Screening copy provided for review
Ukraine is not, has never been, and likely never will be an easy place to live.
Springtime, 1986: Chernobyl’s nuclear reactor #4 explodes, hurtling radioactive particles into the air. Over 30 people die, many more are injured, even more live with the lingering effects of radiation.
As a precaution, the zone around Chernobyl for 30 kilometers in all directions was closed to everyone but scientists, working to study and contain the disaster.
Some chose to come back.
The Babushkas of Chernobyl is the story of those who came back.
Over 200 women live in the Exclusion Zone, scraping out a living. Mostly very elderly, these are women who survived World War II and Communism, and choose to live and die in the villages where their families are buried, and where they have spent most of their lives.
The women fish, gather and grow food, collect their mail, tend to their chickens. They visit each other, drink and celebrate the holidays, sing songs and reminisce.
Around them, the forest slowly grows back. Deer, hedgehogs, and wolves are returning.
While it is clear that their numbers are dwindling and life is incredibly hard, the protagonists of Babushkas of Chernobyl are determined, incredibly tough, and happy to be where they are. They are exactly where they want to be – even if, on balance, the people responsible for the Exclusion Zone would really prefer they weren’t there.
This is also the story of the scientists and postal workers and myriad other people that visit the Babushkas, bring them food and medicine, and see that they are taken care of to the best of their ability.
The Babushkas of Chernobyl is a story about iron wills, the strength of communities, and the power of the idea of home. I highly recommend it.
The Babushkas of Chernobyl is screening in select cities. If you would like to host a screening, please contact the filmmakers and they’ll get you everything you need to get started.