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189: Defiance with Roland Tec

Roland Tec’s mother, Nechama, wrote the book that 2008’s Defiance was based on. He was also a co-producer on the movie, so we’ll get to hear some stories from the set as well as the historical accuracy of the movie.

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Note: This transcript is automatically generated. There will be mistakes, so please don’t use them for quotes. It is provided for reference use to find things better in the audio.

Dan LeFebvre  01:33

The movie starts with some text setting up the situation. It’s the year 1941 and Germany has occupied Belorussia. This is when we meet the four Bielski brothers: Tuvia, played by Daniel Craig, Zus, played by Liev Schreiber, Asael, played by Jamie Bell and the youngest brother, Aron, played by George MacKay. Since the movie doesn’t really explain much about what it was like before Germany invaded, can you fill in some more historical detail about what life was like for the Jews in Belarus before the timeline in the movie?


Roland Tec  02:09

Well, actually at that time, it was Poland, of course, just to be clear. Belaruswasn’t independent at that time. That area was really, you know, shifting back and forth a lot during the time after the First World War between Russia Poland. And in fact, Lithuania was given independence in a sort of pact between Hitler and Stalin. Anyway, all of that is to say that the Jews in that area were a minority, who it kind of depended on where you were, you were, you know, in certain urban set settings, they had a certain kind of a status. But of course, this is more in the countryside, where this takes place. And so the Bielskis were farmers, they were peasants, and they were very much like, they fit in with the whole community at large. And it was really, what I think we we know is, is that in general, as the war took over, it was kind of like, these divisions became more exaggerated. In other words, people who had been friends and who had been business partners, suddenly, the fact that one family was Jewish, and the other was not became important where it may be had not seemed as important before, I think we can probably now we can understand sort of what that’s like a little bit living in the time we live in now, when these divisions are becoming sort of more important. So they did business, they they were farmers, so they were, you know, doing business, and then with the local community, and then all of a sudden, everything changed. I mean, that was sort of the nature of that that time period. You know,


Dan LeFebvre  04:06

According to the movie, we see the cops in town helping to round up the Jews, I think there was a line of dialogue where it says, In exchange, the Germans paid 500 rubles for each person that they turned over. So those that were able to escape, found their way to the nearby forest. And that’s when we see the four brothers and they’re just just more and more people just start showing up. So that’s kind of how the movie explains that they’re forced to stay out of the towns. And the reason why they set up a camp in the forest in October of 1941 set a pretty accurate way of showing how and why the camp started.


Roland Tec  04:43

Okay, so so you kind of have to understand that they were very familiar with these forests, right? Because they were living alongside these forests. So it wasn’t necessarily like an idea. Let’s go set up a camp. In the forest, it was more, let’s run away from danger where we can hide. And then when you’re hiding, then it’s sort of like, oh, in fact, there’s a scene in the film where in a kind of woodsy area watching their house, they’re kind of looking at the kind of destruction that has fallen on the house, of course, this reflects really what the kind of relationship was with the forest, they could go in and out of the forest. And because they were familiar with the area, they were able to hide, and then we’re able to create some kind of a camp, but it’s sort of like a, it’s an evolution really what happened, it’s sort of like one thing leads to another, it’s like, first you’re camping out, then you realize you’re hungry, then you have to get some food, you go to you go to a farmer who you know, and you get some food and someone who you trust, maybe, then maybe, you know, as that more people hear about that, your that, that you’re in the forest, they try to find, you know, where are you then you maybe have to leave because somebody, you know, gives away your location, you know, so this is like, it’s a kind of a natural evolution. But but it’s, as in all things in life, really, I mean, it’s not, it’s not so planned out in advance, but you sort of look up one day and realize, Oh, we have a camp in the forest, you know, that sort of a natural kind of slow evolution, I would say, and Tuvia Bielski was unusual in this regard, because of course, the other people in the forest were the Russian partisans, right? The Russian partisans had a mandate from Stalin, they weren’t they were actually supplied by the Russian government. And they were there for one purpose and one purpose only, which was to wreak havoc with the German offensive, right. But Tuvia Bielski, it was a more complicated thing for him, you know. And slowly over time, he became really concerned mostly with just saving lives. And so took on, as you see in the film took on women and children and old people, which is something the Russian partisans would not have done, you know, in the Russian partisans. Usually, if somebody wanted to join a Russian partisan group, where they had to be male, usually, and they had to, they had to have a gun. So, you know, so very different situation.


Dan LeFebvre  07:31

I want to ask you about something that really stood out to me in the movie where they mentioned that there were, like, 3000 Jews in town just a couple days ago. And now there’s 50. The movie doesn’t go into a lot of detail about this. But like I mentioned earlier, we’re talking about the law enforcement rounding people up, but also talking like local towns, people just turning on their own neighbors. Was that something that the Germans were able to use the local people there to basically turn on their neighbors?


Roland Tec  08:01

Well, you have to understand that this, of course, in every village, every town, there were different situations. You couldn’t you can’t it’s very difficult in the Holocaust to generalize about things like this. But it just so happens that, for example, in Lithuania, where you know, Vilna was conceal note, Vilnius or Vilna, the capital of Lithuania, was referred to before the war as the Jerusalem of Lithuania. Right. So and in fact, when the Germans invaded Poland, and Lithuania was suddenly once again an independent state. Jews flooded into Vilnius or Vilna stinking, they were, they were going because Lithuania was a neutral country at that point. And thinking they were getting into a safe haven. Vilna was, it was seen as a safe place. So many Jews poured in from all sorts of other directions, Seeking Safety. And then, of course, surprise, surprise, it turned out if we look back that some of the most enthusiastic collaborators with the Germans were Lithuanians, but again, not you can’t it’s very difficult to generalize. There were many cases where is depicted in the film where the police would go side by side, or they would be working on behalf of the Nazis. But there were also cases of, as you see in the film, to have people who, who fought against it, who worked in with the underground who tried to sabotage the Germans. And so, but you have to be you know, you can sort of never, never quite know you know, who, who is going to be who is going to be a collaborator who might didn’t Now, if you if if a family was hiding, let’s say in a barn somewhere, they had to be very cautious about who could know that they were there. And it could be, as is also depicted in the film, I think quite accurately, that a husband and wife might even not know, do I trust my husband to keep this secret or vice versa? This was a very terrible, difficult time. And people were denounced. And also, of course, you know, the Germans practiced, they would, they would pay. So so they used money, to encourage the local population to denounce Jews, or to help them find Jews that were in hiding. They also practiced as you know, collective responsibility. So if, if Gentiles were found to be harboring Jews, there was no exception, the death penalty, they were they would be killed if they so it was a huge risk to do that. So in fact, there were cases, this doesn’t isn’t depicted in the film. But there were there were some cases where there was one case, especially I don’t remember the name of the village, but where an entire village was killed for harboring Jews, they were they were rounded up, and they were put, it’s actually in the book to find she describes it. The farm attack, my mother just describes this, where they were put into a church. And the church was burned to the ground with all these people in the church. So yeah, so it was a, it took tremendous courage to resist. So any resistance should be taught. And we should remember, you know, it’s, I think it’s very important for us to remember that there were people who resisted. It’s a it’s very important, especially for to teach this in schools, that kids should know that no matter what injustice is sweeping the land, there are always some people who follow their own moral compass. It’s very important. I think that’s an important message of the film. And the book,


Dan LeFebvre  12:10

there was the husband and wife in the movie where he helps he helps them I think he’s the first one to give them food and a gun.


Roland Tec  12:17

Yes, Kush trick, the farmer. And that’s sort of an amalgam. I mean, it’s sort of based a little bit on a real character in the book. But it’s also Ed’s wick kind of combined a few elements from a few different actual people to make that character in the film,


Dan LeFebvre  12:34

his wife, knowing you knowing, you know, he’s killed, and she still helps, I think that was just was very, very moving.


Roland Tec  12:43

That’s actually an interesting moment with that wife in the film, because she wasn’t happy that he was helping. She resented it, because of course, it was dangerous. And she worried, of course, that he would be killed. And then after he’s killed, she still sort of helps them. In a way it’s, it’s it shows you the complexity of the situation, you know, not all good. Not all bad. You know, she did what she could in the moment.


Dan LeFebvre  13:10

You mentioned earlier that people kind of knew about this camp as it was starting to be set up. I mean, I wanted to ask you about that. And because a lot of movies, though, compress the timeline a lot. And it seems to happen pretty fast that we see some people coming into the forest and like, Oh, you know, we’re, we’re looking for the for the bilski camp, or like, they knew that it was there. How fast did that happen?


Roland Tec  13:33

So you’re making a 90 to 100 minute film, right? So of course, everything is going to be compressed. And actually, the film only covers the first part, like the first year in the forest. So yes, there there was compression done, to try to show but but I think what Ed sweet did so well in the film, in the screenplay, and in the directing. So well was show how you see people who hear rumors, right about the BLF keys. And if they’re lucky, they find them. Again, keep in mind that a lot of these people were people who were city people, they were not they were not familiar with the forest. So it was almost a miracle if they managed to find their way to this place. And you see in the film, how over time, the people who wander up to the camp, you can see one woman is wearing a fur coat. You know, a man is carrying a fancy suitcase. Because these were city people who grabbed the most valuable belongings they could, you know, I think you even see in one shot in the film, somebody’s holding, you know, like a fancy silver menorah or something, you know, like people grab what they can. So basically they’re wearing on their backs, whatever they have to survive, you know? Yeah, so it I thought it did a very good job of showing The the stark contrast between these urban city people arriving at this camp and then the people who are already in the camp already sort of look like they’ve been living in the forest, you know. So there’s a strong contrast between that


Dan LeFebvre  15:16

payment. You mentioned earlier that because they were living near the forest, they were accustomed to going in and coming out. So I wanted, I wanted to ask you about the what you were just saying there was some people being in the city. Were there more more people that were like to build skis that knew the forest and kind of knew that area? Or would it be that most of them were coming from cities?


Roland Tec  15:38

I think it was a combination. I think there were some people who were Yeah, it was a real combination of, of people with different backgrounds. Now, of course, it’s accurate in the film, because in the book, it’s also described how, when somebody would arrive, or when a group of people would arrive, they would basically be, you know, they, the, the people who were already in the camp would be looking to these new arrivals, like, What skills do you have? Do you? You know, can you cook, can you fix a watch? Are you a nurse? I mean, you know, and oftentimes, you know, there were people, nurses, doctors, if you were a nurse or a doctor, that was a fantastic help, because of course, nobody was going to be going to the hospital. So and you know, there were also this is not in the film, but in the book. You know, there were abortions were had to be performed. There were abortions performed in the forest, I


Dan LeFebvre  16:40

think in the movie tuvia has a rule that there can’t be any kids. Right? Was that something that they for that reason? Because they didn’t really have a hospital? Or I assumed it was they didn’t want the noise?


Roland Tec  16:53

Yeah, I mean, I think, yeah, I think it’s also Yeah, it’s just very dangerous. I mean, to have an infant in the forest. I mean, there were cases of women who did, who did give birth, so that there were both but yeah,


Dan LeFebvre  17:06

one thing that you had mentioned earlier were the Russian partisans. And in the movie, as more people are coming, it means more mouths to feed. But that also means that there was kind of a disagreement between tuvia and Zeus, where he thinks that tuvia thinks that we can provide for these people, we want to help these people. But then douche gets mad, and no, these too many people and he wants to go off and fight. So he actually joins the Russian partisans, was there really a disagreement between the two brothers were that Zus went off to fight with the Russian partisans?


Roland Tec  17:39

No, that’s that’s actually a way in which the film kind of takes an issue, which was an issue that existed in the forest in general, and dramatize it as being between the two brothers. But it really in in real in real life, it wasn’t really between two avian zoos. But there were, particularly as the group grew larger and larger and larger. And there were more and more elderly, and young, and you know, not fighters, there was a group of fighters who, you know, men with guns, who went to, to via and they were saying, complaining, kind of because they would have to hike several kilometers to try to look for food and then bring food back. And they were feeding, they felt they were feeding, you know, these people who were not who were useless, they didn’t have guns, they weren’t fighting. And that was a source of tension. And so that’s depicted in the film as a tension between the two brothers. But, but that tension definitely wasn’t necessarily between the two brothers. But it was definitely something that two of you had to contend with. And then, of course, it’s also depicted, I think, quite, quite well and vividly in the film, what it would have been like for these Jews to go to the Russian partisans, because there was a tremendous amount of anti semitism in the Russian partisan units. So when Jews did come to the Russian partisans, they sort of, if they had guns, and they were going to fight with them, they would accept them to a certain degree, but there was always a way in which they were never quite fully integrated. I think that’s captured quite beautifully in the film accurately.


Dan LeFebvre  19:21

What of the relationship that we see between the Russian partisans and the Bielskis? The way that movie shows it, there’s almost this cooperation going on where the Russians are fighting against the Germans. They’re ambushing them, you’re blowing up train tracks. And then the Jews in the camp are helping to support the Russians by mending their clothes and helping them get supplies and things like that.


Roland Tec  19:43

That was absolutely that was true, and that that actually, and again, Tuvia Bielski can be credited for that. He was a brilliant kind of negotiator and brilliant kind of in terms of reading people and he had a special relation ship with one of the Russian commanders I forgot the guy’s name. But it’s in the book. And he, whenever there was a conflict, whenever there was a problem coming up to have you have managed, managed to negotiate it and kind of work it out because he was he was very clever that way that he made, he really made their unit indispensable to the Russians, because they were doing these things for them, mending things, and other things like that. So yeah, he was very clever that way. And he was shrewd, but he was also charming. He was very, he was sort of universally liked. So it was a really, I don’t know that any other person could have net necessarily ended up saving 1200 Jews the way that he did, because he had this gift. He he could be tough, he could fight. But he also could be intuitive and read people very well. And he was a good negotiator.


Dan LeFebvre  21:08

One thing that we see throughout the movie is the camp changes, you know, initially when they first go into the forest and say, Oh, we got to stay on the run, or stay on the move. And you know, we’re not going to stay in a single place. And then towards the end of the movie, it’s like a little town, you know, it’s all wooden buildings, and they’re not going to be moving very much. Of course, we’ll get to see what they do. But how did the movie do showing the camps kind of progression?


Roland Tec  21:36

Let me tell you that when the comma when my mother visited the set, I was really it was very moving to me also, because she was completely overwhelmed by the level of detail. One of the things that I think is so strong about her book, is that she did such copious research that she really described in the book in incredible detail, how they managed to how, what it looked like how they functioned, how they fixed things, how they cooked, how they did medical things, all of those things are really, she really describes them in such detail. And so the day that I brought her to the set, and she saw Dan Wiles set that he built, and it’s just like, it’s almost like, details from her book came to life in that camp that they built. And so that was very moving for me to see her. You know, she was very excited. And she couldn’t, almost couldn’t believe it, like, the detail. That was everywhere she turned. And that was pretty wonderful. One thing that you know, is that, of course, the movie is compressing time. And, yes, they built something like a village in the middle of the forest. But at least a couple of times, they had to just abandon it, and move and find another place and build from scratch again. So that was the reality of the of what happened. And in fact, what in the film is maybe a couple of minutes going through the swamp was actually I think seven days they were walking through this big swamp, it was a huge swamp, which you can see on a map. If you look at that forest, there’s a you can see where the big swamp is. Seven Days going through the swamp, they had to actually tie themselves, they use their belts to tie themselves to trees to sleep, so they wouldn’t drown in the swamp. So that wasn’t depicted in the film. But you know, I mean, if you’re going through a swamp for seven days, yeah, it was kind of amazing what they did.


Dan LeFebvre  23:41

There’s a scene in the movie where there’s a German soldier that gets captured, and he’s taken into the camp, and everyone just starts beating him. And you know, they’re, they’re crying out the names of their family members that have died at the hands of the Nazis. Did that sort of thing happen?


Roland Tec  24:00

That is actually based on a true, really upsetting thing that did happen. Yeah, there was a case. I think it’s described in the book. And it’s, again, one of those things that gets confusing and upsetting that when when you discover that even you can become a kind of animal, you know?


Dan LeFebvre  24:27

Yeah, that’s the kind of thing that I just can’t imagine being that sort of situation. It’s kind of like what the farmer’s wife, you’d like to think that you. You do the right thing, but, I mean, I can’t even imagine being in that sort of a situation having to make that kind of a decision.


Roland Tec  24:44

Right. Well, I mean, I know my mom, you know, she interviewed hundreds of rescuers, and also survivors in her research, not only for defiance, but for all of her books. And she says that sometimes You know, she would express amazement at what somebody did, and how dangerous it was and have someone really risked everything to save a life. And that oftentimes they would look at her and say, well, you would have done the same thing you would have been the same. And she said, honestly, she didn’t know, you know, she had to be honest that like she, she hoped she would have behaved that way. But until you’re in the situation, you really can’t know, you know?


Dan LeFebvre  25:28

Well, when they do have the German soldier that tips them off to a German attack coming, and this is when in the movie, we see them leaving the camp, there’s planes coming in bombing the infantry moves in, there’s a group that stays with some armed men and women, that stick kind of stays behind to slow down the German assault. And then tuvia leads everyone else away through the through the swamp, how much of the way that the movie depicts that was accurate? I know, you’re saying the timeline was very different, but just the way that the Germans came in and staying behind and defending,


Roland Tec  26:06

right, that’s a little bit like made a little bit more dramatic for motion picture, you know, there wasn’t exactly bombs falling on them. And them, you know, like fighting that way. But there was definitely there was a German offensive into the forest. There was a time when the Germans decided they were going to wipe out the partisans. And but of course, that was German deciding they were going to wipe out all the partisans, right. So they weren’t just thinking about the Jewish partisan, they probably they, it was mostly Russian partisans, right. And so they’re what when they knew that they were coming to that forest, they had to go deeper into the forest, which was when they went through that swamp, and they ended up on an island. I don’t remember the name of the island. But it was an island in the middle of the swamp, which was a place where they could not be they would not be caught by the Germans there because it was so deep into this swamp, it was impenetrable. And nobody would have ever found them there. But the problem was them, they found themselves on this island. And they started starving, there was no, there was no food. So they had to eventually send people off the island to go try to find food. And then eventually they realized they had to come to the realization that they could not just stay there, they had to keep moving. And they had to get out of the swamp. Otherwise, they would all just starve to death. I mean, it was safe from the Germans, but you know, they would starve there.


Dan LeFebvre  27:38

And I’m sure that didn’t help the tensions going on either. If people were already upset about having to go get the food and bring it back. Now you have to leave an island to and it’s even even more difficult.


Roland Tec  27:51

Right? Right, right. But the one thing is to do was, he was some he was a strong leader, and he, he would listen to a certain point, but then he would make a decision. He didn’t have trouble making a decision and making it clear what the decision was.


Dan LeFebvre  28:08

Why in the movie after they crossed the swamp. They seem like they’re they’re reaching the other side, and it’s all good. And then there’s soldiers there, and there’s a tank there and stuff like that. So they kind of forced to stand and fight. How well did the movie do showing the battle between the Germans and the partisans?


Roland Tec  28:28

Well, the movies very dramatic, and it’s very exciting. Um, but, you know, in reality, as we know, I mean, actually, it’s anytime there’s a fighting a fight between a tiny group of people and the whole army, which is what really it would be right between the German army and like, a few 100 partisans. It’s a asymmetrical warfare, right? So what does that mean? So what that means is the small group cannot be engaged in a direct battle with the army, it’s an impossible there would there they would it would be a suicide mission. So the quote unquote fighting is just little acts of sabotage like go in blow something up and run away or cut off telegraph wires or something like that. So it would be like specific things to disrupt the the smooth functioning of the actual big military, but they couldn’t really engage them in direct hand to hand combat. That’s not it’s just an impossibility. I mean, they would have just been destroyed in five seconds. So


Dan LeFebvre  29:40

was that then mostly the the Russian partisans


Roland Tec  29:43

with the Russian partisans also was small little things because they were also small groups. It’s not like a typical kind of a warfare. Actually, you know what? It’s very much like the American Revolution, right there was the British Army. And then we were like disrupting and George Washington would be retreating across the river because he wanted to save the few soldiers he still had alive before he could figure out another way of sabotage. How does it eventually work that the big army is defeated by these small little groups? It’s because the big army eventually gets tired. After three years, or whatever it is, they just, they just are exhausted from this constant. But it’s it’s in and out, it’s quick little bits of sabotage. It’s not really like two armies fighting the way we think of it, you know?


Dan LeFebvre  30:34

Yeah, like your your analogy there with the American Revolution.


Roland Tec  30:41

It’s you use what you have, you know, whatever you can do. I mean, if you have to burn a bridge to keep them from coming across, you do that, you know, whatever, whatever it is.


Dan LeFebvre  30:52

Do we know from the German side it sounds like I mean, if they were doing an offensive into the forest, maybe they they did enough of those little things to to annoy them enough?


Roland Tec  31:00

Yes. That’s right. So the Germans, the Germans had at a certain point, they had an idea we’ve we’ve got to clear this forest, but they didn’t really know what they were in for. They kind of got in deeper than they expected, I guess.


Dan LeFebvre  31:13

Okay. Can you give a little geographical context around the forest and the swamp and first, someone who’s not familiar with that area? Like how large was the forest? I think there’s a looks massive from the movie.


Roland Tec  31:26

This is a now it’s in Bella roofs. But you know, then it was Poland. And it’s a huge area, vast area, I mean, so vast that I mean, just the fact that you could, it could take seven days to cross the swamp gives you an idea of how big of bigness, yeah.


Dan LeFebvre  31:50

Now, at the very end of the movie, there is some text that explains that they lived in the forest for two more years, they had a new camp that has school, a hospital nursery, and by the wars and 1200 had survived. Can you fill in some more historical context around what happened after the movies timeline?


Roland Tec  32:06

Well, the movie condenses a little bit, because I think, actually, that the traveling through the swamp may have been technically after the time period of the movie. So it gets a little murky there. But I would say generally speaking, it was just a slow expansion over time, the group got larger and larger and larger as more people found their way to them miraculously over time. And so in the end, when I think for them, they knew the war was over, when the Russian soldiers were liberating that part of the world, you know, because of course, in some places, they were American g eyes, but where they were, I think it was Russian soldiers who were liberating them. So then, of course, people tried to go some people do you know, some people tried to go back to where they were from to find people? You know, there was a period of time when, at the end of the war, people were looking for relatives that they had lost trying to find out, of course, nine, most of the time, you found out nothing, or you found out that they were dead, but it was. So you know, finding out nothing usually meant that they were dead. But some people did find each other. And then the bl skis. Of course, she tuvia ended up in the United States, and was a truck driver.


Dan LeFebvre  33:34

Was he the leader throughout the entire thing?


Roland Tec  33:37

Yes. That was never there was never a question of that, really. Except for those few guys who wanted to kind of have a mutiny, because they were fighting. And there was one guy, I don’t remember his name, but he had to be exiled, because he was really threatening a mutiny. But it was pretty clear. I mean, for the whole time it was, yeah, it was to do who was in charge, and his brothers never. This is a way a way in which the film is a little bit different than reality, the brothers never really questioned that at all.


Dan LeFebvre  34:07

Overall, from the movie, was there anything that didn’t make it into the movie that you wish had been in there?


Roland Tec  34:14

Not really, I have to say, I really am still, you know, when I look at the film, after all these years, I’m still really impressed with how Ed was able to really capture the essence of what it was like and the and what we were talking about that that transition from just sort of camping out in the woods because the woods would be safe and you kind of feel safe there and then actually thinking, well, it’s raining, let’s build something. He I think he did a really marvelous job of capturing those details. And it’s very difficult to take a book, you know, her book is I think it’s an I don’t know, you’ve read the book. I think if you read it. I think it reads very well. It’s very well written and it’s a It’s an it’s a page turner, but it’s very dense with a lot of information. And I’m really impressed with how, how he was able to take that and make it into a 90 minute film. It’s incredible. But no, I don’t I don’t think there were things that were left out. I think it’s it really gives you a sense of how this happened, and what it was like, what it was like for people and the social dynamics. I mean, one of the interesting things in the book, and it is also portrayed, I think, quite beautifully in the film is the way in which people who were upper class, we’re now kind of on the bottom, and people who had been peasants or lower class before the war, were now on the top because naturally in the forest to survive those skills that they had, were in much more valued than, you know, like the skills of philosophy professor, for example, right? I don’t know how well I would do in the forest. Hopefully, I’ll never find out.


Dan LeFebvre  36:08

Yeah, hopefully we never have to find out. That’s for sure. Well, since you were involved in the production of the movie itself, do you have a favorite story from onset? Or you know what that was? Like?


Roland Tec  36:18

I don’t know. I think one thing that was funny was that we were filming in Lithuania. And it was, I think we filmed until right before Christmas or something. And so it was never the coldest really that that is there in that forest. And we were all remarking because you know, you see a 12 hour day out in the forest shooting. And I remember, you know, we were all commenting the whole time, how it was amazing how we were freezing. And there we were with our mittens and boots. And then we even have these warming things that you can put in your boots to keep your feet warm and everything like that. And we were complaining that we’re freezing, and thinking like we haven’t even reached the dead of winter yet. And it’s hard for us I can’t imagine. I mean, it was just really, in. I think it just gave us all a real sense of appreciation. You know, for one thing, I will say there’s a funny thing that happened. I’m not so funny. But something that happened. When my parents came to visit the set. They came for basically a weekend. And my mother, of course was she’s polish. She’s from Poland. My father was Russian. He’s actually from Belarus, my father, we were in a hotel, in a kind of a bar restaurant off of the lobby and one of the hotels. And this, my parents visit happened to coincide with several days of shooting, we had about a week of shooting with the actors who were playing the Russian partisans, right. So they were all real Russian actors from Russia. So my father, being from Belarus, Russia, and being his mother tongue really connected with these Russian actors, and they were having fun. And they were sitting at the piano in this bar restaurant off of the lobby in the hotel. And my father started playing Russian folk tunes. And so they started singing Russian functions and having a great old time. Well, let me tell you, we were in Lithuania, Lithuania, you know, independent Lithuania doesn’t exactly like the Russian language, you can understand how in that part of the world language matters. And it was like you could suddenly hear a pin drop. Everybody was staring there was a very awkward, funny thing. So they stopped, but


Dan LeFebvre  38:47

it sounds like they were having a good time. No, just not really reading the room.


Roland Tec  38:53

Or having a great time not reading the room. Exactly. Yes. My, my 85 year old father was not reading the room. Yeah, but it was fun. It was it was fun to see that connection. And the other thing too, is that it was fun to watch Daniel Craig asked my mother questions. You know, he. Daniel is a very smart guy and of course, had read the book and knew all these details, and was asking her very detailed questions, you know, and that was really cool to see. You know, that was really wonderful. It was fun for her also, to be like a resource on set like that.


Dan LeFebvre  39:29

What did your mother think of the movie,


Roland Tec  39:31

she loved it. I think she really loved it. She loved seeing it come to life. And I think she also felt, you know, she only met to via once I think she describes in the book how she met him and interviewed him only a few weeks before he died. And she said he was incredibly charismatic even then as an old man who was not physically in good shape. She still felt the charisma and I think she really loved the way Daniel portrayed him in film. I think she thought it was a great casting choice.


Dan LeFebvre  40:05

Now he’s a great actor.


Roland Tec  40:07

He is a great actor. Yeah, he really is. Yeah. And all the actors in the film, I think are really great. You know, they really kind of inhabited their characters fully. So that was, that was really cool. Yeah.


Dan LeFebvre  40:20

Well, thank you so much for coming on to chat about defiance. And for someone listening to this, who wants to learn more about your work? Can you tell us about what you do and share your website where they can learn more?


Roland Tec  40:29

Oh, sure. Yeah, so Well, um, I I do make some films every once a while, like keep, keep my fingers in that. But I also do teach a lot. I teach writers who are interested in filmmaking and playwriting. And so you can just look me up at Roland tech COMM And you can find more stuff there.


Dan LeFebvre  40:47

I’ll make sure to put a link to that in the show notes.


Roland Tec  40:56


Thank you. Thank you.



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