15-07-2020

OLEG SENTSOV STARTS FILMING

Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov starts preparations to his new film, a crime drama Rhinoceros. The film will be made in co-production of Ukraine, Poland and Germany.

Rhinoceros is a crime drama that unfolds in the 90s in Ukraine, the times that have changed us all: it was the transition from the Soviet Union to our modern days, but all those challenges are still relevant to our society. "We have seen a lot of films about criminals but I am interested mostly in an average person: what a person feels, why they act this way, whether such a person can change...  After all, there are no bad people, there are people who do bad things," director and screenwriter Oleg Sentsov says.

Oscar-nominated Polish DoP, Bogumił Godfrejów (A Man Thing, 2002), will be working with Oleg SentsovGodfrejówa graduate of the Cinematography Department of the Film School in Łódź, has participated in numerous Polish and international production projects, both documentary and feature films. Throughout his career he received several awards at Polish and international festivalsa.o. nomination for the European Film Award in the Best Director of Photography category (Lichter/Distant Lights). Last year Oleg by Juris Kursietis, where Godfrejow was DoP, was part of Cannes 2019, Quinzaine des Réalisateurs.

Ukraine is represented by Arthouse Traffic and Cry Cinema – company founded by Oleg Sentsov in 2008. The Polish partners, Apple Film Production, have already worked with Oleg Sentsov on the film Numbers, which premiered at this year's Berlin Festival, Berlinale Special. The German side is the Ma.ja.defilm company, which had already worked with Arthouse Traffic co-producing Serhiy Loznitsa's drama Donbas that has won the Best Director prize in the Un Certain Regard competition in Cannes film festival.

The project got support from the State Film Agency of Ukraine, the Polish Film Institute and the German film fund Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

The preparation for the shooting of the Rhinoceros has started back in 2013, but due to the illegal imprisonment of Oleg Sentsov in Russia, the production of the film was stopped.

Oleg Sentsov is a director and writer, former political prisoner, and public activist. The international premiere of his film debut Gámer (2011) was held at the Rotterdam Film Festival. In May 2014, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Sentsov was arrested by FSB, accused of plotting terrorist acts, and taken to Moscow. Oleg was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment despite the lack of evidence, which provoked a global campaign calling for his release, #SaveOlegSentsov. In prison, Sentsov wrote a collection of stories and a novel Buy This Book - It's Funny. While in prison, he directed his film Numbers, which premiered as Berlinale Special 2020. On September 7, 2019, he was released as part of an exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine. In 2018, Oleg Sentsov was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.