About this project
Gennadiy works through the political system as an activist, and he runs an orphanage, but the system doesn’t work fast enough for him—or for the thousands of street kids who live in his city of Mariupal, Ukraine, most of whom are addicted to a lethal cocktail of injected cold medicine and alcohol. So at night, he goes on raids for the lost children in the ruins of this empire.
We've seen the power of crowd funding and view it as an invaluable tool to involve everyone in the filmmaking and story telling process. What you see in the video above is from a week long trip we were able to take to meet Gennadiy, research and plan. We can't wait to go back to continue telling the story.
We’re hoping to raise a minimum of $40,000 through Kickstarter to assist in completing the film. Whether it’s $5, $25, $100, $1000 or more, your contribution will help us to complete GENNADIY and to share his passion with the world. If we raise more than the goal of $40,000, that will continue to fund the remainder of the project such as post production needs, audio mix, sound design, film festival submissions, etc. We hope you’ll consider making a pledge! We specifically need money for:
1. Travel: The bulk of the production costs is to travel 4 key crew members to Ukraine and stay there for 4-5 weeks. This will cover the entire production of the film. Costs include flight/accommodations/meals, a translator and a driver.
2. Production: Some of our crew are freelance and will not be able to work for the entire length of the production. So we need to help cover their rates. They have all agreed to lower their rates significantly for the good of the film/cause, but we still need to help a little.
3. Original score: In 2012 we approached Atticus Ross (best known for his award winning score work alongside Trent Reznor in the films 'The Social Network' and 'The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo') to write music for the Blood Brother end credits. Unfortunately he was too busy working on the Nine Inch Nails album at the time but we stayed in contact and tried again with our early Gennadiy footage. He called it a 'powerful experience' describing Gennadiy as a project he 'couldn't say no to'. The music for the Kickstarter campaign was written with his brother Leopold Ross. They will work together with Claudia Sarne to create the score for Gennadiy.
***Any additional money we raise on top of the goal will be put towards post-production costs such as editorial, color grading, sound design/mix, master creation, film festival submissions, shipping, etc.***
Whether or not you make a pledge, you can still help by spreading the word on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other social media. We created links below that enable you to share on your preferred social media with the click of a button.
The day the Soviet Union fell, America and the Western world proclaimed victory. But the ramifications of that day were not felt most in New York or London. Instead, in countries like Ukraine, there was no victory. Without the Soviets, governments and infrastructures crumbled. Police forces were sold to the highest bidder. Orphanages, hospitals, everything fell into ruin, releasing a flood of young children onto the streets. What had been a hardscrabble existence quickly became nightmarish.
But from the rubble piles of Mariupol, Ukraine, a hero has risen up.
Gennadiy Mokhnenko wears the robes, collar, and heavy cross of a priest, but he is not a priest. He drives through his city at night in an unmarked van, looking for the kids who sleep in crawlspaces beneath the city, and spend their days begging for change and their nights sniffing glue, injecting cold medicine into their veins, sleeping next to water pipes for warmth.
When he finds a child, he lures them into the van, and then he shuts the door. And most of the time, the children scream for help. But no one comes.
But Gennadiy is no ordinary abductor. He takes them to an orphanage, where they go through the pains of detox. He gives them warm rooms, a bed, and doesn’t listen when they say they will commit suicide or run away if he doesn’t let them go.
Through this film, we’ll follow Gennadiy on the streets at night, as he undertakes his brazen rescue missions. We'll watch him lead protests against a government that sanctions drug dealers. We’ll see the true difficulties of his work, the vastness of the forces arrayed against him, and we’ll see what failure does to Gennadiy. There is an immense treasure: much of Gennadiy’s last ten years have been documented, through news reports, mini-docs, and the like. We’ll be able to trace his life in an incredible arc, reserved normally for works of fiction.
In Ukraine, there are over 100,000 of these children, and to most people, they are invisible. And yet Gennadiy is compelled to rescue them. Why does he have hope in the face of such numbers? What price does he pay for his long sleepless vigilance?
Most importantly, perhaps—when, if ever, is it okay to force someone to change? When should we take someone else’s life into our own hands? When a five year old is an alcoholic who gets the shakes if he doesn’t have a drink? We will be there when Gennadiy himself asks these questions. We will see his struggle.
And yet— children will live, grow strong, get better. Find love. Find home. Find family. For them, Gennadiy is the difference between life and death; the one who showed them a future they could never have dreamed of on their own. And their joy, tempered by pain, is stronger and truer for it. We hope that those who see this film will find strength in the efforts of Gennadiy, and also through these children, who do battle daily with demons stronger than many of us will ever face. We hope this film will inspire people not to lose hope in broken systems, to realize that, in our own communities and in our own countries, we can always be the voice for change no matter how desperate the situation may seem.
In the end, our wish for our viewers what we wish for everyone--that they will find within themselves a strength that will allow them to experience peace and joy within the hardships that all of us experience in this life.
We're excited to share new footage from Gennadiy. This sample clip follows Gennadiy as he attempts to help a badly abused alcoholic girl found roaming naked through the streets.
Steve Hoover (Director/Editor/Writer) This will be Steve’s second feature. The first feature was Blood Brother, which won both Audience and Grand Jury Award at Sundance 2013. Steve has also had a successful career in music video and commercial campaigns.
Danny Yourd (Producer) The long time creative partner of Steve Hoover: together they created Blood Brother as well as a wide range of previous work, from music videos to national commercial campaigns.
Animal (Production Company) Animal is a passionate company always searching for new ideas. They believe in building strong creative partnerships. Animal provides services ranging from shoots to full post production. Animal has produced award winning work seen across the nation and worldwide. Steve and Danny are employed by Animal.
Defacto Sound (Sound Mix/Design) Defacto Sound has worked on everything from major advertising campaigns to trailers to documentaries and games. They are also an active member of the Cinema Audio Society and the Motion Picture Sound Editors.
Atticus Ross (Original Score) Atticus Ross, best known for his award winning score work alongside Trent Reznor in the films 'The Social Network' and 'The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo' will score the entire film alongside his brother, Leopold Ross, and wife, Claudia Sarne.
Blood Brother, Steve Hoover’s (and the filmmaking team's) first feature film is a character driven documentary. All funding was raised through donations and there was no debt with the film. Over the course of the production, virtually all crew worked for free. The goal is to use all of our profit to help support the film’s subject as well as other HIV/AIDS efforts through the non-profit organizations with whom we partnered.
Here are a few quotes of what people had to say about Blood Brother:
"A truly beautiful film about the power of love"
Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me)
"This film shook us to our very core… It is a delicate
character study. Exuberant. Heartbreaking. Transcendent. And profoundly,
Davis Guggenheim (Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman)
"Documentaries don't come any bigger-hearted -- almost from the
get-go, is so engaging and joyful that word of mouth could well make it a
viable theatrical proposition."
Dennis Harvey (Variety)
"This film just rose up among the thousands of submissions. The cream
really does rise to the top."
David Courier (Sundance Film Festival Senior Programmer)
"Hoover’s film has all the emotional swell of a narrative feature, with the added bonus that they are real people in real situations. Uncompromising and enormously life-affirming, this is sure to be one of the year’s must-see documentaries."
Shaun Munro (WhatCulture!)
September 2013: Filming principle photography in Ukraine.
October-December 2013: Organize, Log and Load footage. Editorial begins.
January 2014: We will return to film additional footage of winter in Ukraine for a week or two.
February 2014: Log/Load remaining footage.
March-October 2014: Editorial. Music composing starts.
November-December 2014: Edit locked. Music Composing, sound mix/design, color grade and finishing. Film festival submissions start.
January 2015: Film is completed for festival circuit.
Stay tuned throughout the campaign for a lot more samples, updates and highlights of a few of the rewards.
Risks and challenges
As with most documentary projects, the greatest challenge is the unknown. Searching out characters and stories in real time is always a trying process. The best and sometimes only solution is time. The longer we can allow our team to stay in the field, the deeper they will get and the more trusting and open our characters will become. So it's of the upmost importance and our top priority to give them the means to achieve just that. This is where your support comes in to play - with your assistance we plan to create a powerful film that will act as a valuable tool for years to come. The first step to finding a realistic and enduring resolution to such a conflict is awareness.
We will make our absolute best effort to deliver your rewards in a timely fashion in accordance with the dates we list on our Kickstarter page. However, as with any creative project, there are unforeseen challenges that we may have to problem-solve – challenges that could potentially hinder our delivery of your rewards. We’ll keep you posted with our regular Kickstarter updates, informing you of any snags in our plans to get you your fun perks!
Please note, the film will not be available until 2015 (we appreciate your patience and donation to help create this film!). Once available, you can opt for a digital download or DVD when available.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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