work in progress
directed by Les Yakymchuk
run time 15 min
A courier's usual life comes to a halt when he witnesses police brutality. What do you do when the police kill? Do you turn away, or do you fight despite everything?

The information bubble that surrounds us creates a comfortable idea of security and control. Yet, we live in a contradictory world, where open brutality emerges amid everyday life. The police commit dozens of atrocities, rapes and murders every year. We are shocked when we hear this information on the news, but it quickly gets lost in the endless flow of information. We ignore it. We find it easier to avoid awkward questions and problems, preferring to live our lives and hope that we'll get lucky.

According to the Kharkiv Institute for Social Research, in 2017, the number of reports of torture by the police alone exceeded 2,300 — even if not all victims risk making official statements about it. Unfortunately, there is no statistical information about the recent years, but high-profile cases, like the abuse in Kaharlyk or the death of 5-year-old Kyrylo in Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi are part of the larger picture (a timeline of police brutality is available on the Ukrainska Pravda website).
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Unfortunately, the problem of police torture is not limited to Ukraine. Mass clashes and protests that shook the United States in the summer of 2020 were provoked by the death of George Floyd, an African American man choked to death by the police. The Belarusian protest of August-September, 2020, saw mass beatings, persecution and torture of the protesters by the police. The impunity of law enforcement structures, which are meant to protect citizens, thus destroys the confidence in police officers and equalizes them to criminals. Why do we feel unsafe whenever we see a police officer outside?

However, the share of cases where criminal investigations into the abusers are actually initiated is under 5% — police officers of higher ranks and pro-government agencies "cover up" perpetrators within the police. If somebody is dismissed, they are quickly reinstated through courts. The 2015-2016 qualification assessment was "fake" too — 93% of "old" police officers retained their jobs. Half of the 7% who were actually dismissed were later reinstated in court. Those are mostly high-ranking officers. The whole "new police" idea thus becomes invalidated.
A regular day of Roman, a courier from Kyiv, is brought to an end during his morning delivery to the police station. The guy witnesses torture perpetrated by the officers. A young girl is on the floor, handcuffed to a radiator. Shocked by what he has witnessed, the young man starts thinking of a way out of the situation. First, he imagines himself as a hero who brutally handles the cops, but this makes him just as bad as those cops. Then, he imagines a scenario where he kidnaps the girl from the precinct, but even then he understands that there is no escaping the system. All these fantasies crash against the wall of reality. What do you do when the police kill? Do you intervene and endanger yourself or do you turn a blind eye to what is happening? What would you do?
Mykhailo Sukhomlyn
director of photography (DoP)
He studied at the Ukrainian Film School (supervisor Oleksii Lemakh) and received an award for the best cinematography in 2019. He worked as the second cameraman in the series Volunteer (directed by Akhtem Seitablaiev). He created short films, including Gamer, which won the Kyiv festival FilmUfest.
Les Yakymchuk
director and producer, founder of LINZA production
He made three documentaries and one short Sci-Fi feature film — Grounding. Member of Indie Lab, GSDF and ARTDOCFEST of 2016, where he presented his film What Is Going on in My Home. Since 2017, he has been a director and art director of social advertising and promos of renowned organizations, such as Council of Europe, Renaissance Foundation, Transparency International and UNICEF.
Lena Zenchenko
Line producer and production director of the short feature film Grounding. She worked as a project manager in a TVLAB production and a producer in LINZA Production.
UAH 300 000
the budget
what we need to implement the project:
4 days of filming
time frame
contact the project team to see a detailed cost sheet
the budget includes costs for equipment rent, development and rent of locations, remuneration of the filming and acting crew, as well as distribution
30 days of post-production
goals of distribution:
where we would put the problem of torture in Ukrainian law enforcement in the spotlight for the international community.
present the film at leading festivals, such as Cannes, Berlinale, Locarno,
accompanied by an information campaign to change legislation in this sector.
hold special screenings for public authorities
turning the movie teaser into a short social video to showcase the problem and encourage public discussion.
create a PSA video on digital platforms
Lena Zenchenko
+38 099 432 85 69
Les Yakymchuk
+38 050 357 00 39
We are an inspired team of peers who want to implement our idea and look for funding to make this idea come to life.

Please contact us if you want to help us make this happen.
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