Documentary “Blackout. Christmas” explores Ukrainian energy system in war

The Organization of Ukrainian Producers (OUP) and SPACE Production released the documentary film “Blackout. Christmas”. It explores how the huge energy system of Ukraine suffered from “wounds”, recovered, and continues to work. The premiere of the film will be at STB broadcaster on Sunday, April 16, at 11:10 p.m.

With each Russian missile attack targeting Ukranian critical infrastructure, the prospect of Christmas lights in Ukraine faded. Ukrainians reacted to this differently. The film shows stories from five cities: Odesa, Lviv, Pavlograd, Kharkiv, Kyiv. Photographer Serhiy is looking for a light in dark Kyiv; Olena, a military and a mother of five; surgeon Andriy, who must do his work regardless of blackouts; Swiss light artist Gerry Hofstetter implementing the art campaign Christmas Light for Hope in Ukraine are film subjects.

But also the workers of the energy system of Ukraine are the heroes of the film. A “energetic front” has opened in the country: engineers, electricians, repair teams, call centers, rescuers. They have learnt to repair damages and found the bravery to bring light time after time.

Ilona Schneider, film producer: “‎When electric power is lost, there is no Wi-Fi and almost no mobile service, and some lose heating and water too. But even in these conditions, people continue to fulfill their duties. It’s another manifestation of invincibility and struggle against the darkness of military aggression. The Christmas lights will shine despite the attacks — some lights never go out. Putin did not manage to steal Ukrainian Christmas, no matter what he wanted. Until filming, I had no idea how brave the workers of our energy system were. Each story was an example of courage and humanity. It’s exciting.”

Film crew got exclusive access to a number of critical infrastructure objects and visited places hitted by Russian missiles. The film shows to its viewers from inside how the energy system works. It would not be possible without the help of NPC “Ukrenergo” and the DTEK group.

Tala Prystaetska, film script writer and creative producer: “Last year everything was changing so quickly that we barely remember the events of, for example, October. (I recall that I was preparing for a nuclear war.) ‘Blackout. Christmas’ captures the period when all of us who remained in Ukraine were ready to live without electricity. The film told about people who prevent this apocalypse, even though missile strikes did everything for this. The Russian attacks caused enormous damages, so huge that I had no idea what kind of destruction was behind the routine words ‘damaged network’. Only during the filming did I understand how titanic work was done by our energy workers to maintain the network in working condition. We will show you those who made the Christmas miracle of light in Ukrainian homes happen.”

The film tells 12 stories. All of them are united by the storyline of the NPC “Ukrenergo” Chief Load Dispatcher Vitaly Zaichenko. He was at the center of power system control during every attack, every time a Russian missile hit a Ukrainian power plant or substation. And did everything for the lights to turn on again.

“The film crew, with no fear or doubts, got to energy facilities and a Pavlograd mine when Russian missiles aimed at the Ukrainian energy system. They took a risk and decided to be in these places in order to film Russia’s crimes. To show the heroism of Ukrainian energy workers was more important for the filmmakers than their own safety. And now, thanks to it, we can see what electricians had to go through for light and communication in Ukraine,” says Daria Leygonie-Fialko, founder and general producer of SPACE Production, co-founder of OUP.

Documentary film “Blackout. Christmas” is produced by Volodymyr Borodyansky (OUP), Daria Leygonie-Fialko (OUP, SPACE Production), and Kateryna Laskari (SPACE Production). Film crew consists of scriptwriter and creative producer Tala Prystaetska, director Oleksiy Yesakov, cameraman Artem Vasiliev, executive producers Natalia Nikiforova and Ilona Schneider, editors Olha Krechko, Alla Mazhara, Nina Silchenko, Natalia Kruzhilina.

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