Discover the Secrets of Ukraine’s Famous FILM.UA Studios

Culture, Ukraine

FILM.UA studio is a huge complex of 30,000 square meters in the heart of Kyiv. With a movie theatre, 7 stages, and thousands of props it is by far one of the largest movie production studios in Eastern Europe.

The Stronghold, is the first fantasy movie produced in Ukraine. It will hit the big screen next October. The CEO of the Distribution Department of FILM.UA shared some of the details of the plot…

“This is the first Ukrainian fantasy, a story of an ordinary school boy, a time traveler, who falls down a time hole and arrives thousand years ago. There are amazing visual effects. This feature will get theatrical release in Ukraine and we have already made more than ten deals worldwide,” says Igor Storchak, CEO of Distribution at FILM.UA.

That kind of project is a long term process. And we got the opportunity to see how the movie is being made, right here in Ukraine. Walking through those corridors is truly inspiring. Revelers are able to see every step of the movie making process from the first scene sketches to the final product on screen.

Modern cinema has begun to rely on 3D animation for beautiful cartoons and in order to recreate movie scenes before actually filming them. Over the past few years, animation has become an integral part of the movie process. Directors are able to harness this tool to portray particularly tricky parts of a movie plot. Nowadays, many scenes of a movie are animated. This process is called “Animatix”, and it allows the shooting to go faster.

“This is a long process when we have a lot of creative groups, producers, script doctors, directors, art directors and all of these people work on an interesting story,” says Maria Klauning, Project Manager at Animagrad.

Ukraine’s visual effect industry is an award-winning industry. International media companies see Ukraine as a rich source of talent.

“Ukrainian VFX producers and artists are very popular, very talented and highly professional. I must say that recently we have been to the Cannes Film Festival and spoken to our colleagues from the United States and they said that huge number of VFX comes from Eastern Europe and in particular from Ukraine,” explains Igor Storchak.

The complex offers all kind of facilities to shoot movies. They are 7 of them now and another is in the process of being made. And what would cinema be without cool cars? Here we found dozens of cars including a selection of vintage models. They are carefully maintained to take part in TV series, and historic drama films. Likewise, the costumes are an essential detail of every movie. And this is why the FILM.UA props room is a treasure trove of clothes and accessories representing different eras. Each costume has been made to tailor a specific scene in a movie. The studio has a stylist and sewing professionals on hand to help with the process.

Creating life-like movie scenes is a tough job. One of the most difficult tasks is recreating authentic lifestyles of people from hundreds of years ago. We were allowed onto a set made to accommodate hundreds of actors in order to portray life in Ukraine during the Middle Ages. This is where the ‘Stronghold’ final battle has been shot. The film offers a glimpse into Ukrainian history.

“We are one nation. We are Ukrainians. We are proud of this. We have huge and interesting history and we will definitely work on some topics to show Ukrainians and the world audience what we can do,” says  Storchak.

FILM.UA has been credited for creating Ukrainian animated films which have been acclaimed worldwide. This includes “Mavka – Song of the Forest” and “The Stolen Princess”. Now, the Ukrainian film industry is gearing up to face new challenges ahead.

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