Feature Film

TEASER: Ukraine’s ‘Mavka, The Forest Song’ Eyeing 2019 Release

Ukraine is preparing to take its place in the global feature animation market. Animagrad Studio, a subsidiary of Film.UA, unveiled a teaser online last week for Mavka, The Forest Song, a cg animation feature set to debut in 2019.

The teaser, which first screened at Annecy last month, was launched last week at a fancy-looking party, in Ukraine, as part of the Odessa International Film Festival:

The mavka is a Ukrainian mythological figure, a long-haired female who lures young men into the woods and tickles them to death. She also has no backside, allowing her innards to be seen.

It’s not clear how closely the film will follow the mythology, but the story is described as a fantasy about forbidden love between Mavka, a magical sylvan nymph tasked with protecting the sanctity of the forest, and Lukash, a musically-gifted human boy.

“Our teaser is more about ambiance than plot,” said the film’s producer Iryna Kostyuk of the new footage released. “Its objective is to immerse the audience in the unusual forest world of Mavka, to let the viewers meet the protagonist, to show her magic connection with nature and demonstrate Mavka’s Willow.”

The producers have said that the project will be deeply rooted in Ukrainian tradition. The teaser uses a vesnianky (a folk song calling the spring in) performed by the folk group Dakha Brakha, and the film will make use of Ukrainian design motifs and symbols, including their traditional embroidered vyshyvanka shirts and intricately decorated Easter eggs called pysanky.

The Ukrainian State Film Agency has already awarded government financing that will total 30% of the film’s total budget, but the film is currently considered to be in the development stage. Aleksandra Ruban is set to direct from a script by Yaroslav Voyceshek.

A video with more insight on the development process can be seen below:

Last March, Mavka became the first Ukrainian feature project selected to pitch at Cartoon Movie in France.

Animagrad, founded in 2012, is currently wrapping up its first cg feature, The Stolen Princess, set to be released theatrically in March 2018. That film has been pre-sold in over 20 territories across Europe, as well as China and South Korea.