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AMATEUR

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

documentary project


1989. The Crystal palace of culture is opening in an industrial town in Lviv Oblast. Here, a young Amateur (Volodymyr Zaikovskyy) sets up a film laboratory. He shoots an avant-garde film with a 16mm amateur camera and screens it in film clubs, out of the Party’s sight.


Behind the wall of the laboratory is a music studio. The Amateur goes there in search of remarkable faces and gets acquainted with an emerging band, Skryabin, and Andriy Kuzma. This acquaintance results in the very first music video in the history of Ukraine shot in the summer of 1989. This decadent black-and-white video for “Do You Feel the Pain” (“Чуєш біль”) reminds us of Jim Jarmusch’s early films. No one is familiar with either Jarmusch or the word “clip” yet. But the underground scene of Lviv is ecstatic, and everyone wishes for such a “music film”.


In September, the Lviv music and art community goes to Chernivtsi for the first youth festival called Chervona Ruta. Even though the militia detains young people with Ukrainian symbols en masse, it is here that the National Anthem of Ukraine is played publicly for the first time in history. Sestrychka Vika, a young punk singer from Lviv, wins in the rock category. Her producer and husband asks the Amateur to shoot a music video for “Tyndy-Ryndy” (“Тинди-ринди”). Impressed by Vika’s outrageousness and bravery, the Amateur dares to shoot the most epic music clip of the black-and-white / 16mm film era.


Meanwhile, in Kyiv, students begin a hunger strike demanding that the head of the Government resigns. Pro-Ukrainian rallies and protests continue in major cities. Vika shaves her head to show solidarity with the protestors. The diaspora sends new video cameras to their relatives in Ukraine so they would film these pivotal political events. Instead of concerts in basements, the Amateur now captures crowds in city squares. Black-and-white is replaced by color, 16mm – by VHS, and the Soviet Union – by sovereign independent Ukraine.


Underground Ukrainian-language music is becoming mainstream and is heard all over Ukraine — from Donetsk to Uzhhorod. Sestrychka Vika, with the Braty Hadiukiny band, gives several concerts a day. Skryabin performs at the second edition of Chervona Ruta in Chernivtsi. The Amateur gets a job at Lviv TV and makes his own curated music program. The Sword of Damocles of Soviet censorship no longer poses a threat. But the creative spirit of the Amateur awaits a new challenge: the decline of the national economy and local television.

 

PROJECT TEAM

NADIA PARFAN, scriptwriter

2021 – ANEW, 35’, documentary series, five episodes.

2021 – WOMEN WHO PLAY, 31’, documentary short film.

2020 – BRAND MAKERS, 17’, documentary short film.

2019 – HEAT SINGERS, 64’, documentary feature film.

Award for Best Documentary, Ukrainian Film Academy (2020).

Award for Best Documentary, Ukrainian Film Critics Association (2019).

World premiere and nomination at Visions du Reel (2019)

Nominations: Krakow IFF, Odesa IFF, Astra IFF.

2016 – REVE TA STOHNE ON TOUR, 30’, documentary feature film.

Special Mention, DocudaysUA (2016).


ILLIA GLADSTEIN, producer

2014-2018 – co-founder of the 86 International Festival of Film and Urbanism.

From 2014 – founder of an independent distribution company, 86PROKAT.

From 2017 – co-founder and producer of a production company, Phalanstery Films.

From 2019 – co-founder and managing partner of the KINO42 cinema.


Heat Singers (dir. Nadia Parfan) premiered at Visions du Reel in 2019, had successful theatrical distribution and was screened at NHK (Japan). The film was awarded for Best Documentary by the Ukrainian Film Critics Association, KinoKolo (2019), and the Ukrainian Film Academy (2020).


Filmography

Amateur, dir. Nadia Parfan, documentary feature film, in production, 2023.

Anew, dir. Nadia Parfan, documentary series, 2021.

Ukrainsk talks and shows (Говорить та показує Українськ), dir. Piotr Armianovski, documentary series, 2021.

Women Who Play, dir. Nadia Parfan, documentary short film, 2021.

The Long Breakup, dir. Katya Soldak, documentary feature film, US, 2020.

Heat Singers, dir. Nadia Parfan, documentary feature film, 2019.




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