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THE HUNTERS AND HUNTED

fiction feature film


This story tells about incredible integrity, lust for life, defiance, and at the same time, acceptance, love, and self-irony — in an adaptation of The Hunters and the Hunted, a novel by Ivan Bahrianyi.

Taiga, 1930s. Ukrainian aircraft designer Hryhoriy Mnohohrishnyi, tortured in the NKVD prison, is being sent to Kolyma in the echelon of death. The train carrying Ukrainians to a forced labor camp of Bamlag charges through the impassable taiga without stopping, and no one thinks that one of the exhausted half-corpses will dare to make an insolent escape. Not to mention this fugitive will be Hryhoriy, the prisoner who is guarded most closely, his presence checked at every stop.

Jumping straight into the arms of death, Hryhoriy hopes not so much to survive as to die free. But he regains consciousness in the middle of the impenetrable taiga forest. Meanwhile, Hryhoriy’s chief manhunter and tormentor, Major Medvin, is rushing to Khabarovsk in the express train. Convinced that he has fulfilled his duty towards Hryhoriy, he still thinks back to him. Knowing Hryhoriy’s disposition after years of torture, Medvin is set to expect everything from him.

Gathering the remnants of his will, Hryhoriy engages in a duel with the nature itself, forcing his wounded body to move not so much towards some goal, but away from those who will not stop hunting him until the very end. In this battle of the hunters and the hunted, Hryhoriy gets an unexpected advantage: the taiga itself favors such fortitude, and thus hides him from the ubiquitous Soviet system of torture. Hryhoriy not only escapes but also finds his people, a family of Ukrainian hunters who earn a living by extremely difficult work, catching live tigers. Later, Hryhoriy masters the art of tiger hunting too and adapts to life in the taiga, while the fragile love of two strong characters grows between him and the daughter of the hunters’ family, free-spirited Natalka. However, fate does not back down and presents him with the main challenge: to sacrifice this new life so as to revenge the one who took away his previous one — or to try to save what he already has.

 

PROJECT TEAM

ANNA BURYACHKOVA, scriptwriter

Anna Buryachkova (full name: Buryakova-Kharaishvili) is a Ukrainian director and screenwriter. Her experience amounts to more than 15 years of working as a director and first assistant director in film and video production, together with the largest international and Ukrainian audiovisual studios. Her creative work was recognized by numerous international festivals, including Berlin Fashion Films, Berlin Music Video Awards, and Cannes Lions’ Social Campaign Program. She graduated with honors from Kyiv National I. K. Karpenko-Karyi Theatre, Cinema and Television University in 2017. Anna’s film under the working title When We Were 15 (2023) will be her full-lenght debut.

2019: Music film Clouds for the social initiative #SUPERPARENTS against bullying / awarded 3rd place for Best Narrative of Berlin Music Video Awards / nominee: Le Prince International Film Festival, Gulf of Naples Film Festival, Macon Film Festival, SAFILM San Antonio Film Festival

2018: REKYTE music film / Best Music Video KARABAS LIVE and LI-ROOM


NATALIIA LIBET, producer

Nataliia Libet has experience in the field of co-production, investment, and finance, gained in international companies. Since 2017, she is a film producer and a graduate of the international production school EURODOC2021. Took part in the showrunners training of MIDPOINT Cold Open 2020; organized the Film Editing Laboratory in Ukraine in 2019–2021; acts as the deputy head of the Film Industry Association of Ukraine in 2020–2022; received the Edmund Muskie/Freedom Support Act Graduate Fellowship Award in 2000. She is a member of the Ukrainian and European film academies. Selected filmography: feature film by Kateryna Hornostai Stop-Zemlia (2021), Crystal Bear in Berlinale’s Generation 14+; feature film by Mantas Kvedaravičius Parthenon (2019), Lithuania-Ukraine-France, in the competition of the 34th Venice FF Critics' Week; Dekel Branson's short film Anna (2019), Ukraine-Israel-Great Britain, in the short film competition of the 72nd Cannes FF, British Independent Film Award 2019.



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