The shooting of the feature film BUCHA is over: what is known about it
On September 13 last year, on the Day of Bucha, screenwriter and film producer Oleksandr Shchur and director Stanislav Tiunov presented a teaser trailer for their film BUCHA. To start the filming process, the team needed six months to finalize agreements on private foreign investment and complete the script, which had been in the works for almost a year. It also took some time to get permission from the relatives of the victims of the tragedy and participants in those events.
The film BUCHA is a feature drama based on real events. The protagonist is a foreigner who decided to fight evil in the country that became his home.
The shooting took place in the Kyiv region in March and April 2023 and took 28 shooting days, and the last shots were filmed in August this year on Mount Hoverla. Post-production is currently underway, and the film will be ready by spring 2024. The film is being produced by LEVEL.
The main roles in the film "BUCHA" are played by the famous Polish theater and film actor Cezary Lukaszewicz and the star of Ukrainian cinema Vyacheslav Dovzhenko.
The team was assisted by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, the National Police of Ukraine, the Kyiv City Council, the Kyiv Regional Military Administration, and the largest Ukrainian film studio, Film.UA Group, which also acts as a co-producer and distributor of the film.
The plot of the film is based on the events that took place in the towns of Bucha, Vorzel and Gostomel during the Russian occupation in February-March 2022. The film will tell the story of the rescue of local residents by Konstantin Gudauskas, a citizen of Kazakhstan who was granted asylum in Ukraine and lived in Bucha. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, thanks to his Kazakh passport, he has been able to travel to the territory occupied by Russian troops and evacuate civilians. Konstantin not only saves people, but also sees the horror of war and occupation with his own eyes.
A team of 80 specialists worked on the film and more than 120 actors starred, including such well-known names as Nikon Fedotov, Alexander Pecherytsya, Sergey Strelnikov, Anastasia Nesterenko, Artemiy Egorov, Sergey Smeyan, Vladimir Zakharenkov and others, as well as 700 actors in mass scenes.
"We have two main goals. The first one is to counter Russian propaganda all over the world," says Oleksandr Shchur, the scriptwriter and producer of the film BUCHA.
- "Cinema is one of the most powerful tools for delivering messages to the world. If someone thinks that everyone in Europe and the United States knows exactly what happened in Ukraine and believes only us, then, unfortunately, they are deeply mistaken. The Russians have already filmed and are showing the propaganda films Azovstal. Liberation" and "Witness" with their version of the events in Mariupol and Bucha. It is likely that the world will see enough of Russian films and accept their narratives. We have to tell the truth!
Our second goal is to honor the memory of the victims. While working on the script, we met with all the characters or relatives of the victims. And the first thing we asked was whether they would mind telling their story for the movie and whether such a movie is needed. And they all answered: "Yes, we want the whole world to know about it."
While working on the script, the film team was advised by Oleksiy Kruglyachenko, a psychiatrist and clinical psychologist with 20 years of clinical experience who completed a PTSD fellowship at the University of Michigan:
"Now we have a state-sized PTSD. One of the signs is the avoidance of traumatic memories. This is treated with medication and psychotherapy. In psychotherapy, one of the proven effective methods is cognitive behavioral therapy. For example, exposure therapy is when a patient is gradually brought closer to the source of stress and trauma. Feature films help to smooth out the corners and gradually bring even victims closer to the very cause of the trauma. That's why a feature film can be psychotherapeutic for those who have experienced all this."
Stanislav Tiunov, director of the film BUCHA: "Air raid alert during filming in the center of Kyiv, 4 hours of hail and lightning on Hoverla, 20 hours of shooting in the rain and much more did not shake any member of our team for a second. Everyone did their best and was charged with the result. I am grateful to everyone, it is a great honor."
Along with the filming, the film has been presented at the world's most influential film venues over the past year - at a special event dedicated to the film at the European Film Market of the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale ) in February this year, as well as in New York and Boston at separate screenings. In early September, the film's working materials were presented at the 80th Anniversary International Film Festival in Venice, La Biennale di Venezia, and the Toronto International Film Festival. The film's producer was invited to give interviews for CBC News radio in 8 different cities.
On October 8, the working materials of the film BUCHA will be shown at a special event called Art Against Propaganda at the University Club in New York. The special guest of the event will be Semyon Dukach, managing director of Techstars, also known as a leading business angel. The evening will be co-organized and hosted by the famous American writer Mitzi Perdue. In addition, the working materials of the film will be presented to the professors at Columbia University in New York.