When Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in late February, filmmaker Anton Skrypets's first instinct wanted to find a way to join the fight through his filmmaking.
When the invasion began, he visited the Territorial Defence Forces — the military reserve component of Ukraine's army — in hopes of volunteering, but but was turned away.
"I went there but they said, 'I'm sorry, we already have a lot of people,' he told As It Happens guest host Robyn Bresnahan. "That was actually good, because I feel that my weapon is filmmaking." Soon after, Skrypets began dreaming up a story set in the war that was unfolding all around him.
He imagined a woman, Katya, who volunteered to help reunite a young boy with his family in Bucha — and discovered her own superpowers along the way.
He ultimately found willing partners in The Organization of Ukrainian Producers (OUP) — a group of seven film producers who banded together when the war began — and another production company called AMO Pictures.
"Being the first who shoots a fiction movie in war-torn Ukraine is a challenge," said OUP co-founder Alla Lipovetska in a press release about the film. The team's goal is to release the film this autumn, and Skrypets has a clear idea of who he wants to see it. "My target is civilized audiences" in Europe and North America, he explained.
"The main idea of the project is to scream about what's happening right here, to make people see all of those things," he said. "We're making this movie for people outside of Ukraine."