The Russian Woodpecker (image 1)

A thrilling conspiracy theory documentary about Fedor Alexandrovich and his quest for the truth behind the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Daniel Walber, NonFics

Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

The Russian Woodpecker 2015

Directed by Chad Gracia

The Sundance Grand Jury prizewinner for World Cinema Documentary is a scarier-than-fiction investigation of the Chernobyl disaster, headed up by an eccentric young artist, and abetted by the fearless filmmakers.

UK / USA In English and Russian with English subtitles
82 minutes DCP

Director

Producers

Mike Lerner
,
Chad Gracia
,
Ram Devineni

Photography

Artem Ryzhykov

Editors

Chad Gracia
,
Devin Tanchum

Music

Katya Mihailova

With

Fedor Alexandrovich
,
Vladimir Komarov
,
Vladimir Usatenko
,
Georgy Kopchinski
,
Vladimir Musiets
,
Vadim Prokofiev
,
Alexander Naumov
,
Nikolai Shkurat

Festivals

Sundance 2015

Elsewhere

Ukrainian artist and provocateur Fedor Alexandrovich, our impassioned guide in this engrossing, non-fiction conspiracy thriller, was a boy when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded in 1986. Adjacent to the reactor was a massive billion-dollar antenna array, which transmitted a curious clicking noise (aka ‘the Russian Woodpecker’) across the airwaves, baffling Western intelligence services for years. Convinced the sinister structure’s purpose was connected to the disaster, Alexandrovich tracks down and interviews former Soviet officials and scientists. The more contemptuous they appear of his line of questioning, the more convinced you are that, whatever the facts, he’s onto something deeply disturbing.

“Alexandrovich has the hypnotic power to become a generation’s counter-culture icon while the history lessons of the many interviews in this vibrant piece should leave most audiences completely stunned. Passionate, audacious and revolutionary, both the film and its inhabitants are uninterested in just standing around as our current world spins.” — Jesse Hawthorne Ficks, Fandor