February 16 & 17, 2016. Documentary/Conspiracy Thriller About Chernobyl Will Contend For Oscar Nominations

Each year, the world experts turn their attention to the Academy Awards. The 88th ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), will take place on February 28, 2016. The “Russian Woodpecker” about Chernobyl will contend for Oscar nominations. Watch a trailer here.

Fedor Alexandrovich, the star and the protagonist of this film, is a radioactive man. He was four years old in 1986 when he was exposed to the toxic effects of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown and forced to leave his home. Now 33, he is an artist in Ukraine, with radioactive strontium in his bones and a singular obsession with Chernobyl, and with the giant, mysterious steel pyramid now rotting away 2 miles from the disaster site: a hulking Cold War weapon known as the Duga and nicknamed the “Russian Woodpecker” for the constant clicking radio frequencies that it emits. In Gracia’s documentary/conspiracy thriller, Alexandrovich returns to the ghost towns in the radioactive Exclusion Zone to try to find answers – and to decide whether to risk his life by revealing them, amid growing clouds of Ukraine’s emerging revolution and war (according to the website http://www.russianwoodpecker.com).

The Guardian wrote: “Few people know that Soviet officials might have deliberately destroyed the Chernobyl power station to cover up a disastrous nearby attempt to jam Western enemies’ communications. They’re even less likely to believe it when the advocate for this theory is a wild-eyed, tousle-haired Ukrainian artist named Fedor Alexandrovich, fascinated by a monotonous ‘woodpecker’ sound deployed by Soviet spies in the 1980s.

Chad Gracia’s peculiar documentary grafts together two apparently unrelated themes to spectacular effect: Fedor’s absurdist avant-garde commitment to making his art, versus his attempt to investigate what really happened in Chernobyl by talking to all manner of deceptive ex-Soviet bureaucrats. Almost by accident, Fedor and his devoted cinematographer uncover a secret world of spying and disregard for human life, all too relevant for them as Ukrainians rise up to resist Russian interference through anti-government protests.”

If you are in Toronto, watch this film  here. Director Chad Gracia will be in attendance at all screenings to introduce the film and answer questions. Showtimes: January 6, 6:30 PM & 9:15 PM, January 7, 6:45 PM. The “Russian Woodpecker” is a production of GraciaFilms, Roast Beef Productions, and Rattapallax. Worldwide distribution by FilmBuff.