Director takes on $35 mil WWII classic

Barry Levinson has signed on to helm a $35 million feature version of Anatoly Kuznetsov’s WWII classic “Babi Yar.”

Novel is the author’s harrowing account of witnessing mass executions of Jews, gypsies, Poles and prisoners of war during the German occupation of Kiev. The title refers to a ravine called Babi Yar where the atrocities took place.

Russian expat Anatoly Fradis will produce via his L.A.-based Aurora Entertainment. He optioned the novel from Kuznetsov’s son in 2005.

Pic is fully financed, according to Fradis. Coin comes mainly from Russian equity investors, with the balance from Polish and Ukrainian investors, the Polish government as well as location incentives.

Project likely will shoot in the Ukraine and Romania, with pre-production starting in April.

Levinson most recently helmed indie feature “What Just Happened?” and docu “PoliWood.”

Fradis exec produced Larry Charles’ “Masked and Anonymous.”

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