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An unlikely story of spirit, defiance and beauty from the most contaminated place on Earth
415 backers pledged $40,594 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates


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Film update, Ukraine report & The Stalkers


Hello Babushka backers,

It has been a long journey, but we are happy to report that the film is soon to be out in the world. Since receiving a NEA grant in June, we've finished editing, completed the original score, and have begun submitting to festivals. We expect our premier to be in winter 2015, and will keep you up-to-date on screenings/festivals as they lock in. (You will receive your DVD of the film in early ’15 – at premier time.) Thanks, as always, for your patience and ongoing support. We can’t wait to share the film with you! 

We've been staying in touch with the film's central characters - Hanna, Maria and Valentyna - who seem relatively un-fazed by recent events in Eastern Ukraine.  (The Chernobyl Zone is an area that Putin is likely not interested in!)  That said, there are rumors that construction on the new “sarcophagus” – the vital shelter, costing billions – has stopped. The babushkas, and the entire region, will be at risk should there be a collapse of the current, decrepit shelter covering Reactor No. 4. 

We are revving up awareness regarding the film. To that end, here’s our recent SLATE article about the Stalkers - the young “post-apocalyptic romantics” who enter the Zone illegally and are featured in the film.     Warmly,   Holly & Anne

'Stalkers' who sneak into the Chernobyl Zone - for fun.
'Stalkers' who sneak into the Chernobyl Zone - for fun.

Ukraine under fire & film update


Hello Backers:

It hasn’t been a calm spring in Ukraine. We are following the developments closely and thinking about how it impacts the women in Chernobyl. We got word from Maria, one of the film’s central characters, who said at the height of the Maidan protests:

"I'd rather not see nor hear anything about these bastards! I survived WW2, I saw real German fascists. I was burying fellow villagers with my bare hands. I never thought it could all repeat again. How come that these innocent Ukrainians are dying in the middle of peaceful times?!”

There is a strange, dark feeling that history is repeating itself...

Meanwhile, updates on the film:

  • Breaking news: We just received a generous NEA grant. (Hooray!) See yesterday’s announcement. 
  • We were selected to pitch at the prestigious Hot Docs Forum in Toronto. This is where we hope to find the last finishing funds to complete the film by summer. (Any of you Kickstarter backers who are Toronto-based please give us a holler!) 
  • In the ‘flattered-but-confused’ category, we were featured in a museum exhibit on the subject of 'failure' in the Netherlands. We assume the ‘failure’ refers to Chernobyl, not the film. 
  • A grateful shout-out to the New York State Council on the Arts who also recently provided us a grant. That, along with the support of NEA, Chicken & Egg, and the San Francisco Film Society means we are truly near the finish line. Thanks for your patience & support. 

 - Holly  & Anne and all of Team Babs.

Twitter     Facebook     TED Talk    Trailer    Donate

Holly (L.) & Anne (R.) on location at Chernobyl Zone.
Holly (L.) & Anne (R.) on location at Chernobyl Zone.

CNN, Trailer


Things have been busy for us as we continue to work through the early stages of editing. While we still have a ways to go, we’re excited to give you a look at the film with our first trailer: 

“The Babushkas of Chernobyl” has also been in the news recently, thanks to an interview Holly gave to CNN about the film in the wake of her incredible TED Talk:

As always, we’ll continue to post updates on Facebook, Twitter and our website, so stay tuned for exciting things to come. 

That’s all for now, 

 Holly & Anne

Fall update & Babs TED Talk live...


Hi all - 

FALL HARVEST: We’ve had a busy fall in Brooklyn where the whole team convened for 3 months of hard, good, post-production work. We're close to having a rough cut of the film and are very excited. Thanks very much for your ongoing support.

NEWS: Holly’s TED Talk about "The Babushkas of Chernobyl" just went LIVE.  Have a look and, if you like, spread the word….     With gratitude, Holly & Anne

Twitter: @babushkasfilm   FB: TheBabushkasOfChernobyl

Ukrainian Independence Day! ..and news

Happy Ukrainian Independence Day - Slava Ukraini!   

News:  The Babushkas of Chernobyl just won a San Francisco Film Society Award - and the hefty grant that goes with it. We're thrilled, and grateful to SFFS. This gets us one step closer to the finish line. We are continuing to edit (and raise finishing funds) this fall.

Last month we returned from our final shoot in Chernobyl. It was difficult to say goodbye to the women we've been filming with for the past year-and-a-half. Hanna, Maria and Valentyna are all doing well but the sobering truth is that the number of "self- settlers" in the Zone has gone from 230 to 130 in the time that we've known them....the end of an era, and a special part of the Polisia region, is looming....   

We leave you with the image, below, of one of the Zone workers. What do you think it says about the future of the Zone?

Thanks as always for your support and patience. - Holly & Anne

p.s.  Stay tuned because Holly's TED talk about the Babushkas of Chernobyl is about to go live.

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