Young, eccentric Ukrainian artist Fedor Alexandrovich was just four years old when the Chernobyl disaster struck, but the event had a profound effect on him. In seeking to learn more about what happened at the nuclear plant, Fedor becomes fascinated with the Duga—a massive, Soviet-constructed radio antenna near the Chernobyl site that remains shrouded in mystery.
Fedor discovers the Duga was one of the USSR’s secret Cold War weapons built to penetrate Western communications systems and, possibly, minds. He arrives at a terrifying conclusion that not only explains the radio antenna’s role in the disaster but also lays bare the cruelty inflicted on Ukraine by its Russian neighbors. Fedor must decide if he will protect his family and himself, or tell the world what he believes. In the package of a paranoid thriller, The Russian Woodpecker takes us to the frontlines of the Revolution, and gives us the history and context for the war between Russia and the Ukraine, a battle that will have ramifications for the whole world. 80 min. Russian with English subtitles.
A complex documentary about Chernobyl that is surprisingly, richly enjoyable. –Variety
Rightly singled out by many as one of the more arresting and formally inventive documentaries at Sundance this year… The Russian Woodpecker offers a wild ride through Ukrainian and Soviet history, from the famines of the early 30s through Chernobyl and up to the present-day war with Russia. –The Hollywood Reporter
Gracia’s peculiar documentary grafts together two apparently unrelated themes to spectacular effect… it’s a rollicking ride of masterly narrative construction unlike any other documentary in Sundance. –The Guardian
The brilliance of “The Russian Woodpecker,” an endlessly fascinating and sharply bizarre documentary, is that it starts out as a nutty conspiracy theory before morphing into something far more relevant and barbed… mysterious, intense and altogether prophetic… –IndieWire
FESTIVALS: Sundance Film Festivals (Grand Jury Prize Winner), Montclair Film Festival (Grand Jury Prize Winner), BAM Cinema Fest, Sydney Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest (Competition), Biografilm Festival (Best Debut), St. Paul Intl. Film Festival (Winner), and Greenwich Film Festival (Grand Jury Prize Winner).
CHAD GRACIA (Director & Producer & Editor) is a new documentary filmmaker who was formerly involved in theater and finance.
RAM DEVINENI (Producer) produced The Russian Woodpecker, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. His most recent film, The Karma Killings, about the Nithari serial killings is out exclusively on Netflix worldwide and hailed as an “Indian’s true crime watershed moment.” He is the creator of the interactive social-activist comic books, Priya’s Shakti and Priya’s Mirror, which received the Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund from the Ford Foundation and supported by the World Bank, and honored by UN Women as a “gender equality champion.”
Oscar-Nominated MIKE LERNER (Producer) has been making films since 1988 including AFGHAN STAR, HELL AND BACK AGAIN, PUSSY RIOT: A PUNK PRAYER, SMASH & GRAB – THE STORY OF THE PINK PANTHERS, THE SQUARE, THE DO GOODERS, A WHOLE LOTT MORE. He has won a number of industry awards including; Academy Award Nomination for Best Documentary Feature 2012, six Sundance Awards (Grand Jury, Special Jury, Best Director, Audience, Cinematography), EMMY Nomination for Best Documentary, 2 Grierson Awards for Best Documentary, The Alfred Dupont Award, and others.
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