Bolshoy Beryozovy

Bolshoy Beryozovy

Screenplay by Alan Nafzger (copyright 2013)

LOGLINE: In the summer of 2008, the five dollar bill was redesigned and the United States government sent $176 million in the new design on a military transport plane to Saint Petersburg.  The money never arrived.

SETTING: Gulf of Finland, 2008.

The film begins with a spectacular and well-orchestrated heist. As the plane flies over the Russian islands of the Baltic, U.S. military personnel (thieves) sabotage the electronics, lower the back hatch door and push one of the air cargo containers out. The container holds $22 million in $5 bills. The position is marked with GPS, and the soldiers bail out. The plane crashes.

Taras Rostislavsky is a young orphan boy who lives at a Saint Petersburg orphanage. Taras leaves the orphan to work clearing tables and washing dishes at a swank SP topless bar.  A injured and exhausted young American comes into the bar. Taras quickly realizes that the American is in hiding, and that he particularly dreads meeting an unidentified Russian man with a Russian prison tattoo – a starving skeleton of a man mocking, “Glory to the Communist Party!!!”. A brief time later, the American is visited by a criminal with a black panther tattoo. The American gives Taras a hand held GPS. The bar turns violent, the criminal flees and the American simply dies.

Taras and his new female friend from work play with the GPS.  Vasilisa Ramius teaches him basically how to use it.  She explains to Taras what waypoints are and they look at the history. One waypoint is named simply, “22 million”; the location is in the middle of one of the Russian Baltic islands.

Black Panther returns with his boss, thief in law, Vyacheslav Ivankov and his criminal gang. Hastily, Taras and Vasilisa leave with the GPS before the pursuers ransack the inn. Vasilisa is driving the boy back to the orphanage when they hear on the radio about the plane crash.  Vasilisa slams on the breaks in the middle of the road.  Taras realizes that the GPS waypoint must be valuable, so they look at the GPS out and speculate.

Excited, they recognize it as a map for what might be a huge treasure. Vasilisa immediately starts planning an expedition. She knows a fisherman with a boat, her father.

The next morning at the dock they calculate that 22 million in $5 bills weighs 2,000 lbs and that they might need some muscle.  Several boys from the orphanage join the crew. There are two other low life adult members of the crew. Captain Ramius, Vasilisa father, is trustworthy. His two crew members are not. The boat sets sail for the island with nothing amiss, until Taras overhears the crew’s plans for mutiny. Taras tells the captain about the rebellious crew.

Ivankov hires a boat and crews it with his criminal gang who have been hanging around watching Vasilisa.  It seems that they have narrowed to search for the GPS down to Vasilisa and Taras.

Approaching the island, Ivankov reasons this is the island… it is a huge island and he doesn’t know exactly where the  freight container is but he begins to shot at Vasilisa, her father and Taras.

Captain Ramius devises a plan.. He stops the boat and Taras uses it as a screen to escape to the island. The way point is on the other end of the island. Taras is to walk (or run) to the other end of the island and Vasilisa and the Captain will    pick him up there.  It works Ivankov leaves his boat, telling everyone that the crate is only a few hundred yards inland.

Frightened of the men, Taras runs to the way point. But he is quicky overtaken. From a hiding place, he witnesses Ivankov’s murder one of his own crew who refuses to join the plan to kill everyone and take the money. Taras flees deeper into the heart of the island, where he encounters a half-crazed man named Ben Agripin. Ben had been outside fishing near Primorsk and had seen something fall from the plane.

Meanwhile, Ramius, Vasilisa and his two men have gone ashore and taken shelter on the North end of the Island. Taras returns to the shelter, bringing Ben with him. Ivankov visits and attempts a negotiation with the captain, but the captain is wary and refuses to speak to him. The criminals attack the stockade the next day, and the captain is wounded. Eager to take action, Taras follows another whim and deserts his mates, sneaking off to hunt for Ben’s tiny boat hidden on the beach.

After finding Ben’s boat, Taras sails out to Ivankov anchored boat with the intention of setting it adrift, thereby depriving the criminals of a means of escape. He can’t get the anchor up without alerting thr criminals still on board.  But he discovers that one of the watchmen, Grigoriy, has killed the other watchman in a drunken fit. Taras takes control of the boat, but Grigoriy turns against him. Taras is wounded but kills Grigoriy. Taras burns Ivankov’s boat leaving him stranded on the island.

Taras returns to the shelter but finds it occupied by the criminals. Ivankov takes Taras hostage, telling the boy that the captain has given the criminals the GPS, provisions, and the use of the shelter in exchange for their lives. Taras realizes, however, that Ivankov is having trouble managing his men, who accuse him of treachery. Ivankov proposes to Taras that they help each other survive by pretending Taras is a hostage. However, the men present Ivankov with an ultimatum the money or his life.

In a desperate attempt to gain control of his gang, Ivankov shows them the GPS to appease them. Ivankov leads Taras and the men to the site, but they are shocked to find it half deep in swamp from the impact, already excavated and the cash removed. The men are angered and near mutiny again. At that moment the Captain, Vasilisa, Ben Agripin, and the others fire on the criminal band, which scatters throughout the island. Taras is guided back to low spot a swampy lake where Ben has submerged the cash, which he had discovered before.

After spending three days carrying the loot to the boat, the new millionaires prepare to return for home. There is a debate about the fate of the remaining mutineers. Despite the criminal’s pleas, they are left marooned on the island, until authorities can be told. Ivankov was going to be allowed to return home on the condition that he not harass them or seek revenge, but he refuses grabs a bundle of cash and tries to swim (probably suicide). The voyage home comes to a close.

Eventually, Captain Ramius retires from fishing, and Ben becomes a politician. Taras returns to the orphanage with about 50 gallons of paint. The director asks, how much the paint cost. Taras responds, “About 5 dollars per litter.”



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