Fedor Alexandorich, a Ukrainian victim of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, is researching the cause of the catastrophic accident when his investigation is interrupted by the 2014 Euromaidan uprising that culminates in the ousting of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Amid all of this turmoil, Alexandrovich uncovers a damning Cold War-era Soviet secret. In this Sundance World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize-winning film, Alexandrovich must decide whether to risk his life and play his part in the revolution by revealing to the world what he has found.
‘The Russian Woodpecker is a thrilling, award winning investigation into the ghosts of the Soviet Union and the mind of an irradiated Ukrainian artist on a quest to discover the “criminal” behind the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Unforgettably eccentric artist Fedor Alexandrovich begins his quest by revealing to the world an enormous secret Soviet weapon that stands in the shadow of Chernobyl, and which Kremlinologists in the 1980s thought might be a giant mind-control device.
But what Fedor discovers is much more sinister. While his theory that Chernobyl was an inside job may seem mad, the audience too starts to question reality when secret police appear and one of the crew members is shot by a sniper, as revolution, paranoia and terror engulf the crew. This Sundance Grand Jury winner and darling of critics worldwide pushes the boundaries of the documentary form while telling a crucial story about the deadly dance between Ukraine and Russia, and hinting at what Putin has in mind next.
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. Seen at festivals throughout the world and now available online.’