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January 15, 2023



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Coming-of-age drama


Escaping from the shelling, Serhii temporarily moves to the west of Ukraine.

When his mother decides to evacuate from occupied hometown, they lose telephone connection.


At the beginning of russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine, Serhii moved to the  west  of  the  country in search of safety. This cold city at the very beginning of spring seems completely alien to him. People there don’t seem to notice the changes, which is very paradoxical compared to other regions. Serhii works as a volunteer unloading humanitarian aid trucks and tries to earn some money to help his mother. He lives in an ordinary school gym, like many of the newly arrived refugees. His mother stayed in the occupied territory to look after her father, but over time it became more and more dangerous for her to stay there. Serhii constantly tries to persuade mother to move and seems to succeed, but the phone connection between them is lost. The next day, Serhii finds out about the shooting of a civilian convoy that could have included his mum. He tries to find a way to get  to  the frontline town where she was heading, but it seems impossible, as there are no buses or trains going there. He decides to steal the keys to the warehouse manager’s car and go  there to find his mother. Serhii drives along the road, among the snowy fields, not knowing what awaits him there. We leave him on his way, a person who tried so hard to appear adult, but is still a kid.

Author’s Note

When  a  person  is  born,  the  process  of  separation from the  womb begins. Over  time, the connection between mother and child becomes less and less strong, as the person grows up and begins their own adult life. In some families, this process is smooth and painless, but not in all.

This film tells the story of a young man who was forced to grow up, but still remained a child.

unavailable is a short coming-of-age drama set during the full-scale russian invasion. The unknown city in the west of Ukraine where Serhii has displaced to is very grey and cold. The guy  is constantly surrounded by the industrial noise of the warehouse, phone beeps, the snow crunching under his feet and the war news on the radio. This city seems to have not changed, except for the large flow of refugees and sirens. The locals continue to live their slow lives. Our hand-held camera observes this measured rhythm of the volunteer’s everyday life. The character of Serhii will be performed not by a professional actor, but by an ordinary guy I have known for several years. His face reflects that naivety and vagueness of the future that is so inherent in young people. This regular rhythm has been breaking since the news of the shooting of the civilian convoy, and with it our camera becomes more dynamic and moving. Together with Serhii, it rushes from side to side, accompanying his internal instability.

Through this largely autobiographical story, I want to show the personal tragedy of an ordinary person. This story is very important to me because I personally experienced similar circumstances. So I can be extremely honest in building the reality of this film.

Company Profile

Contemporary Ukrainian Cinema was originally co-founded by Valeria Sochyvets in 2015 as a filmmakers’ collective and a platform to promote young Ukrainian cinema.  To date, CUC has produced 25 short films, two feature documentaries and four fiction features.

The company’s credits include the feature film LA PALISIADA by Philip Sotnychenko (nominated for Discovery – Prix FIPRESCI at EFA 2023, FIPRESCI Prize at Rotterdam IFF main competition 2023, Best film at KinoPavasaris Vilnius IFF, Best direction 2023
in Sarajevo IFF, Best film in Torino FF 2023) BLINDFOLD by Taras
Dron (Best Film of Competition 1-2 in Warsaw 2020, FIPRESCI Prize at Odesa 2021), the feature documentary PLEASE HOLD
THE LINE by Pavel Cuzuioc (IDFA 2020) and the short film TECHNICAL BREAK by Philip Sotnychenko (Best Live Action Film at Tallinn PÖFF Shorts 2017).

Les Steppes is a French audiovisual production company founded in 2018 by Nicolaï Iarochenko and Louis Beaudemont. Les
Steppes produces or co-produces fiction and documentary films,
both French and foreign, with the only requirement being richness
and novelty from the point of view of the authors. Since the creation of our company, we’ve produced: Mara by Sacha Kulak (61’
Doc) France, Georgia – premiered at IFFR 2022; A hawk as big as
a horse by Sacha Kulak (74’ Doc) France, ARTE, CNC, Sundance
Film Institute – expected premier at Camden IFF USA 2023; A Shaman against Putin by Beata Bubenec (76’ Doc) France, USA, UK,
Czech Republic – expected release early 2024; Before the lights
shut down by Wilmarc Val (18’ Short) France, Grand Est region television’s network, Champagne Taittinger, BNP Image – premiered at Festival Tous Courts (2021) and Tirana IFF (2021). PRAAB by Chrystèle Nicot & Antoine Alesandrini (Interactive short) France, CNC, Pejman Foundation. If it doesn’t work today… by Julien Senot & Antoine Perez (19’ Short) France, Bretagne Region. Upcoming release on TV5 Monde early 2024.