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Russian Feature Film "Chernobyl" Will Be Released in US

By Vusala Abbasova July 5, 2020

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The film tells the story of three main characters — a firefighter named Alexey (played by Kozlovsky), an engineer named Valera, and a military diver named Boris — who risk their lives to contain the damage and radiation caused by a botched safety test of a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

A new film about the dramatic 1986 nuclear disaster in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union is scheduled to be released in the United States later this year.

According to a press release issued by Russian film distribution and production company Central Partnership, Capelight Pictures has acquired the rights to the film "Chernobyl", which is directed by 35-year-old actor Danila Kozlovsky and produced by Alexander Rodnyansky.

The film tells the story of three main characters — a firefighter named Alexey (played by Kozlovsky), an engineer named Valera, and a military diver named Boris — who risk their lives to contain the damage and radiation caused by a botched safety test of a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR. According to the movie’s plot, the three men "descend into hell itself in order to prevent what could be the catastrophe’s most terrifying outcome."

"It is obvious that the American public is very well aware of the Chernobyl disaster after the release of the successful HBO series," Alexander Rodnyansky, producer of Oscar-nominated films "Leviathan" and "Loveless," said in the press release published on Friday, adding that this film is especially important for him since he witnessed the aftermath of the accident. "Many authors and directors have something else to say about that event."

A five-part mini-series released by HBO last year also bearing the same name "Chernobyl" received a record 14 nominations at the 2020 Bafta TV Awards. According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), the series is currently one of the highest-rated television programs of all time, surpassing even other hits from the same network, including "Game of Thrones" and "The Wire".

"While Craig Mazin’s series explores how state lies breed tragedy, our film tells a very personal story. 'Chernobyl' by Danila Kozlovsky - a film about human courage and self-sacrifice. We wanted to tell about those people who had to shoulder the responsibility for the liquidation of the disaster," Rodnyansky added.

The debut of new movie, titled "Chernobyl: Abyss", is scheduled for October 8 of this year. The picture also stars Oksana Akinshina, Filipp Avdeev, and Ravshana Kurkova.

Along with the United States, South Korea, Latin America, Japan, Israel, Spain, and the Baltic States also acquired the rights to the picture.

"As a Director and Producer, the huge American market is, of course, very important to me. I am happy for any country where our picture will be in the box office and, judging by the growing interest in the film, many countries are still ahead," the press service quoted Kozlovsky as saying.

On the 26th of April 1986, while attempting to shut down a poorly designed reactor which was in an extremely unstable condition due to a failed safety test, the reactor experienced a dramatic power surge caused the whole core to explode. The explosion released at least 5% of the radioactive reactor core into the environment, with the deposition of radioactive materials in many parts of Europe.

Two Chernobyl plant workers died due to the explosion on the night of the accident, and a further 28 people died within a few weeks as a result of acute radiation syndrome.

By 14th May 1986, around 116,000 people that had been living within a 30-kilometer radius had been evacuated and later relocated. It was estimated that Chernobyl would eventually result in up to around 4,000 cancer-related deaths in the 600,000 people, mostly those who were directly affected by high doses of radioactive material while assisting with recovery and clean-up work. 

Pripyat, a former bustling city, neighboring the Chernobyl nuclear plant, has now been rendered a ghost city. Previously home to over 50,000 people, the city is now a collection of dystopic looking buildings engulfed by seasonal vegetation.