A new teaser trailer for MAVKA. THE FOREST SONG, the most anticipated animated feature from Ukraine, has been released on February 25. The film from Animagrad Studio (FILM.UA Group), that brought us THE STOLEN PRINCESS (2018), is set to debut in theatres worldwide in 2022. MAVKA. THE FOREST SONG brings the titular Mavka, an outstanding strong female protagonist from classical literary fiction, to the universe of ancient Slavic myths and legends with the help of modern storytelling and novel 3D animation technologies.
MAVKA. THE FOREST SONG draws inspiration both from tales of Slavic mythology (its ancient traditions and rituals, ornaments and patterns, national visual symbols in costumes, folk melodies, etc) and also from classic fairytale drama The Forest Song by Ukrainian poetess Lesya Ukrainka's (whose 150th birthday is also celebrated on Feb 25th on a nationwide level). Its protagonist is a forest nymph Mavka, the Guardian of the magical Forest and its Soul, and her journey begins with falling in love with a gifted musician Lukas - an ordinary village boy, whose character the audiences will also meet for the first time in the teaser trailer. Her feelings force her to face an impossible choice between love and her duty to protect her world. Mavka embodies virtues of selfless love, protection of nature, harmony and unity of two universes: the world of the Forest and the world of people, subjects universally appealing to both local and international audiences.
“Mavka is a unique female character with an authentic background of a culture that has not yet been brought out to the worldwide audiences in the universal language of animation. Our heroine and her story will be relatable and understandable to viewers in any country, and our film will contribute something significant and new to the animation industry. We anticipate that audiences worldwide will want to follow in Mavka’s footsteps, embody her values and her style”, explains FILM.UA Group producer Iryna Kostyuk.
The new teaser trailer, with its focus on one of the film’s most dynamic scenes, also accentuates the environmental mission of the movie. In the sequence Mavka comes to the aid of a terrified herd of forest bison, her magic power of the Soul of the Forest allows her to dissolve the animals’ fear and guide them to safety. Forest bison is one of many endangered species on the verge of extinction featured prominently in the film.
“All around the globe, the issues of environment and nature conservation, rare animal species are among the most prominent and urgent. It especially resonates with the younger generations, who are worried about what kind of world they will inherit. Mavka is their heroine, she stands watch over nature and promotes the sustainable use of resources, which should be available to everyone: people, forests, and all living things. This mission of the project is supported by partners from the WWF in Ukraine,” elaborates FILM.UA Group’s creative producer Anna Eliseeva.
MAVKA. THE FOREST SONG makes bold artistic choices in its approach to animation. The production team has invited the prima ballerina of the National Opera, People's Artist of Ukraine Kateryna Kukhar, to engage in animation video references to recreate Mavka's movements and gestures on set, performing some ballet dancing and even stunts. As a result of technically complex work of animators, Mavka exhibits unparalleled grace that can be witnessed in the bison rescue scene.
The film’s score is also produced with exceptional care. The concept of combining cinematic orchestral music with Ukrainian folk instruments and melodies is brought to life by many modern Ukrainian musicians involved in the recording of the soundtrack for the teaser trailer, including the famous folklore multi-instrumentalist Maxym Berezhnyuk and the ethno band Dakha Brakha. The score uses folk melodic phrases collected by Lesya Ukrainka in ethnographic expeditions, which are interpreted for the orchestra by Italian composer Dario Vero.
“MAVKA is undoubtedly the next step in the animation industry of Ukraine. This story is epic, touching and funny all at the same time, which we hope will captivate the audiences with its narrative and unique world building. Our team has come a long way, the project is on the home stretch. The production is on track, and we all expect a premiere next year. Of course, we would like to show more footage from the completed scenes, but we will save them for the future trailer,” notes Animagrad Studio CEO and producer Egor Olesov.
MAVKA. THE FOREST SONG first made waves internationally when the first teaser was presented at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival MIFA content market in 2017. It gained further acclaim as the only Ukrainian project to be selected to be pitched at the most significant European animation forum Cartoon Movie in Bordeaux for two years in a row.
“The distribution rights to the film have already been acquired by 10 companies that operate on 20 international territories, including countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The release of the new teaser trailer for the project and the success of the first animated feature film by Animagrad studio, The Stolen Princess, will help us in making new deals as well, ” emphasises Head of FILM.UA Distribution Igor Storchak.
The animated feature has also received support from the State Film Agency of Ukraine.
Animagrad Studio, founded in 2012, part of FILM.UA Group, has priorly released an animated feature THE STOLEN PRINCESS in 2018. The film’s rights were sold to 130+ markets worldwide, and it became the first and so far the only Ukrainian film to be released in China.
The second trailer for MAVKA. THE FOREST SONG is expected to premiere later this year.