top of page

Ashes settling in layers on the surface

A documentary film project in development stage

70 minutes

Based on diaries and photographs found in the houses destroyed during the Russian war against Ukraine, the film captures the stories of Mariupol, including that of the director’s family. It centers on the value of freedom and human life itself over the nonsensical statements repeated by totalitarian regimes, as witnessed throughout the history of the Azovstal plant.

Through examination, piece by piece, of ruins and family possessions in the houses destroyed by Russian shelling in Mariupol nowadays, the film captures construction and destruction of a totalitarian system with the stories of Mariupol families who rebuilt the city several times within a hundred years. The regime got implemented at the same time as the restoration of the Azovstal plant, where the director's grandfather was relocated under the threat of execution in 1944 of WWII. Accompanied by coercion, threats and propaganda, people were building two machines of death – a totalitarian system and a metallurgical giant. Since, these machines have been working like crematoriums, using people as fuel, and producing dust and soot. And now, Azovstal is fully destroyed by the army of the same totalitarian system.


director: Zoya Laktionova

producer: Natalia Libet

co-producers: Victor Ede, Petra Seliskar, Valeria Sochyvets

cinematography: Volodymyr Usyk

narration: Oksana Cherkashyna

composer: Stanislav Ivashchenko

Supported by
2023 - European Solidarity Fund for Ukrainian Films - development
2022 - Netflix and Ukrainian Film Academy - development

2022 - IDFA Bertha Fund - development

2021 - Ukrainian Cultural Foundation (UСF) - director's research


2023 - Documentary Industry Days in Gdynia​ (Poland)

2023 - IDFA Project Space, Amsterdam (Netherlands)

2023 - DocLab Poland at Krakow Film Festival (Poland)

2023 - from the Goteborg Film Fund at the Launch Pad Pitching (Poland)

2023 - from the Watch Doc Film Festival at the Launch Pad Pitching (Poland)


2023 - IDFA Forum, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
2021 - The project has been selected for Ji.hlava New Visions Market, Jihlava (Czech)

bottom of page