CPH:FORUM project. The Hamlet Syndrome

CPH:FORUM project. The Hamlet Syndrome

In a new doc to be directed by Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski, a young stage director turns to the Bard to help identify Ukraine’s post-Maidan generation.


Polish producer Magdalena Kaminska points how a unique stage production combining real life stories and Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the starting point for a documentary about the young Ukrainian generation whose Euromaidan Revolution from 2014 turned their country upside down, and who soon afterwards had to respond to nightmarish experiences of violence and death.


This is the concept she will pitching online to potential co-pro, distribution and sales partners during this week’s CPH:FORUM.

The film of the experience will be directed by the multi-award winning team of Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski, who co-directed Der Prinz und der Dybbuk (2017) and Domino Effekt (2014). The project, produced by Kaminska for Balapolis, is budgeted at €477,297 with €308,320 currently in place. The co-producer is Kundschafter (Germany).

“Children of the revolution, naive rebels, dreamers brutally awakened from sleep,”  is how Roza Sarkisian, a young Ukrainian theatre director, describes her generation as she looks to prepare a documentary performance featuring a group of modern Ukrainian Hamlets. (Taken from project notes.)


The young people joining forces on the theatre stage hold very different political and social views. But what unites them all is that they have had to experience things in recent years that have profoundly altered their lives and perspectives. The stage here becomes a neutral venue of encounter and collective reckoning for a generation defined by turmoil. All the protagonists were confronted with a brutal political struggle and war in eastern Ukraine.


“We are putting them into this artificial situation of auditioning in preparation for this ‘Hamlet’ production, but at the same time I think it can work as a kind of therapy for them,” adds Kaminska. “It’s not like they all have the same opinion on things – and they come from different backgrounds with different points of view, and I think that this performance also gives them a chance somehow recover from the situation.”


Kaminska talks up the qualities of her co-directors. “The way they approach their protagonists is for me, unique. They are very cinematic. They can go into distant communities and bring back stories that we haven’t seen before in a very humanistic and gentle way.


“I am mostly experienced in feature films, and at one point we didn’t want to produce documentaries anymore, but when I read this project and met Piotr and Elvira I got a new energy for filmmaking.”