CANADA 90 MIN, 2020
Since he was a child Roman Lapshin has been haunted by a secret his late grandfather revealed to him regarding the mysterious whereabouts of thousands of his grandfather’s paintings which had disappeared. Determined to find the paintings and restore his grandfather’s legacy Roman sets out to confront the powerful man at the centre of this secret, whom Roman believes exploited his grandfather when he was a desperate immigrant to a new country. But as his journey unfolds Roman realizes that his search for justice and vengeance may not lead to the salvation he had hoped to achieve. Portrayal is a powerful human tale following Roman across 3 continents as he comes to terms with the meaning of family, legacy, authorship, and the porous nature of truth.
An award winning filmmaker and investigative journalist who has produced and directed seven feature length documentaries. Before completing his most recent film “Portrayal” Billie spent two successful seasons both in front and behind the camera as a featured host on National Geographic’s signature series “Explorer”. His last feature "The Guardians" premiered at the 2018 Hot Docs Festival, has gone on to win numerous awards, and is currently playing on Amazon Prime. His previous feature, "The Ponzi Scheme" is an investigation into victims of personal financial fraud which was distributed internationally by Forward Entertainment and premiered on The Sundance Channel. His 2015 feature documentary "Jesus Town USA", executive produced by SKY ATLANTIC, had its world premiere at AMDOCS (The American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs) and international premiere at Hot Docs, before airing on Showtime, CBC and Netflix and has been aired globally. It can now also be seen on Amazon Prime. Billie is represented by the Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
My interest in filming this documentary was to follow the journey of a young man who came of age while trying to find the truth to the story that was told to him in his childhood by his grandfather. Now an adult he learns the truth that not all stories turn out to be what he thought they were. In this instance, the story that haunted him his entire life ended up transforming him once he sought it out and found the answers. This is a story about family, immigration, art, and exploitation. The film itself wrestles with an unreliable narrator and takes the audience on wild ride through several countries as we confront the ghosts of the past. Very much a revenge film that turns into a redemption one.
- Calgary International Film Festival / Canada
- Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival / Israel
- Hot Docs / Canada
- American Documentary & Animation Festival / USA
- International Festival of Films on Art in Montreal / Canada
- Master of Art Film Festival in Budapest / Hungary
DOKer 2021 — Main Competition