European broadcasters co-commission Ukrainian dramedy set in wartime Kiev

Those Who Stayed

Broadcasters SVT in Sweden, NRK in Norway and YLE in Finland have co-commissioned Those Who Stayed, an anthology dramedy series about life during wartime in Kiev from Ukrainian studio Film.UA.

The 6 x 40-minute series has been co-developed by Film.UA and Red Arrow Studios International, which will distribute, and is inspired by the true stories of Ukrainians who decided to stay in Kyiv, following the beginning of the Russian invasion.

Producers for the project are Anna Eliseeva and Kateryna Vyshnevska, with Anastasiia Lodkina serving as showrunner. Shooting is planned for March 2023.

The series brings together established and emerging Ukrainian talent with each episode written and directed by a different creator. The episodes are inspired by their own lived experience of staying in Kyiv during the first months of the war. Stories include an unhoused man who joins the Territorial Defences, where he finally feels seen; the unlikely hero ready to quit his job at a zoo, who ends up saving the animals; and a woman from Bucha forced to shelter in a tiny studio with her kids, a dog, her husband – and her ex partner.

“Those Who Stayed aims to amplify and showcase the voices of the different writer-director duos behind each episode. The scripts are inspired by the true, truly moving, and sometimes hilarious stories that happened to or were witnessed by them. And those stories show just how much we learn about humanity through the incredible choices ordinary people make every day,” said show creators Anastasiia Lodkina and Anna Eliseeva.

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