More than “the soul of the forest”, “Mavka” is that of a people who, like its heroine, “aspire to peace and harmony in their world”.
On the other end of the virtual line, the 38-year-old maintains contact with her colleagues at‘Animagrad, remained in the country. The animation studio, a subsidiary of Movie group. AU, is one of the leading industry players in Eastern Europe. Together, at all costs, they are continuing to implement an ambitious project that began in 2016. “Mavka. The forest song » is a 90-minute animated feature film, now at the end of post-production and production. At the height of its activity, the studio had a hundred collaborators. “I’m very proud of our teams and everyone’s strength of spirit! “, welcomes the executive producer.
For the work to resist the war
Separated from her husband and her mother, Yana Medvedeva continues to coordinate the multiple tasks necessary for the completion of the project, national pride pegged to her heart. If the male staff remains in kyiv, in the event of a call in the Ukrainian Armed Forces (three are already at the front and two others engaged in the territorial defense of kyiv), eight other employees, like her, are still refugees between Poland, Germany and France.
Despite the bombs and their corollary of network cuts, the fear and uncertainty of the future, everyone refuses to let the conflict initiated by Russia have the power to ruin their film, which benefits from the support of the Ukrainian Film Agency of State. More than “the soul of the forest”, “Mavka” is that of a people who, like its heroine, “aspires to peace and harmony in its world”, underlines Yana Medvedeva with emotion.
Forest and swamp atmosphere
Slender silhouette, diaphanous skin, large almond-shaped emeralds that are almost hypnotic, undulating green hair like the branches of a weeping willow in the wind, it is dressed in foliage that the sparkling Mavka evolves in a fantastic world of other side of the forest from a small village. Where the love she will discover there, like the greed of men, will impose crucial choices on this guardian of the forest.
Intensely poetic, the graphics and the plot of the film point to environmental issues and the urgency of preserving Ukrainian flora and fauna threatened by the felling of its virgin forests. It is in the heart of Polesie that the artistic team drew its inspiration, at the source of this region of woods and swamps located on the Ukrainian, Polish and Belarusian borders, nicknamed “the Amazon of Europe”. Even where the Eurasian lynx threatened with extinction and which has become a full-fledged character in the film, carries an awareness campaign carried out with the WWF foundation of Ukraine.
The heroine become emblem
Freely inspired by a national play from the beginning of the 20th century, by Lesya Ukrainka, from which it takes the title “The forest Song”, the animated film dives dreamily into Slavic mythology and Ukrainian culture. Traditions, visual arts, music and original costumes are magnified on screen thanks to research carried out with the support of the Department of Folk Studies of the National University of Kyiv and the National Center for Folk Culture.
“For the first time in Ukraine, local and international brands are harnessing the power of a film even before its release”
The promotion of Ukrainian culture has taken on a very particular resonance since the Russian invasion, testifies Yana. “We have always strived to communicate our values and our culture through the universal language of animation. Now that there is a war in Ukraine, stories are our weapons and carry within them the main human values: love, mutual aid, the protection of what is dear to us, the victory of good over evil. »
From there to making Mavka the heroine, even the emblem of a country? A step that seems to have been taken by many brands that have adopted the mischievous face of the nymph for their promotion. “The resonance of ‘Mavka’ is such that for the first time in Ukraine, local and international brands are using the power of a film even before its release,” notes the executive producer, still surprised. There are countless licensed products bearing the image of Mavka and her lynx: cereal bars, yoghurts, stationery, jewelry, telephone accessories, not to mention fashion and figurines. A community, strong of tens of thousands of fans in the world who, on instagram and Facebooksees in Mavka the determination of the Ukrainians and projects his hopes.
Everyone wants to believe it. “Mavka. The forest song” will be completed at the end of the year and “broadcast in all the cinemas of a victorious and liberated Ukraine”. But while on August 24, Ukraine celebrates the anniversary of its independence, at the same time as six months of Russian invasion, Yana resolves to consider that “the international premieres take place before the Ukrainian premiere”.
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Between kyiv and the Gironde, the Ukrainian animated film “Mavka” resists the war
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