a protest, and no one else can shuttle his Russian grandfather and his emigre friends to a funeral. The new route uproots his scheduled clients, particularly Tracy (Lauren “Lolo” Spencer in a breakout performance), a vibrant young woman with ALS. As the day goes from hectic to off-the-rails, their collective ride becomes a hilarious, compassionate and intersectional portrait of American dreams and disenchantment.
The characters in Give Me Liberty are drawn from the people of Milwaukee – they’re magnificently diverse and their struggle to survive is desperate, contradictory, funny and moving.
Director, Kirill Mikhanovsky immigrated from Russia to Milwaukee, where he studied Linguistics and Anthropology at UWM. He had a series of odd jobs while in college, including driving medical transport for people with disabilities. An alumnus of NYU’s Graduate Film Program and the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab, his first feature, the Brazilian SONHOS DE PEIXE (Fish Dreams) premiered at the Cannes Film Festival (Critics’ Week) and received the Prix Regard Jeune. Give Me Liberty is his second feature.
Actress Lauren “Lolo” Spencer – (Tracy) is a disability lifestyle influencer, actress, model, public speaker and content creator with her own YouTube channel titled “Sitting Pretty”. “Sitting Pretty” is a series she created to showcase her life as a woman who uses a wheelchair. Her vlogs discuss a range of topics from disability fashion tutorials, everyday challenges dealing with society, dating, and her ALS diagnosis journey. Lolo has been featured in popular media outlets like HuffPost, Buzzfeed, All Def Digital, and has modeled in multiple campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive. Give Me Liberty is her first feature film role. She is based in Los Angeles.
The role of Vic is actor Chris Galust’s first role in a movie. He worked as an electrician in Brighton Beach and was discovered by a casting director when she saw him in a bakery where he was buying a cake to celebrate the anniversary of his grandfather’s immigration from Russia to the United States. Chris is fluent in Russian.