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Ukrainian director echoes a sense of hope and despair

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Ukrainian director Stanislav Kapralov, who most recently helmed the mystery thriller ‘Egregor’, premiered in 2021, was in the middle of pre-production for a new film — a Hollywood project with U.S. actors and a U.S. distributor lined up — when Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday.

In an email interview with ‘Variety’, the director-screenwriter said: “My family and I are in Ukraine. It was not possible to leave, but we moved from Kiev to western Ukraine. My father and grandmother are still in Kyiv. They are hiding in basements from bombings — elderly people sitting in damp basements.”

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Kapralov sounded hopeful when he said: “Everyone believes in the Ukrainian army, and no one loses heart. The Ukrainian army is putting up a heroic effort and is inflicting heavy losses on the Russians. Everyone is united in their hatred for Russia. My grandmother lived during the occupation of Ukraine in World War II. All Ukrainians compare Russia with fascist Germany.”

He was, however, critical of the international community’s reluctance to do more than just condemn the Russian invasion.

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Kapralov told ‘Variety’: “Ukraine is fighting for all of Europe to stop the ‘Hitler’ of the 21st century. But we get the feeling that we are fighting alone. NATO refused to close the airspace; Germany, Italy, and Hungary blocked a proposal to cut Russia off from SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), and Turkey refused to help in the Black Sea.”

Ironically, Kapralov’s ongoing film project was set to be shot in Chernobyl, which was seized by Russian military forces on the first day of battle.

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“We made a decision to evacuate the project to Europe and shoot there,” Kapralov said. “I hope our plans come true. To do this, my team and I will need to travel to Europe. Preferably alive. We are all still currently in Ukraine,” he added.

Kapralov, who is also a screenwriter and producer, has worked with some of Ukraine’s biggest names, including Ivanna Sakhno (‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ and ‘High Fidelity’).

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