December 15, 2022
by Zhanna Ozirna
Toy Cinema | Ukraine
Fiction | 1st feature
Stuck in their own apartment during the russian occupation, a newly married couple explores the black abyss of real intimacy under mortal danger.
February 23, 2022, a small town next to Kyiv. Newly married ARSEN (27), a musician, and OLYA (25), a model, spend their first night in their own apartment in a new residential complex. Their time is happy, full of sex, conversations and plans for the future. At dawn, they wake up from the massive explosions.
However, they do not have time to leave the town (partly because they do not believe anything will happen here, partly because they cannot refuel the car). Meanwhile, the Russian troops occupy and arrange headquarters in their house, one floor below, right under their apartment. The couple finds themselves trapped in their flat.
For the next 7 days, heroes of the story will find out the new levels of their relationship put on the edge of mortal danger. What does the future mean for them? Can you dare to plan anything further than the next 5 minutes? How do you imagine your enemy? What is more terrifying – sound or silence? Where is the border of fear and what could be worse than death? What is real intimacy?
While the temperature is going down, while the heating, electricity, water and mobile communication are gradually disappearing – their whispering talks, their calming and warming sex, their silent language become more and more honest and revealing.
Their main goal now is to keep secret their presence, to plan the way to escape and – to believe that future is possible.
Zhanna Ozirna is Ukrainian director and screenwriter. Member of Ukrainian Film Academy and Directors Guild of Ukraine. Berlinale Talents 2020 alumna. Her animation short project Anna & Gravity won Jury Special Mention for the best script’ pitching within interfilm berlin Script Lab in 2020. In 2019 her short fiction The Adult (2019) was presented in the special programme The State of a New Generation within the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur. In 2018 her doc short BOND got an award Best Ukrainian film (86 IFF) and Jury Special Mention (Odesa IFF) and took part in the online festival “7+7. The best directors of Ukraine and Great Britain”. The development of her feature debut Ground Zero was supported by the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation. The project took part took part in such international script workshops as ScripTeast (2021) and Pustnik (2020, 2022), also in professional platforms La Fabrique Cinéma, Brussels Bozar Industry Day, New Horizons Studio+ and co-production markets of IFF Rotterdam Cinemart and Marché du Film of Festival de Cannes. In September 2021, “Ground Zero” received confirmation of funding from the Ukrainian State Film Agency (shooting was postponed because of the war).
Founded in 2003 as a commercial production company, it started to do service production in Ukraine for long formats in 2006. While doing service projects, in 2015 it turned to the production of national content. Having started with some documentaries by state order, Toy Pictures (Toy Cinema) received its first financing for its own feature films in 2017.