On September 29, 2016, the most courageous director of Ukrainian cinema Oles Yanchuk celebrates his 60th anniversary. After all, he first showed on the big screen the terrible truth of our history.
His "Holod-33" film was created long before the victims of the Holodomor were honored in Ukraine at the state level. And the films "Iron hundred", "Unbreakable" and "Attendant. Autumn Murder in Munich "told about the tragic fate of the UPA fighters and the struggle of patriots for our state, which appeared between two aggressors - Hitler's Germany and the Stalinist USSR.
Olesya Yanchuk's films were silent, they did not go into a wide rent, did not go out on TV screens. Because historical truth was not revered by the then leadership. However, the paintings still found the way to their audience, and the show "Vladyka Andrey" became a real event in Ukrainian culture. Today Oles Spiridonovich directs the main studio of the country and will be filming his new film "The Secret Diary of Simon Petliura". Oles Yanchuk told in an interview with Ukrinform about what the Dovzhenko film studio lives today and how to revive her work at the state level.
Goskino financed the filming of your new film "The Secret Diary of Simon Petliura". What exactly is this picture?
The events of the film are devoted to a brief period when a people's republic was proclaimed in Ukraine. It is no coincidence that the name "Secret Diary ..." arose. It is thanks to him that the design of the script is constructed so that we can move in different historical periods. And the film begins with the Parisian emigration of Petliura, which lasted from 1924 to May 1926, when in May Samuel Schwartzbard, an emigrant from Russia, shot him. We have not conducted casting for performers of the main roles, but I assure - these will be exclusively Ukrainian artists.
Was this a diary in fact, is it an artistic move?
We invented it for the appropriate construction of the script. But he could well be, because Petliura wrote well, so he could really lead him.
Where will the movie take place?
Preferably in Ukraine, although several shooting days are planned in Paris.
The film is historic, so you have the opportunity to take advantage of the details of the studio?
So, in our funds more than 100 thousand pieces of clothing are stored, so everything we can use will be used, but some will need to be sewn, especially for the main characters.
As a director, you constantly highlight in your paintings "white spots" of national history. How do you find these topics, since many of these events were known only to historians, and not to the general public?
My mother is a history teacher. Therefore, from childhood I was interested in the events of antiquity, about which she told me. So it was genetically built. And then I used this knowledge in the cinema. After all, everyone wants to know their past and get acquainted with the people who created the story. Secondly, we have been in a particular mode of existence for almost half a century. In fact, they lived beyond the veil of the civilized world, and reap the consequences of this today. The Soviet occupation of Ukraine spoiled all those processes that took place in our country. And yet - the communists hid from us the pages of Ukrainian truth history. Much was not just classified, but even presented in a completely different light than it actually did. From the same Simon Petliura, about whom we will shoot the film, made and pogromnik, and the enemy of the people, and the perpetrator. Although this absolutely does not correspond to reality. Therefore, during the preparation for filming, many archival materials were studied. And not only Ukrainian. The script was written on the basis of real facts, which with great difficulty managed to find. And we wanted to bring historical events in a vivid intriguing form to interest the viewer. After all, the material that we found it allows.
And what did the work on the script usually begin?
I myself have never scripted myself, only in a company with professionals in this business. The first violin - this is my colleague Mikhail Shayevich - a screenwriter who perfectly owns the laws of drama. And since the best scenarios suggest life, then everything came together. Because historical cinema is a reflection of real events that need to be creatively understood. And take into account the moment of the artistic truth - when we understand: in certain circumstances, situations that we invented for the sake of a good story could indeed have happened. Over the script "The Secret Diary of Simon Petliura," we worked 6 years. But this made him just the best. Because time passed, we again turned to him, and again something was supplemented or cleaned. It's like wine that should endure. Long sought for a dramatic move to interest the viewer. After all, anyone in general about Petliura knows nothing, and we must immediately drag the spectator into that era, in the background of events and make them a full participant.
How are you guided by the choice of movie heroes, because in all your paintings the characters seem to be doomed to suffering and death fate?
When we did the picture "Unbreakable" about the fate of UPA commander Roman Shukhevych, they knew perfectly well that there was a tragic finale. For really the hero was killed, having accepted his last battle in Belogorsh. And the fighters of the "Iron Hundred" are also soldiers of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army headed by Mikhail Duda, who committed a heroic raid to the West in Bavaria, controlled by the American military administration. So historically the circumstances, and it was important for us to tell about it in the picture.
My history teacher said that the history of Ukraine is a history of tears. Is it possible to remove a comedy film from our own time, did not such a period exist at all?
Probably this should be a movie about our present ... Although the film will still be dramatic.
The press was spreading information, as if you were given 130 million UAH. For the reconstruction of the Dovzhenko National Film Studio. Have you mastered them?
No, we did not even get them, although they submitted a plan to reorganize the studio. According to a decree signed by President Leonid Kuchma in 1994, the national film studio should be supported by the state. We have huge treasures! In addition to costumes, there are old cars, which are 50-70 years old, and they are all on the go. Recently, a British film group shot the historic film "Kill Stalin" in Ukraine. So they rented our retro cars and were very happy that they did not need to bring this technology from another country. We also have more than 1000 units of various weapons. These achievements can not simply lie on the floor, but should be kept appropriately. Also, from time to time, exhibits need to be prevented. Film studio takes care of pavilions, where the legendary films were filmed. These are specific premises that need to be repaired and maintained. But now the studio does not receive any financial support from the state. And I am very surprised. We are told that you need to make money by submitting projects to pitchesgg in Derzhkino. Just submit more projects and everything will be fine! But why the National Opera or the Ivan Franko National Theater do not compete with plays or performances? Can you imagine that? How much would theaters remain in Ukraine? But the theater is only one building with a stage, a hall and a dressing room. And the studio is an entire farm for 17 hectares. So how can it be thrown on the roadside and say that it must survive through contests? For the National studio there should be a separate line in the budget if we really want to save it.
On pitching, do you have preferences for commercial movie studios?
None! A year ago, we were told and said: no studios will have any advantages. And this surprised me a lot. After all, there may be a private studio of painting, but there are state museums, where national heritage is preserved. It may be a private security firm, but there is a national police force. Feel the difference? But the movie is beyond these laws. We have the potential to create films, but orders are handed over to small private studios. I also had my own studio, and I know how it works. In one hand, you have a project, in the other one - the budget. I only had to find money for my movie, and everything else to rent or buy. And after the film is ready, I had to pay all to pay, and again get complete independence. And only to do the promotion of his painting at various festivals and presentations. And the - movie studio is a huge economy with office space, pavilions and warehouses, where equipment and props are kept. We also have an archive. These are all very soft things that need to be protected. And all this belongs to the state. At our studio on January 15, 2015, the Cabinet was on leave at the initiative of Vice Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kyrylenko. As many as five ministries arrived: culture, education, finance ... Everyone said that there is a complicated situation in Ukraine, and we need to look for alternative financing. We then proposed to implement our plan for the modernization of the film studio. Then they promised us 130 million hryvnias at the rate of 1:16 dollars, which then amounted to $ 8.125 million. Not so much money for the state. We also asked to make a temporary tax holidays for the film studio: that everyone who filmed the films here should also be exempted from taxes. According to this scheme, our entrepreneurs - pay a fixed tax to the budget. After all, for the cinema, too, it would be possible to establish such privileges - at least for the first few years. And then they would have Ukrainian cinema products in a completely different number. Agree that for the state it is much more valuable than just taxes to the treasury.
Who put you in such conditions?
We are subject to the Ministry of Culture, where money for film production is distributed by the State Agency for Cinema. So, it turns out that we turn to them, like all other private studios. When I was an independent producer and searched for funds for films, I only once asked for funding from the Ministry of Culture when I created a picture of "Bishop Andrey" because he could not collect the whole amount. I was very grateful for the support. The painting had a wonderful fate. I saw the reaction on her people not only in Ukraine but also abroad, where she was shown at various film festivals - in Spain, Poland, USA, Canada, Russia, Australia. Everywhere the audience was moved. I was glad that this movie has hit so many people around the world. For all my other films, I found non-state funding.
After the ban in the Ukrainian rental of Russian cinema in the film studio appeared orders for serials and paintings for television?
No, moreover - a few years ago the studio wanted to artificially bring bankruptcy. Imagine: everything that the studio submitted to scenario contests, Gorkin rejected.
Is it under the chairmanship of Kateryna Kopylova?
Yes. We were told that all scenarios are completely uninteresting. Although, believe that they were selected by a professional commission - our art expert board, which includes Roman Balayan, Victor Gres, other well-known artists.
You have machines from the "1 + 1" channel near the central pavilion. Are they filming their serials here?
No, just different shows. And we're glad they come for services. This is at least some kind of financial support for the studio. But before this original cinema was raided - 12 feature films and 18-20 television films were shot each year. Then there was no free space - all the pavilions were painted for hours. But in 25 years of independent Ukraine, the situation has changed for the worse, because the state did not have a proper attitude to the national cinema: there was not enough understanding that cinema is a great force that psychologically and ideologically influences people. If we had films in proper quantity, then the history of the present would be quite different. After all, Ukrainian history could be shown in a large number of patriotic serials. And this is very important, because our most important audience is sitting in front of the TV. After all, now people do not go to the cinema as massively as ever. Because tickets are not cheap, and cinemas a bit - just over 400 all over Ukraine. Therefore, "The Secret Diary of Simon Petliura" we are going to do both as a movie for rent, and as a series. Let people know their heroes. There should be much more Ukrainian cinema, and this issue needs to be put at the highest level.
What, besides the lack of money, prevents the Ukrainian cinema from reaching its feet?
It's easier to say that it does not interfere…
And can not use the experience of the same "Mosfilm", because we now literally defend themselves against the onslaught of their numerous films. How did you manage to raise the studio?
Yes, their studio was also in a very poor position. However, the government of Russia has given the modernization of the film factory $ 154 million. Not for the creation of films, namely for modernization! And this is a new hardware, corresponding technology, in short, the entire technical base. And now "Mosfilm" already receives money from the budget because it has something to earn. And the Dovzhenko film studio is simply forgotten by the state. I have spent two years here excursions to high officials. Everyone says that the studio needs to be supported, but the next thing is not going. The historic Cabinet, which came to us, listened to everyone, but did not do the next step. Even the working group was not created.
Perhaps you are forced to sell a studio in the city center and move somewhere in the area?
This has been suggested to us more than once. They say, that's kind of a land here. But I replied that the land on the territory of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra is even more expensive ... What is the position of this - will we all break out and move somewhere? We have a unique history here, a place consecrated by the most famous artists, an apple orchard of Dovzhenko. What extraordinary power there is here! You will not buy such a thing and you will not build it again, because it takes time, years of creativity, search, artistic suffering. What films were created here! Insolent place is not for sale. We already have an example of how near the studio built elite housing at the place of the "Photon" factory. It was destroyed by bulldozers, all flattened and built a multi-story building. They want to do the same with us so that the Dovzhenko Garden, like Chekhov, goes under the knife. They would say: the studio is old, the houses of 1928 are not subject to repair, in emergency condition. Were written defective acts, all quickly crumbled and made a new build.
What do you expect from the new Cabinet under the leadership of Volodymyr Groisman?
I wanted the ministers to come again to us. They would have seen all of this, taken emotionally, and the decision would be very quick. I am sure of this, because I believe in our young government. There is also a new generation working with European thinking and the latest concepts. And yet we love cinema! So why do not we want to have our own movie production, like Poland, Czech Republic, France, Italy and Great Britain? All European countries have their own strong cinema. But Bangladesh or Uganda do not have. So we are not the third world country! When this studio was built, it was called the Kyiv Film Factory. So now it is necessary to modernize it so that it has a full complex of production - to provide services for the output of the finished film product. And there must be filming as many artists as possible - independent producers and young directors. We also have a great recording studio, even the Americans were content with quality. But this should work constantly, not from time to time.
Now there are young directors at the film studio?
And where will they come? From here we submitted 14 projects for financing Derzhkino, selected scenarios, and the commission Derzhkino has the same composition as before. Its members have been working for more than one year, and they do not support us. Moreover, I do not understand why the selection at the first stage of the vote is secret. It is about the money of taxpayers who are going to film production. This should be a completely transparent vote. And then we will see who votes for what.
Liliana Fesenko, Lyudmila Ukrainka, spoke, «Ukrinform»