For the first time the world known documentary makers had got to know about the social work that has been carried out in Mariupol by pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko and his team in the charity fund “Pilgrim” in 2012. Purposeful work with street kids, drug addiction and injustice in the lives of many people made a great impression on them. According to the director Steve Hoover his team and himself realized that it is necessary for the whole world to get to know about this work.
Within 20 days in September the film crew had been working days and nights in Mariupol never leaving for a moment the main character of the movie filming every single thing he has to see, do, confront. They witnessed shocking stories of some people, heard the stories of those who had already had good changes in their lives, they were filming every step to be able to analyze it afterwards and to make movie from it that will be represented on big screen throughout the world.
All the expenses for the movie making the American side took on themselves: the documentary makers invest funds they raised themselves since they consider it is their human duty to let the world society know that some injustice is too much and is to be changed.
The film director Steve Hoover shared his impressions about the work at the movie.
Corr.: What was your first impression of what you saw?
Steve: We were mesmerized by Gennadiy, his optimism and belief that there will be result and it will be positive. We are impressed with the scale of the wok being carried out here and how long it has been done. We saw ourselves many inspiring stories of changes in people’s lives. It was probably the biggest impression – to see how many people changed their lives to the better. Everyone has their own story, tough childhood, tough present. But after meeting Gennadiy they really change their lives. What amazes also is that you are not of those who give up easily and sacrifice a lot for the just to triumph. It brings delight to our hearts. It differs much from what we see in the US and other countries.
Corr.: What is the difference between the situation here in Ukraine and in the US?
Steve: We have very different social structure in our countries. In the US you just call 911 and all the questions should be solved. It is not like that in Ukraine so Gennadiy and his team in “Pilgrim” have to deal with all these questions themselves. After the USSR collapsed the whole state system and infrastructure suffered so much that your society had become so vulnerable. Many laws just don’t work and what should go without saying just wasn’t put into action. In the US we have special resources for that, organizations that would deal with such crises right away. For each particular case there is a special department. Your people started dealing with these problems themselves instead of social systems and suitable structures. The picture is getting better but mostly due to social organizations just like Gennadiy’s. One might think that if there are no street kids on streets any more it means that the problem has been solved but it is not so. We can see that you still have a lot of work to do and a lot of task to solve. So many kids and adults still need for someone to intercede for them and for the justice to come to their lives.
Corr.: What kind of impression did Gennadiy himself as the main character of the movie make on you?
Steve: Gennadiy is one of the brightest representatives of those who fight against collapsed passive system. He is a very strong personality and people follow him and after his touch to their lives they are able to change their lives. He rammed the problems of the society realizing it needs radical changes. And as long as he lives he will keep doing that.
George Simpson, the sound editor: I have 1- year-old son and within these 20 days of working with Gennadiy I can clearly say that I would love to be for my son such a father as Gennadiy is. He has incredibly strong personality.
Corr.: What results do you expect from this work?
Steve: We plan to apply with this feature- length documentary to different cinematography festivals for it to be screened in many cities and countries and for people to watch it and for it to have an impact in various layers of society.
Corr: What kind of impact can this movie “Gennadiy” make?
Steve: Life of Gennadiy gives many messages to different people. One of the message is to challenge yourself – what do you personally do with your life? Do you change people’s lives? I hope so much that people will start asking themselves these questions and will appreciate this work being done here. We don’t have the whole concept of the movie yet but in the process of edition it will become evident. I believe this movie will help those people who are oppressed or find themselves in touch circumstances to find the way out and to see good changes in their lives and also will help those who would like to help others to stop injustice. Gennadiy is like a champion in this area. He is the one who is able can seek justice and it can encourage others to do that.
Corr.: It’s a 90- minute – movie. How is it possible to keep attention of the audience for such a long time? There is so risk, chaos and movements in modern movies. With what will the “Gennadiy” movie occupy people’s attention?
Steve: There won’t be any boring narration in the movie. Through the whole movie just Gennadiy and other characters will be shown. We will try to keep it intense and emotional full time. It will be very close to a feature film. Gennadiy is not a typical character. He is a bright and emotional personality and I am sure the audience will like him and their interest will grow with each minute of the movie.
The website of the movie – http://www.gennadiyfilm.com
Some shots from the movie: http://vimeo.com/70355492