Mariupol Invasion and Ukraines Abandoned Animals Are Focus of Documentaries Acquired by Beta Film (EXCLUSIVE)

Beta Film has acquired international distribution rights for the Ukrainian documentaries “Mariupol. Unlost Hope” and “9 Lives” through its subsidiary Autentic Distribution, the sales arm of the documentary label Autentic, which is owned by the Munich-based production and distribution powerhouse.

“Mariupol. Unlost Hope” shows the Ukraine war through the eyes of ordinary people who lived through the first month of the invasion in Mariupol. Based on the diaries of local journalist Nadia Sukhorukova, the film is directed by Maksym Litvinov and produced by Volodymyr Borodyansky.

“The film doesn’t have any author’s voice-over, any narrative,” said Litvinov. “This is a film-truth with stories of peaceful people inside the war. They tell them simply and without fear: what they saw, how they felt, what happened to them.”

Describing it as a chronicle of the “systematic destruction” of the city of half a million inhabitants, the director added: “Anyone can watch ‘Mariupol’ and experience [the invasion] and find out what it was like there.”

Elsewhere, “9 Lives” is a film about the volunteers who risked their lives to rescue animals from the areas that were abandoned in the wake of the Russian invasion. The film is directed by Igor Goma and produced by Alla Lipovetskaia and Marina Kvasova, with Yurii Mukulenko serving as creative producer.

The two films are backed by the Organization of Ukrainian Producers (OUP), a group of seven Ukrainian TV and film producers established in March to document the Russian invasion and its impact on Ukraine. The group has produced six documentaries and one fiction feature film, the first to be shot in Ukraine since the start of the war.

The OUP’s members are Volodymyr Borodianskiy (media manager), Victor Mirsky (co-founder of the Film.UA Group), Daria Leygonie-Fialko (founder and producer at SPACE Production), Alla Lipovetskaya (founder and producer at Mamas Production), Iryna Zaria (founder and producer at Ukrainian Production Studio), Maryna Kvasova (founder and producer at Mamas Production) and Igor Storchak (founder and producer at Gingers Media).

“We are grateful to our colleagues from Autentic Distribution who were actively involved in the creation of OUP documentary projects. Their tremendous experience is the key to success in the sales of our films,” said Storchak. “International sales for us are, first of all, the reach and the number of people who will see the truth about the war in Ukraine, and secondly, the money that we can spend on filming new documentary projects and supporting the professionals involved in the Ukrainian industry.”

Mirjam Strasser, head of sales and acquisitions at Autentic Distribution, added: “We are very proud to be the global distributor of these two documentaries by renowned Ukrainian producers. The film ‘Mariupol. Unlost Hope’ tells about the first weeks of the blockade of Mariupol through the eyes of a very strong woman. It is a super impressive and deeply shocking film with great storytelling, and we think Autentic should offer it everywhere.

“The film ‘9 Lives’ shows the war through the fate of animals: cats, dogs, lions, horses and others. And, of course, through the eyes of the animal-loving Ukrainian people. Anyone who loves animals will be absolutely moved by this film,” added Strasser.

Watch the official trailer for “9 Lives” below:

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