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An unlikely story of spirit, defiance and beauty from the most contaminated place on Earth
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.

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World Premiere, Jury Prize


Hello Kickstarter Supporters! 

We’re pleased to report that the The Babushkas of Chernobyl's world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival was a great success; the film won the Special Jury Price for Directing, and garnered great reviews. See below. We were very happy to meet some of you at the premiere! Keep an eye on for the latest on our Fall screenings. We will post details just as soon as they are available.  Also, many of you are due to receive the film directly – stand by for that in the next few weeks. Thanks as always for your support & patience.

-The Team at Babushkas HQ

The Babushkas of Chernobyl Wins Special Jury Prize for Directing at the Los Angeles Film Festival, with the following: 

The special award in directing goes to the filmmakers who displayed extreme courage to tell the story of a group of forgotten people, with skillful and respectful tenderness and intelligence. The subject matter, the story arcs and the soulful lensing of a time that has stood still and will soon disappear altogether if not for the brave and determined eyes, ears and heart of the directors of this film. It is with great pride that the Los Angeles Film Festival honors this film with a special award in directing for lifting the scarf and allowing us the chance to meet, fall in love with, and ultimately mourn The Babushkas of Chernobyl. - Los Angeles Film Festival

“A haunting and strangely uplifting documentary.” There may be no tougher people on the planet. Profiling these unlikely heroines who somehow manage to thrive amidst radioactive contamination that would prove terrifying to anyone else, The Babushkas of Chernobyl proves a haunting sociological study…. The filmmakers, who actually had to revolve their duties so as to avoid too lengthy exposure to the deadly radiation, clearly have a strong affection for their indefatigable subjects. Viewers are likely to feel the same way. After all, who can resist the babushka who happily toasts, "Goodbye, brains…see you tomorrow!" before downing a shot of vodka. - The Hollywood Reporter

“Potent, Immersive” ‘The Babushkas Of Chernobyl’ Carves Out Home On Contaminated Soil… The film is in fact a potent, immersive conflict of Ukraine’s past and present - and comments on and cuts through the nature of the region, providing incredible depth and access to a situation that anybody who’s hesitated before leaving an old neighborhood can believe…. Of all the vantage points possible in documentary film capable of transporting the viewer to rarely seen spots and circumstances, the rooftop of a Chernobyl apartment block is one of the few – still – to retain an exclusive air… - Indie Wire

The grandmas in this piece of art will make you reflect about life and death...they prove that humans and nature can coexist despite the tragedy that left Chernobyl forever dead...“A testimony of love, compassion and solidarity” - and proof of our ability to be self-sufficient despite our age. - The Huffington Post “Picking up the well-deserved Documentary Jury Award at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival is the life affirming “The Babushkas of Chernobyl.” These women are on their own, and their zest for life, even in this radiation-filled landscape is surprisingly charming…..a portrait of a place and its people who are like no other. - San Francisco Examiner 

 “Affectionate….Endearing.” - Variety

“A fascinating documentary” of a plucky bunch, fading more from old age than any apparent radiation sickness...“A wonder to behold.” - LA Daily News “Incredible” - Voice of America “A celebration of the triumph of the human spirit.” It’s also a chilling study in the psychology of denial. It’s a surreal, funny, and very disturbing portrait of the strange characters who’ve gravitated to the deadliest place on Earth. - Lucid Culture 

 A powerful look at how deep we build our roots and how important it is for us to feel like we have somewhere to belong. “A deep, haunting, and incredible story....The film essentially captures the last light of a dying species, headstrong women defiant to no end and not wavering in their conviction, no matter how dangerous that can be.” Crazy, or justified, that’s your call to answer, but what’s not up for debate is their will to move on in light of seeing mankind’s worst. - Chrome Yellow 

 Young men calling themselves “Stalkers” sneak into the exclusion zone to revel in its decrepit beauty. One of them calls the ghost town of Pripyat a “post-apocalyptic romance.” To them, the past is something other than reality. It’s a story or a legend. To the babushkas, it’s “as vibrant and immediate as the rising sun.” The Babushkas of Chernobyl beautifully and nobly captures the moment in time that these two worlds overlap. - Battleship Pretention

World Premiere Announcement!

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World Premiere Announcement!


We are thrilled to announce that The Babushkas of Chernobyl will have its world premiere at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival in the documentary Competition. It is thanks to YOU that we were able to make this film and we are so gratefull for your early support! The LA Film Festival runs from June 10-18 and our film’s screenings will take place in Downtown Los Angeles’ LIVE 's Regal Cinemas:  Sunday, June 14, 11:45am,  &  Wednesday, June 17, 6pm 

We will have additional festival and screening announcements coming soon. Keep an eye on our website and sign up for updates. This is just the beginning of what should be an exciting festival run for the film, and we hope to see you all at a screening. Stay tuned for more info about distribution, downloads & DVDs.

Best wishes, The Babushkas of Chernobyl Team

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.

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