2002 (UCLA)
Writer: Kris Holmes
During the 1940's, the years of famine in Russia, botanist Nikolai Vavilov works to breed a new strain of disease-resistant wheat. He travels the world searching of the essential original strain of wheat, and finally finds it. Vavilov is at the height of his power and influence when he befriends and trains a young peasant, Trofim Lysenko. The psychotically ambitious Lysenko rejects science for politics. Lysenko becomes the golden boy of Stalin and a powerful critic of Vavilov's work. Accusing Vavilov of espionage and sabotage of Soviet science, Lysenko orchestrates Vavilov's arrest and imprisonment. Lieutenant Galina Scherbotskoy, a soviet zealot anxious to advance her own career, tries to torture a confession out of Vavilov for eleven months. But she uncovers secrets and lies that convince her that Vavilov has been framed. Galina concocts a scheme to save him, but Nikolai Vavilov, the scientist who could have saved the world from hunger forever, dies of starvation in a filthy Soviet prison. Only Galina is left to preserve Vavilov's work, if she can outsmart his enemies. Based on a true story.