From stage to the front line: Ukrainian filmmakers honor the memory of Vasyl Slipak

Culture, Stories from the Front, War in the Donbas

Seventeen months of filming, across Lviv and Donbas. And, also in France where the Ukrainian singer endowed with a unique timbre spent 19 years of his life. He had a successful career, friends, a family, but he left it all behind to defend his country. During the Euromaidan Revolution, he organized rallies in France to support it. Then he joined the volunteer movement and ultimately went to fight in eastern Ukraine.

Simple, cheerful, energetic — this is how he’s remembered by his battle brothers. And this is how he will be portrayed in the film about his life.

“Our film turned out to be really diverse because it’s about Vasyl. We’ve all come to terms with his death a long time ago and then he became so familiar and alive for us, because we have worked on the video where he smiles at us for many days,” says Yaroslav Popov, Editor of “Myth”.

Footage was collected from all over the world. More than 30 hours of opera recordings had to be sorted through.

“We’ve announced on the Internet that we need help. We asked [people] to send us some fragments of footage or photos. Everything that is connected to Vasyl Slipak. And we received donations from all over the world. Sometimes it was only a few seconds of footage shot from some kind of camera or a phone,” explains Leonid Kanter , Co-Director of “Myth”.

Aside from the archive video, and interviews with Vasyl’s friends, the documentary includes animated sequences. Co-director Leonid Kanter came up with the idea.

“Animation will emphasize that Vasyl was a big child. I don’t know whether he was aware of what was happening to him and its consequences but his perception was childlike,” says Popov.

It took a lot of effort to make the part of the documentary telling about Vasyl’s military life.

“When Leonid arrived to shoot the movie, all the commanders were suspicious at first. They didn’t believe that he’s shooting a film. They thought he was investigating Slipak’s death,” adds Halyna Klempouz, Military Personnel.

Halyna is among those who persuaded the commanders to help the filmmakers. The footage was shot right on the front line.

The movie is both funny and sad. And a fair share of tragedy. The length of the documentary is about an hour. In Chernihiv, many viewers left the room with tears in their eyes.

The documentary on Vasyl Slipak is called “Myth” after his callsign in the war, in reference to his favourite character Mephistopheles.

The premier screening tour in Ukraine will last until February 8. The authors plan to show the movie abroad.

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