Today, we proudly introduce Feature Launch 2020 graduate project Vacuum, a Ukrainian drama to be presented within KVIFF’s Eastern Promises Industry Days.
KVIFF & MIDPOINT Feature Launch 2020 present: VACUUM
Directed by: Yelizaveta Smith
Writer: Yelizaveta Smith
Producer: Aleksandra Kostina
Production Company: BOSONFILM
Release date: October 2022
"MIDPOINT Feature Launch is the best thing that can happen to the project in development. Thanks to the amazing team, MIDPOINT has a very creative and friendly atmosphere, we felt support and care all the time. It helped us to write the 2nd draft of the script and to move VACUUM to the financing stage.
We were really happy about our working group, tutor Ivo and script consultant Angeliki. All the feedback was precise, inspiring, and pushed us to move forward. To come out of our bubble, it was efficient to work with the guest tutors as the representatives of the international industry, they helped us to build the whole picture and to find the best way to present the project to the public. KVIFF Eastern Promises is the first time we are presenting VACUUM to the industry, so it's an exciting and important moment for us."
Aleksandra Kostina, Yelizaveta Smith
A man disappears from his workplace. The police start an investigation and find the missing man’s only relative – his grown-up daughter Marta, who works as an archaeologist. She has to return to her native city to settle the legal issues, hoping to sell her missing father’s apartment and return to her usual life as soon as possible. Martha’s missing father was a grave robber, which is an unbearable disgrace for grown-up Marta. Unexpectedly, Marta is confronted with feelings for her missing father, who she never really knew. She starts looking for leads that could help her learn more. Alongside all the bureaucratic red-tape, Marta meets the neighbors’ son, Liubchyk, and realizes that he is most likely her half-brother. They quickly become true friends and Marta gradually becomes a part of a world she wanted to forget so much.
When a person is gone, a void remains. Some parts of the world freeze in a constant memory of the missing, while some, on the contrary, are erased without leaving a trace of the person behind. The film will open with static frames of these empty spaces related to Marta’s missing father. His abandoned apartment, a vacant place at his friends’ table, and an empty coffin show us the presence of absence. But, when Marta enters these spaces, her perception changes – the camera begins to move along with her inner transformation and the plot. Marta rediscovers her father’s identity through these voids left after him. The story takes place in a sunny port city in late summer. All turning points happen at dusk, when the human eye lacks light and information, as imagination changes forms around Marta. According to Plato, humans are already born with knowledge, and they only need to rediscover it.
The first time I met the director, I was touched by the story of Vacuum and her intention to show a missing man through the emptiness that is left behind him. In Ukraine, this matter remains a highly important and emotional one, and boards with photos of missing kids and adults are everywhere. There is also no tradition of exploring the other perspective of the problem and speaking about the loss of those who experienced it. The journey of the main character is a way to find an answer to where human beings stay and whether we stay at all. It also seeks a way to deal with loss and feel emptiness. This project is a striking authorial expression with a promising creative duo of Berlinale award-winning director Yelizaveta Smith and Sundance award-winning DOP Vyacheslav Tsvetkov on board. The project is now in the late development stage and we’re looking for partners to fulfill its international potential.