"This mystifying and magnetic painter -traumatized and irradiated by Chernobyl, hopeful about his country's potential European future, paranoid because so many of his ancestors were murdered, and conflicted about whether to stand up when he himself is threatened- is a symbol of the Ukraine itself. Chad Gracia (Director)
An eccentric and gifted artist who is a victim of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster discovers a terrible secret hidden by the Cold War, and must decide whether to risk his life to reveal it.
The eccentric and captivating Ukranian artist Fedor Alexandrovich was just four years old when the Chernobyl disaster struck, but it had a profound effect both emotionally and on his body -his bones were found to carry radiation. As he embarks on a search to find out about what happened at the nuclear plant, Fedor becomes fascinated with the Duga -a massive, Soviet-constructed radio antenna near the Chernobyl site that is shrouded in mystery. He learns that the Duga was a secret Cold War weapon, built by the USSR to penetrate Western communications systems, and possibly, minds. He arrives at a shocking conclusion about the radio antenna's role in the disaster that also exposes violence perpetrated by the Russians against their neighbour. Meanwhile, in the present day, that struggle echoes: Kiev is a battleground for the struggle between pro-democracy/Europe forces and the government's proximity to the Russian Federation. Fedor has tough choices to make about how far he will take his story. Packing in history, political developments, cultural context and deeply personal storytelling, The Russian Woodpecker is a thrilling, heart-breaking and moving look at one man's determination to reckon with forces of darkness.
2015 SUNDANCE GRAND JURY PRIZE: WORLD CINEMA - DOCUMENTARY, INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS NOMINATED, SHEFFIELD DOC / FEST
Chad Gracia has worked in New York theatre for nearly twenty years as a producer, dramaturgist and playwright, with a focus on plays in verse. His works have seen productions in various cities in the United States and Europe. He co-wrote 'Gilgamesh', a drama based on the Sumerian epic, with Pulitzer-Prize winning author Yusef Komunyakaa. The Russian Woodpecker (2014) is his first film.