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"We will have not a day, but a month of Victory!" The celebrity couple Synelnykovs talk about life after the occupation, the secrets of a strong marriage, and how Ukraine sounds during the war

Evgeny and Natalia Sinelnikov

Famous Ukrainian director, co-author, and host of the travel show "Heads and Tails" Yevhen Synelnykov, together with his wife Natalia Synelnykova, a producer at BADOEVTEAM, created a joint project "How the World Sounds... Ukraine", which allows you to discover our incredible country in a special way. In an exclusive interview with OBOZ.UA, the celebrity couple frankly shared how they managed to erase their memories of the occupation in the first weeks of the full-scale invasion, and revealed the secrets of successfully combining work and family life.

In addition, the Synelnykovs described the conditions in which filming takes place in cities close to the hostilities and the criteria for recruiting team members for their projects.

– Your family suffered greatly from the Russian occupiers in the first weeks of the full-scale invasion. Have you managed to get rid of the horrible memories at least a little?

Yevhen: Returning to Bucha after the occupation was difficult. The half-destroyed house, spoiled belongings, traces of dirt, and abuse on the pillows – all this reminded us of the terrible events. But we didn't give up: we washed and cleaned everything, replaced the windows, repaired the roof, and made the house look cozy again. And then we celebrated our wedding. Now our house is filled not only with memories of the war but also with the warmth of love and hope for a happy future.

Natalia: Of course, the memories of the war and occupation cannot be erased, they can only be put to sleep, drowned out for a while. The more each person, the more we, Ukrainians, find happiness in our families, relatives, everyday life, and trinkets, and make our loved ones happy, the easier it will be to survive this terrible time. We do not forget about what is happening now. The war continues, and we remember it every day. Every day a Ukrainian wakes up with one thought in mind – to hear the news of victory. Undoubtedly, the best moment and the very right decision for Yevhen and me was our wedding. We didn't want a big celebration, but it so happened that we decided to play it with our children in the house with which we have many memories. We were very happy that day, and so were our friends, parents, and relatives. And yes, life goes on, we will win.

''We will have not a day, but a month of Victory!'' The celebrity couple Synelnykovs talk about life after the occupation, the secrets of a strong marriage, and how Ukraine sounds during the war

– How did life change after the full-scale invasion? Did the Great War affect your work?

Natalia: The main change is probably the creative orientation becoming more social. For example, we used to work to make a cool product and emphasize in a certain way that it was stylish, modern, and fashionable. Now, deep inside, we are laying more of a social foundation to inspire Ukrainians and show examples of people who are now small heroes who are doing a lot for others in these difficult times. So now we are not just doing a fun project for ourselves. Now it has become about being proud and finding the very social seed that should grow inside Ukrainians. We, as creative people, want to show what the strength, dignity, and struggle of our people are.

– Now you are working together on the project "How the World Sounds... Ukraine". Who came up with the idea?

Yevhen: Even in her childhood, Natalia used to pay attention to birds singing, footsteps walking, or the sound of train wheels. Back then, she immersed herself in the world of sounds and emphasized their special influence on the world's perception. When she shared the idea of making a project based on various sounds, I immediately realized that it would be interesting and a unique format.

Natalia: Watching Yevhen's travels, I discovered that for many tourists, the main goal is to visit beautiful places and eat delicious food. This is the main aspect of traveling. However, I have always paid attention not only to visual and gustatory experiences but also to the sounds that create the atmosphere of a place. I wanted to close my eyes and just listen to the city. I shared this with Zhenia. He took my idea and turned it into a format. I helped to present it: I found people, developed the concept, and prepared a presentation and a script. When I showed it to Zhenia, he said: "It's interesting, but let's go ahead...". And it was he who invented the studio – it was his idea. That's how the process of creating the format began.

''We will have not a day, but a month of Victory!'' The celebrity couple Synelnykovs talk about life after the occupation, the secrets of a strong marriage, and how Ukraine sounds during the war

– What was the criterion for recruiting the team "How the World Sounds... Ukraine"?

Natalia: It's very simple: synergy and the feeling that this is your family, even if it's a film crew, but a family. Because when you launch a project, the people involved in it should become one kind of family. In general, professionalism and creativity are also important to me.

Yevhen: As a director, it was very important for me to form a team that would not only shoot a picture but also see the world in a slightly different way, out of the box. For example, on one of the shoots, after we had already shot everything we had planned, I noticed that the director of photography and the second camera operators kept looking for interesting angles. They were not deterred by the fact that the shooting was over. I needed people like that.

Natalia: For me, the choice of a composer and a host was no less important. I already had the most wonderful and talented director. Yevhen Filatov was invited to play the role of composer and host. When we met with him and told him about our idea, it became clear from the very first days of working on the project: this is a real synergy! Something new and powerful is born when a team that is obsessed with one idea gathers when there is a real love for work.

''We will have not a day, but a month of Victory!'' The celebrity couple Synelnykovs talk about life after the occupation, the secrets of a strong marriage, and how Ukraine sounds during the war

– How does the filming process go in the cities that are as close as possible to the fighting?

Natalia: The first season of "The World Sounds Like... Ukraine" covered only Odesa among the more dangerous regions. In the second season, we explored the east and south of the country. Zaporizhzhia was particularly memorable. After the first day of filming, the whole team had a unanimous desire to explore these regions of Ukraine even deeper. People were so sincerely happy to see us at every location! We came to show the heroes of Ukraine who stayed in their cities, fought, and did everything possible to win – it was very important for the locals to be talked about. In Mykolaiv, volunteers are delivering water, and an orchestra is performing on the streets despite the constant threat. We wanted to convey to the world that the Ukrainian people live, create, and fight, despite the sirens, and lack of water and electricity.

Yevhen: This is our duty because history is being made now. We don't just make music of these cities, we record everything. Our cities sound too incredible and authentic to be proud of them. In war, everything becomes more contrasting, black becomes even more black, and white becomes even more white. People who do good, who believe in their city, and who continue to create even in such difficult times are very inspiring. Their stories give us strength and motivation to tell the world about them. How they sound during the war. Of course, after the victory, the melody of Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, and Mykolaiv will be completely different. Their rhythm will be joyful, full of hope and faith in a brighter future. And then it will be possible to create another track that will tell about this victory.

''We will have not a day, but a month of Victory!'' The celebrity couple Synelnykovs talk about life after the occupation, the secrets of a strong marriage, and how Ukraine sounds during the war

– With such a difficult job, how do you manage to keep your family together and love each other as you did at the beginning of your relationship?

Yevhen: In my opinion, it's very simple – you have to be able to separate work and love. When we are at work, we may even fight. But when we come back from a shooting day, quarrels remain between the producer and the director, and husband and wife are the main thing. The main thing is to fall asleep together, wake up together, smile and, of course, make love.

– How do you manage family affairs and children? Are they also creative?

Natalia: Oh yes, they are as creative as we are. They have long been shooting and editing videos, playing musical instruments, and inventing their worlds. When parents are "boiling" in this market, in this world, it is very difficult for children not to be creative.

''We will have not a day, but a month of Victory!'' The celebrity couple Synelnykovs talk about life after the occupation, the secrets of a strong marriage, and how Ukraine sounds during the war

– Yevhen, when did you switch to the Ukrainian language and come up with the idea of creating Ukrainian-language content on YouTube?

– We had the idea to create Ukrainian-language content on YouTube a long time ago, even before the war started. Not only in Ukraine but abroad, we felt that we knew Paris better than our neighboring Chernihiv region. The last time I was there was ten years ago, and I wanted to inspire people to travel not only to distant exotic places because many cool places are located right next door.

At that time, there was very little Ukrainian-language content on YouTube. We wanted to fill this segment with high-quality, interesting, entertaining, and informative content. Now, fortunately, there are many cool Ukrainian channels on various topics.

''We will have not a day, but a month of Victory!'' The celebrity couple Synelnykovs talk about life after the occupation, the secrets of a strong marriage, and how Ukraine sounds during the war

– What are your creative plans and what other projects do you dream of implementing?

Yevhen: Right now, I don't want to tell you what's coming up. Our creative people have projects, ideas, and desires, but the reality of our time forces us to face the fact that, unfortunately, there is no funding. And everyone, I think my colleagues will understand that we are looking for ways to realize our creative ideas.

But we are not giving up. We will continue to create, and until we win, we will use all our ideas and plans to let the world see and hear what is happening on our land, and what is being done to our people. Each of our projects will be uniquely linked to these meanings. On my behalf, I will say that we are preparing a project about cinema, music, and the sounds of the world for a large audience. I'm not telling you everything because it's a secret.

''We will have not a day, but a month of Victory!'' The celebrity couple Synelnykovs talk about life after the occupation, the secrets of a strong marriage, and how Ukraine sounds during the war

– How do you imagine Victory Day?

Yevhen: This day will be a huge holiday for the whole of Ukraine, for me, for my loved ones, for absolutely everyone, and I hope it will be sunny. Although to be honest, Victory Day will not be a single day. It will not be a one-day celebration when the president says: "That's it, we won!". It will be at least a month of victory.

Natalia: And on this day there will be tears, pride, and sadness. I think it will be a synergy of victory for the whole of Ukraine and the world. But for this, for our victory, we must not give up, not give up, and sincerely believe. Now everyone is rather depressed. They say that two years have passed and we have not won back everything. But remember how it all started and believe that we are much stronger now than we were then. The victory is ours, the Ukrainians'. We do not give up, we continue to fight. Glory to Ukraine!

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