Posted: February 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

EPIPHANY AT CHORNOBYL, our highly acclaimed, award winning film short is now viral on VIMEO at this link:  http://vimeo.com/35463530

EPIPHANY AT CHORNOBYL takes place within the banned 30 kilometer ”Dead Zone” –the irradiated area surrounding the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant after the nuclear reactor accident occurred on April 26, 1986. Despite an official ban, many residents secretly returned to their contaminated villages within the Zone. Baba Maria is one such survivor who decided to return and continues to live in her ancestral home. Along with other Chornobyl Zone survivors and workers, she celebrates the feast day of Epiphany in which water is blessed and according to their Orthodox Christian belief, washes away all evil–even radiation.

Pete and I created this film with footage taken from our documentary-in-progress LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE. EPIPHANY won the “Redemptorist Storytellers Award” (Redemptive Storyteller Award, 2008, Redemptive Film Festival, Virginia Beach, VA) and was screened across the U.S. to capacity audiences at The Global Peace Film Festival, Sierra Club, Friends of Chernobyl Centers. U.S. (FOCCUS), Ola Fest, The Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA), Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA), The Ukrainian Museum, New York, Florida Trails Association, The United Ukrainan American Organizations of North Port, FL, and numerous other organizations and schools. Even though it was widely viewed, we wanted to make it even more accessible to anyone who wished to learn about Chornobyl, and for teachers who may want to include this film in their curricula since we’ve had so many requests for it.

Whenever I presented EPIPHANY to a live audience, I was always asked about the haunting and beautiful soundtrack on the film—where did we get this music? Music is so important in filmmaking, and Pete I were searching for just the right score that would enhance and impact our film’s content in profound ways for the viewer. So when we heard the first mesmerizing notes (as you will when you click on to our film), we immediately knew we found the perfect song.

The song we used is called “Wave” and was composed by Mariana Sadovska who is an internationally renowned Ukrainian singer, composer, musician and actress. Mariana mentioned to me in an email that the inspiration for this song came from a Corsican melody and also from Ukrainian wedding and water ritual folk songs. Mariana is herself a famous and highly respected “song catcher.” She collects, resurrects and reinterprets Ukrainian folk melodies and has saved many from obscurity. She also composes her own original compositions and is open to diverse influences from other cultures in her music. She performs and conducts singing workshops throughout the world, and is currently collaborating on a new work with the Kronos Quartet which will have its New York premier in 2013. Mariana’s website is www.borderlandmusic.de

“Wave” is found on a fabulous CD called “THE RUSALKA CYCLE: SONGS BETWEEN THE WORLDS” that was composed by Mariana and performed by Kitka: Women’s Vocal Ensemble on the Diaphonica label.

About Kitka (from their website: www.kitka.org):  “Kitka is an American women’s vocal arts ensemble inspired by traditional songs and vocal techniques from Eastern Europe. Dedicated to developing new audiences for music rooted in Balkan, Slavic, and Caucasian women’s vocal traditions, Kitka also strives to expand the boundaries of folk song as a living and evolving expressive art form.” They are fabulous!

Prior to recording THE RUSALKA CYCLE, Mariana traveled to Ukraine with members of Kitka including the executive director Shira Cion, Kitka’s stage director and Ellen Sebastian Chang to witness the pre-Christian water rituals and collect the folk songs about the “Rusalki” – water nymphs from Slavic mythology. “Rusalki” represented women who died too soon and in order to appease them, village women sang special songs to them.

“Rusalki” are still revered by villagers mostly in the Polissia region of Ukraine, which incidentally is the region where Chornobyl is located. Pete and I did not know this history behind “Wave” until we read the CD liner notes and related links. It was truly a serendipitous and profound choice for our film on many levels!

To read more about how the “Rusalki” songs came to Mariana and Kitka go to: http://www.rockpaperscissors.biz/index.cfm/fuseaction/current.press_release/project_id/339.cfmYou can also hear some audio samples and buy the CD (which you should—it is amazing!!) on this page or at www.kitka.org

And don’t forget to watch Kitka’s fascinating SPARK KQED Documentary Short, which includes footage from Kitka’s and Mariana’s Rusalka Cycle Expeditions in Ukraine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44w_AJR5GKM

Wheat Street Productions, Inc.  is grateful to Mariana Sadovska and Kitka for their sublime music. We are honored that “Wave” is featured in EPIPHANY AT CHORNOBYL and is a fundamental part of our film’s success in reaching so many people.

And we hope to reach even more viewers on Vimeo. –Irene Zabytko

© 2012 by Wheat Street Productions, Inc.

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