Young filmmakers produce a film at zero cost in frontline Mariupol


Young local film crew produces a short film on Mariupol with next to no budget. Filmmakers question Soviet and industrial legacy of the frontline city, present their future plans.  

Short film “Stamps” narrating the life of the industrial city of Mariupol was released in Ukraine. It comes as a debut work of young Mariupol film director Sergiy Dorogovtsev. The filmmaker spoke about the film and his plans at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC) in the framework of UCMC’s project “Spokesperson of peaceful life” supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany.


Filming with no budget in frontline Mariupol
According to the author the film is a pilot project, designed in such a way that its production is not time consuming and does not require many resources. The film crew included only four persons. Shooting of the film was completed in three days. Film editing lasted for three months. Film production including equipment rent cost about USD 100.

“Stamps” shows empty squares, streets and parks of Mariupol against the huge Azovstal plant and the plant’s chimneys. “I wanted to show not only Mariupol but the situation in the country in general, that people in their daily routine put ‘stamps’ (or impose the framework of stereotypes) on themselves, or someone ‘from above’ is doing so, so that they do not develop culturally and spiritually,” said Sergiy Dorogovtsev.

“My protagonist is trying to understand where the people are in this empty city and why they are not trying to develop.” He himself is facing the challenge of being “stamped” and put into the framework, the film director adds. Verse of Ukrainian poets Hryhoriy Skovoroda, Ivan Franko, Taras Shevchenko and Vasyl Stus is cited in the film. They contrast with the city’s industrial landscape.

“Mariupol is Ukraine, it was deeply hurt with its Soviet past,” Dorogovtsev continues. “We may get rid of it, but to do so we need to change people’s mentality by educating them and by encouraging them to rediscover their Ukrainian history,” Dorogovtsev added.


Film’s festival life and the crew’s future plans

Sergiy Dorogovtsev noted that the film had already been presented as part of the non-competition program at the Odesa International Film Festival as well as screened and awarded at Ukrainian film festivals in Zaporizhzhia “Love will save the world” (Lyubov vryatuye svit), “From country to Ukraine” (Z krayiny v Ukrayinu) and at Mariupol’s “KiTy” film festival. Next year it is to be presented at Docudays film festival. A short 10-minute version in Ukrainian and English is available on Youtube.

The film crew plans to continue shooting. “We have plans to keep filming – both short and full-length films. We currently have a film at the postproduction stage,” Dorogovtsev noted.