Porcelain War

After Russian forces invade their country, three Ukrainian friends and artists choose to remain in Kharkiv. Painter Andrey exchanges his brush for a camera to document how he and his friend Slava, a ceramic artist, must defend their home. While serving in the Ukrainian Special Forces, Slava trains a team of civilians to become soldiers near the frontlines of the war. Slava and his wife Anya find purpose and meaning through their art, creating porcelain sculptures to tell their stories and preserve their humanity.

Porcelain War is an inspiring and exquisitely edited documentary that combines home movies, nature photography, animation sequences, and drone and body cam footage collected during combat. This dramatic collage captures the importance of making art in times of war and how storytelling can serve as a form of self-preservation and resistance in times of devastating loss. Ultimately, these artists show how Ukraine is like porcelain: easy to break but impossible to destroy. Winner of the Sundance U.S. Grand Jury Prize. — Thaïs Miller

BRENDAN BELLOMO (Director, Writer, Editor) was the recipient of a 2009 Student Academy Award® for Live Action Narrative. Bellomo’s passion for storytelling was first sparked when he was a child. Beginning his career in visual effects, he supervised the 2012 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and Oscar® nominee for Best Picture Beasts of the Southern Wild (Fox Searchlight). Most recently, Bellomo was the executive producer on the Netflix Original Chupa. Bellomo worked closely with Annie Leibovitz on the global exhibit Women: New Portraits and designed the curriculum for the first visual effects course at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, which led him on the path to eventually pair with his directing partner, Slava Leontyev.

SLAVA LEONTYEV (Director, Film Subject) is a first-time director born into a family of biologists in Ukraine. Merging his love of nature and art, Leontyev has spent his life studying painting, photography, graphic design and art theory. Alongside his wife and longtime collaborator Anya Stasenko, Leontyev now creates the porcelain sculptures featured in this film. He is also a former soldier of the Ukrainian Special Forces and a highly regarded weapons instructor for civilians who are currently defending their country against Russian aggression.

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