Leonid Gurevich, a Russian documentary scriptwriter, director, critic and teacher, died of a heart attack at JFK Intl. Airport in New York on Feb. 15. He was 69.
Gurevich scripted more than 70 films, wrote numerous articles on cinema and television and taught advanced courses on scriptwriting and direction at the graduate center in Moscow under the auspices of Goskino and the State Film Academy for more than two decades.
Before and after the collapse of Soviet Union, Gurevich promoted international film exchange. He believed that film had the power to teach one nation about another and break down the barriers raised by the Cold War.
In 1989 Gurevich organized the Glasnost Film Festival, which took 22 Russian documentaries on an American tour, and he helped arrange a tour of American documentary films in the USSR the following year. He was also a founder and vice president of the American-Soviet Film Initiative (ASK).
Gurevich was born and raised in Voronezh, Russia, and graduated from Voronezh State University in 1954 with a degree in chemistry. His fascination with film started with a visit to a film club in Saratov. In 1963, Gurevich joined the Union of Soviet Cinematographers. During Gorbachev’s “glasnost” reform era, which allowed a more open expression in documentary cinema, Gurevich wrote scripts for such films as “The Mission of Raoul Wallenberg (1990),” “The Foundation Pit (1989),” “The Trucker’s Ballad (1987),” “Mission (1986)” and “Scenes at a Fountain (1986),” which was presented during the Glasnost Film Festival.
His recent works were “Terpsichore’s Captives” and “Disavowal of Love” directed by Yefim Reznikov.
Gurevich is survived by his wife, Sima Berezanskaya, their daughter, a daughter from his first marriage and a brother.
Inquiries about contributions in Leonid Gurevich’s name should be sent to Sima Berezanskaya, 1610 Ocean Avenue, 3C, Brooklyn, New York 11230.