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“Angels Who Went Through Hell”: Film Set Amid the Horrors of Bucha

When face to face with a genocidal enemy, ordinary Ukrainians have demonstrated extraordinary bravery. Volunteers risking their own lives have saved thousands of people. Region of Heroes, a film writt

When face to face with a genocidal enemy, ordinary Ukrainians have demonstrated extraordinary bravery. Volunteers risking their own lives have saved thousands of people.

Region of Heroes, a film written and produced by Alex Komarovsky, is dedicated to the valor of Ukrainian civilians. The project is the first large-scale film reconstruction of true stories about ordinary Ukrainians’ heroism. It will premiere on Nov. 24.

It depicts events that took place in the very hell of the enemy occupation – in Bucha, Irpin, Hostomel, Vorzel, and throughout the entire Kyiv region – when for more than a month the Russians raped and pillaged the suburbs of a modern 21st-century European city.

No professional actors participated in the project. All the main characters were played by real volunteers and actual military personnel.

To select the stories presented in the film, more than 100 requests were processed with the help of the military administration, journalists and screenwriters.

“It was very hard to choose the stories. There are still many stories we would like to tell. For example, we really wanted to shoot about one man, a sapper. But, unfortunately, he is currently being treated in Germany and could not return to Ukraine,” Komarovsky told Kyiv Post.

The film is directed by Arthur Lerman, and the main media partner is ICTV. It is produced by IdeaFilms in partnership with the Kyiv regional military administration and with the assistance of the Ukrainian State Film Agency. The Kyiv military administration facilitated filming in the Kyiv region and maintained security.

“I can’t say anything about the film’s budget, because it continues to grow. Since the film has not yet been released, the marketing and implementation processes of the PR company continue… But this is not done for the sake of money. The main thing is that we want to use all the funds raised to purchase heaters for orphanages. After all, this winter is expected to be harsh and cold,” Komarovsky said.

The idea to make a film dedicated to volunteers originated in mid-May. Subsequently, in an unprecedented period of little more than three months, they managed to complete a full-length film. The team worked every day from 5:30 a.m. until the curfew.

“I understood that it could end at any moment because of the war. Constant alarms, threats of an offensive. One time a rocket flew near our set. All this could interfere with the artistic process. That’s the difference between feature films and documentaries. A documentary is filmed in real time, which does not require a large budget. And filming a movie reconstruction is a big budget and a real financial risk,” Komarovsky added.

Visitors from Hollywood also came to participate, such as director and cinematographer Sean Price Williams.

Now the priority is to hold a screening of the film in Ukraine, despite all the obstacles in the form of constant air raid alarms and power outages. The film will be broadcast at cinemas in more than 40 cities throughout Ukraine.

“We came up with the idea ‘buy a ticket – warm a child,’ because I believe that Ukrainian cinema should warm not only the soul,” Komarovsky said.

The film was presented abroad for the first time at the Warsaw International Festival as part of a special screening. Komarovsky is actively looking for international partners interested in broadcasting the film on TV. The team has already prepared a version of the film with English subtitles.

“I hope we will be able to ensure that the film is shown abroad, so it can be seen not only by the Ukrainian diaspora, but also by all interested foreigners. Because the main message of the film is the slogan ‘angels who went through hell,’” Komarovsky said.

Prior to Region of Heroes, Alex Komarovsky worked mainly in the comedy genre. In his opinion, Ukrainians and comedy are inseparable. No matter how terrible the war is, Ukrainians retain their sense of humor; this is a feature that is known all over the world. And not only a sense of humor, but also satire and irony, which everyone can see at the highest political level.

Komarovsky is also excited about exploring other genres: “Another idea that we developed with Arthur Lerman is a movie in the classic Hollywood action genre, like a wartime spy film. Events will also take place in Ukraine. However, such plans can only be implemented with the support of Western partners. But we’ve proved that you can shoot in Ukraine even in wartime.”



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