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The Stream Premieres in Atlanta

The Stream by Sam Dubin

Duluth resident creates a short film exploring the American Dream.

Duluth resident Sam Dubin has drawn upon his own family history to create The Stream, a film that explores the American Dream from the perspective of a middle class immigrant family, where deep love and harsh conflict exist side-by-side.

In the works for more than two years, The Stream premiered in January, first at Atlanta’s Plaza Theatre and then with a New York City premiere later that month at the Wythe Hotel.

A difficult trip
The movie focuses on a tense father-son car trip to sell the family’s lake cottage. The father, played by Ivan Logvinov, had worked hard in several jobs to make it as a Russian immigrant in the U.S. but had to sell the cottage due to financial hardships. The son, played by Sam, is a young adult aspiring to be an artist and is upset that the cottage is being sold.

The different attitudes of the blue-collar dad and the artistic son, combined with memories of the family’s better times at the cottage, create an environment for confrontational, yet honest communications between the two generations.

“This film has a lot of love in it,” Sam said after the Atlanta premiere. “It’s about giving your children a chance, even if sometimes it doesn’t turn out like you think it will.”

Authenticity from real life
The Stream comes across as a very authentic film, and with good reason. Sam is the son of immigrants, and his family has a long history at the lake cottage they own at Lake Hartwell. Ivan is also an immigrant himself. Alexey Pyekh, who played the young version of Sam’s character during flashbacks in the movie, is also from an immigrant family.

The story and its background are relatable to a lot of people. It was interesting to see that when Sam asked the audience in Atlanta how many of them were first or second generation immigrants, about a quarter of the audience raised their hand.

The result, Sam said, is that the team making the film understood the story “deep in their bones.” Thinking about their families and remembering their lives growing up really infused the immigrant dynamic into the movie.

And it wasn’t all acting. The touching story the dad tells in the movie about the son’s birth really happened. There’s a scene where the family’s station wagon broke down. It wasn’t staged. During filming, the car really did break down. The crew just went with it.
Throughout the production process, Sam and Ivan often discussed their similar backgrounds in order to make the family dynamic shown in the film very real. “It’s an homage to the sacrifices immigrant parents make,” Sam said. “I was thinking about my family.”

Based on family
Sam’s real-life father Yakov was involved too. When Sam finished the script, he asked his father to read it, slightly worried that maybe it hit too close to home. But his father loved it.

“Reading the script filled me with emotion,” Yakov said. “We’re so close to our kids. The movie reminded me that’s why we came here — so our children could pursue their dreams.”

As the premieres came closer to happening, Yakov really got involved with promoting it on social media. “I’m going to become a promoter!” he joked with the audience in Atlanta.

He and Sam really enjoyed creating the posts they made to promote the film. “You’ve probably seen my dad more on social media than me,” Sam said.

  • The Stream by Sam Dubin
  • The Stream by Sam Dubin
  • The Stream by Sam Dubin
  • The Stream by Sam Dubin
  • The Stream by Sam Dubin
  • The Stream by Sam Dubin
  • The Stream by Sam Dubin
  • The Stream by Sam Dubin
  • The Stream by Sam Dubin

Multiple roles in the production
Sam wore many hats while creating The Stream. Writer. Producer. Director. Actor.

He said that being the director and one of the actors during filming was difficult. Sam was constantly jumping back and forth between the two very different responsibilities. Initially he didn’t want to act in the film because of that.

“It took immense trust in the crew,” he said. “I do want to act again, and direct again, but not in the same film.”

After the premieres, Sam was quick to give a lot of credit to the film crew. They worked hard on a tight budget and just about everything was complicated by the fact that much of it took place during the COVID epidemic.

Previews, screenings and premieres
One of the first public previews of The Stream was at Good Word Brewing & Public House in downtown Duluth. Good Word hosted a ‘beerfunding’ event to help raise money for the production costs.

That was followed by screenings at a few film festivals, and the two premieres.

The public release of The Stream is coming soon. It will be released online. Sam said there won’t be a sequel, but he hasn’t ruled out the idea of expanding the current 24-minute film into a full-length feature.

In making The Stream, Sam told the story underpinning his and other immigrant families’ time here in the U.S. It’s a story filled with difficulty, but also with joy and hope. In the process of telling that story, he’s seen his relationship with his own family grow.
His dad Yakov said, “I’m really proud of Sam. He’s worked really hard. He didn’t give up.”

One day, Sam was driving with his mom and talking about the film. She told him that she didn’t realize how much of an impression the time they spent at their lake cottage made on him.

]Sam summed up the movie this way: “The Stream is part of all of us. It’s a way to begin to understand that one part of our lives may be over, but there’s more to come.”

Written By

Glenn is a freelance writer living in Gwinnett County. He writes about a broad range of subjects, including business, music, sports, and nonprofits. His work has been published in magazines and websites nationwide.

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