Appeal to support ‘Militia,’ first feature film shot in Donbass republics

‘Militia’ feature film: Fundraising to complete the production

Hello! My name is Vladislav Ivanovich Plakhuta.

I am the head of the Cossack Media Group from the Lugansk People’s Republic.

In 2017, together with the Rodina production center of Roman Mind, the leader of the “Novorossiya” group, we created the “Lugafilm” film studio to shoot the first full-length feature film about the Donbass war in Donbass.

Synopsis of the film:

The film is based on the real events of the struggle of the people of Donbass against fascism that arose in Ukraine. The action takes place in the first few years of the civil war. The continuous shelling of residential areas, schools and hospitals, the death and betrayal of loved ones, forces more and more people to abandon their usual peaceful professions and take up arms. The story tells of three ordinary young women who, by fate, become tankers.

The tank commander, Katya Belova, lives and works as a theater director in St. Petersburg. She learns that her brother, who went to volunteer in Donbass, went missing. Katya goes to look for him. There she meets the chieftain Yegor, but on the day of their wedding, Yegor dies. The loss of a brother and the death of her beloved leaves Katya no choice and she goes to war.

The gunner, Anya, works as a history teacher at the school. With the onset of the political crisis, disagreements arose between her and her husband. Ani’s husband abducts their daughter and leaves for the territory controlled by the Ukrainian security forces. The school where Anya works comes under fire. Anya decides to join the militia.

The driver-mechanic is Sveta, a professional race car driver. Before her eyes, the Nazis from the punitive battalion “Tornado” kill her friend, and she is brutally raped. Miraculously, she manages to escape being killed. After these events, Sveta goes to take revenge.

A provocation by the Ukrainian Armed Forces forces the female tank crew to engage in a fierce battle.

Trailer with English subtitles:

The main motives that propelled us during the implementation of this project were: the desire to tell the world what happened to us and what is happening; to perpetuate the memory of the fallen and motivate our citizens to continue to resist Nazism. It was Nazism, for we never set ourselves the goal of a war with the Ukrainian people. And we could not set such a goal for ourselves, because by and large,we are a part of it. But the part, which, like our ancestors, rightly considers Ukrainians to be a branch of the mighty pan-Russian tree and categorically opposes its separation from this tree.

Why do we think that it was necessary to implement this project now? After all, they say that same: “… face to face — you can’t see the face, the bigger picture is seen at a distance.” And indeed, the historical process is better viewed from a certain, more significant, historical distance, when society realizes its true scale and significance. But, on the other hand, we live here and now and right now we need motivation, guidance, encouragement and support.

Over time, for completely natural reasons, the sharpness of the perception of the current moment will fade, the small details of these great days will be erased and forgotten, its spirit in general will fade into the background. In addition, today, and this is very important from the point of view of dramaturgy, our perception is not pressured by hindsight — after all, none of us knows either the further course or the outcome of this protracted confrontation …

Even at the beginning of the project, we decided that we would, if possible, make a film exactly where the events underlying it took place. This necessitated the acquisition of almost all the equipment necessary for filming. And, to a large extent, this same circumstance determined the composition of the team that shot the film — not all of our Russian colleagues were ready to participate in our project and go to Donbass for this purpose.

The second significant reason that determined the composition of the team and the face of the film in general was the availability of resources, above all, financial — not a single penny of budget money was involved in our project, nor was the money of third-party sponsors — everything was done at the expense of the project authors’ own resources and they are far from gigantic.

Our soldiers, the battle-hardened army, which had recently been a popular militia, took an active part in the shooting, using their equipment and weapons. Sometimes they came to the shooting directly from the front, and sometimes they went there immediately after completion. In the process of filming, we often heard the sounds of a battle going on nearby. Therefore, the motto of the film rightly became the slogan, “A film made in war and about war.”

Shooting took place in 2018. By the summer of 2019, the initial version was completed. The first version of the film, in the form in which we managed to create it, was seen by audiences in Donbass. We were very pleased that they liked our film. 

But to reach the Russian widescreen, our film requires significant technical improvements. At the moment, trial displays, work with focus groups, analysis and consultations with industry experts are being carried out.

The projected budget for improvements is about 5,500,000 rubles.

The work will include:
– mounting;
– work with source videos, chromakey, compositing;
– spatial scoring;
– finalization of graphic special effects;
– color correction.

In addition, several scenes need to be re-shot. This is work on the mistakes that we unfortunately made, but after the trial screenings of the film, work with focus groups and consultations with industry experts, we know how to fix them …

And finally, we need resources to promote the film.

Since the project turned out to be extremely large-scale, and therefore expensive, we have exhausted our own resources at the moment. Being unaccredited from the point of view of the current system of cinema creation and promotion in Russia, we cannot use its standard mechanisms for raising funds.

Therefore, we ask all concerned people to join our project and thus become its co-authors.

Write comments, ask questions. We will be happy to answer them!

Distribute the link to this page:

Let’s finish this movie together!
Sincerely, the LUGAFILM team

With questions and suggestions, write to: lugafilm [at]

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Translated by Greg Butterfield

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