Ukrainian director Stanislav Kapralov (“Let It Snow”) was in the middle of preparing for a new film – a Hollywood project with American actors and an American distributor – when Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday. Filming was planned for Chernobyl, which was captured by the Russian military on the first day of the battle. Corporal, who is also a screenwriter and producer, has worked with some of Ukraine’s biggest names, including Ivanna Sakhno (“Pacific Frontier: Uprising”, “High Fidelity”). His last feature film, the American Ukrainian mystical thriller “Egregor”, took place in 2021.
Corporal spoke Variety emailed Friday morning.
Where are you now?
We are with my family in Ukraine. We could not leave, but we moved from Kiev to Western Ukraine. Father and grandmother are still in Kiev. They are hiding from explosions in basements – elderly people are sitting in damp basements … But grandmother and father do not panic. Everyone believes in the Ukrainian army, and no one is discouraged. The Ukrainian army is making heroic efforts and inflicting heavy losses on the Russians. All are united in their hatred of Russia. My grandmother lived during the occupation of Ukraine in World War II. Now all Ukrainians compare Russia to Nazi Germany.
How are you feeling
We are like in the movies. Sometimes it feels like it’s not happening to us. Women are crying. Young children ask why we are being killed by Russians. We see high-rise buildings destroyed by bombs, bloodied children crying … We understand that we will never forgive Russia for that. From this day it will be personal revenge. I am not a warrior, so I will take revenge as much as I can – through art and cinema.
Do you feel that the international community is doing enough?
Over the last few weeks the US, UK and Europe have helped us with weapons. We thank them, but almost a day has passed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the international community has expressed only “deep concern” and imposed inappropriate sanctions that will not stop Putin. A similar situation was with the occupation of Crimea in 2014 and Russia’s attack on the Donbass in 2015. All Western countries have “expressed concern” about Ukraine and have not stopped Putin. The result was today’s aggression, which Europe has not seen in 80 years.
It seems to me that the whole world, and especially Europe, must understand that Ukraine is now not only fighting for its independence, Ukraine is fighting for the whole of Europe to stop the “Hitler” of the 21st century. But we have a feeling that we are fighting alone … NATO has refused to close the airspace; Germany, Italy and Hungary have blocked a proposal to cut off Russia from SWIFT (World Interbank Financial Telecommunications Society), while Turkey has refused to help in the Black Sea. To stop the aggression, it is necessary to strike at Russia by force.
The international community must understand that if Ukraine is captured by Russian invaders, it will mean a new world order and uncontrolled aggression. Ukraine really needs help. We are being fired at with rockets, attacked by planes, infantry, artillery … Imagine if Poland had not capitulated in 1939? If they had stopped Hitler’s offensive? Would there be such a tragedy?
Were you in the middle of working on a project when the Russians invaded?
Yes, I was just preparing my new film. This is an international project with American actors and a Hollywood distributor. The film was supposed to be shot in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Today the Russian military captured the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. My previous film was also to be released in Ukrainian cinemas a few weeks later, and later internationally.
Will you keep trying to work on the film?
We decided to evacuate the project to Europe and shoot there. I hope our plans come true. To do this, the team and I will have to go to Europe. Preferably alive. We are still in Ukraine now.
Are you planning to leave Ukraine?
I plan to leave Ukraine. Perhaps in the United States, I do not think that in the coming years there will be an opportunity to work peacefully and implement their ideas. Russia has taken away my home, my world and my opportunity to create in my homeland.
Can the art community help?
I am sure that many of my colleagues will leave Ukraine and start their lives from scratch. We all know how hard and how long it takes to start a new career in a new place. It would be great for the art community to support people who will be looking for work in the US, Canada, Europe. It will be important for them not to be left alone, as the Ukrainian army is now.