When filmmaker Dan Edelstyn discovered that his Jewish grandparents were once the owners of a vodka distillery in the Ukraine, the stage was set for an unlikely, often uproarious documentary. How To Re-Establish a Vodka Empire is Edelstyn’s own account of his attempts to retell his family’s story, and save the village in which they once lived from ruin by re-branding the vodka still produced there and launching it abroad.
The re-named Zorokovich 1917Vodka is becoming something of a success story, already making its way into UK shops and bars, and the films portrays Edelstyn’s fascinating quest, interspersed with historical re-enactments of the life and fate of his Ukranian forbears. Fascinating and charming, it a moving exploration of Jewish history in Eastern Europe as well as a crash course in the cutthroat nature of business. Andrew Simpson