The film “Chernobyl: Men of Steel” tells the story of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster from the point of view of the Samosely – the indigenous inhabitants of the villages evacuated because of radioactive contamination. Grieved by the Soviet authorities’ decision, they returned to their abandoned villages, where they live out their days. There are only a few dozen of them left. A story that the world has so far refused to listen to is dying, so are they. Among them, there are people who did not know what radiation was, as well as those who were directly helping the first victims of the nuclear reactor explosion.
Since 2017, I have been documenting the history of Chernobyl. In creating this film, I wanted to give a voice to the people that no one wanted to listen to before, namely the Samosely – the Indigenous People of the Chernobyl Zone. Over the past few years, I have been interviewing the Samosely to get their story, their point of view, and the consequences of their decisions. This is a film that I am very proud of. Mainly because it features people directly connected to the Chernobyl disaster. It is important for me that they are not fully aware of what they were participating in, and that is the most valuable thing. What is important for a historian are the testimonies of people who do not realize the importance of the small details they introduce. Such as babushka Valentina telling us why she threw the firemen’s clothes into the basement of the hospital, which are still there today. Many of them tell, with tears in their eyes, how they were thrown out of their homes, even up to several years after the disaster. With tears because they did not know if they would be able to return to their land. Their testimonies stand in sharp contrast to the official version of the Soviet, and later Ukrainian, authorities that the evacuation of these areas was necessary. They were thrown out of the land of their fathers, despite the fact that the radiation around their homes is lower than in central New York.
The film “Chernobyl: Men of steel” tells the story of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster from the point of view of the Samosely – the indigenous inhabitants of the villages depopulated by radioactive contamination. Not agreeing with the decision of the Soviet authorities, they returned to their villages, where they live out their days. There are only a few dozen of them left. They are dying out along with the story that the world did not want to hear so far. Among them are people who did not know what radiation was, as well as those who were directly involved in helping the first victims of a nuclear reactor explosion. According to various estimates, there were initially between 1,600 and 3,000 of them, but only a few dozen have survived to this day. These are very elderly people, cut off from stores, running water and sometimes even electricity. Despite this, they persistently defend their land and their beliefs. The humanitarian action to help the inhabitants of the zone, which is presented in the film, has been taking place since 2017 with a fixed line-up: Amadeusz Kocan, Krystian Machnik, Maciej Bogaczyk.
- Amadeusz Kocan — director, screenwriter, producer, camera operator, editor, colorist
- Krystian Machnik — cast, texts, humanitarian action organizer
- Maciej Bogaczyk — cast, photo-report
- Bartosz Wabno — VFX, camera operator
- Alan Bucki — score
- Janusz Kocan — sound mix
- Mirosław Utta — narrator
- Kinga Klakla — graphics
- Marek Baryshevskyi — interpreter
Technical data “Chernobyl: Men of Steel”
- Type: Documentary
- Duration: 60 min
- Other: Color / Cinemascope 2.39:1
- Budget: 6,500 USD • Country of origin: Poland
- Shooting format: digital, spherical / anamorphic
- Language: Polish, Ukrainian, Russian
- Production: XBestCinema
- Completion date: 10.01.2022
Amadeusz Kocan – Born 1994 in Zielona Góra. Polish independent film director. Founder of XBest- Cinema film studio. Graduated first degree from the Polish National Music Academy. Worked in polish TV broadcasting. Director of both feature and documentary films. Creator of the first independent polish post-apocalyptic film “The Last Loner”, which was awarded at various film festivals. Deeply connected to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, took part in many expeditions aimed to help the people that still live in the Chernobyl area. Since 2017 he has been dedicated to preserving and archiving The Exclusion Zone and its native inhabitants through his films. He worked on projects with brands such as: Strong First Polska, KOWEZiU, Militaria.pl, Stand-Up Polska, Napromieniowani. pl, Quest Europe, Polsat and more.