Porcelain War

Ukraine | 2024 | 87 min. | Brendan Bellomo, Slava Leontyev

As the Russia-Ukraine war rages on, Kharkiv-based Slava Leontyev and Anya Stasenko make tiny porcelain figurines. What does it mean to continue with their artistic passions as the world crumbles around them? Winner of the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2024.

Co-Director Brendan Bellomo; Co-Director/Subject Slava Leontyev; Subjects Anya Stasenko and Frodo the dog; and Producers Paula DuPré Pesmen, Olivia Ahnemann, and Aniela Sidorska scheduled to attend.

“Ukraine is like porcelain, easy to break, but impossible to destroy.” —Co-director, Brendan Bellomo

Under roaring fighter jets and missile strikes, Ukrainian artists Slava, Anya, and Andrey choose to stay behind and fight, contending with the soldiers they have become. Defiantly finding beauty amid destruction, they show that although it’s easy to make people afraid, it’s hard to destroy their passion for living. The award-winning feature documentary Porcelain War argues that, while under a vicious attack, you can learn to fight back using all the tools you have including your art. Imbued with the striking nature of Kharkiv, the film also features music by Ukrainian force of sound DakhaBrakha, which is not easily forgotten. “We’re ordinary people in an extraordinary situation” is how co-director Slava Leontyev describes their current life. Though there is nothing ordinary about them—these artists, farmers, IT specialists—they together to fight their oppressor. Porcelain War is a sobering and hopeful cinematic experience. Co-directors Leontyev and Bellomo manage to capture the dissonance between the horrors of war and the fragile, artful beauty of nature. Anya and Slava’s porcelain pieces come to life in intricately crafted animations that offer context to their story and a vital, beautiful outlet for processing grief.

—Eden Sapir

  • Director: Brendan Bellomo, Slava Leontyev
  • Principal Cast: Slava Leontyev, Anya Stasenko, Andrey Stefanov, Frodo
  • Country: Ukraine, USA, Australia
  • Year: 2024
  • Running Time: 87 min.
  • Producer: Aniela Sidorska, Paula DuPré Pesmen, Camilla Mazzaferro, Olivia Ahnemann
  • Screenplay: Aniela Sidorska, Brendan Bellomo, Paula DuPre' Pesmen, Slava Leontyev
  • Cinematographers: Andrey Stefanov
  • Editors: Brendan Bellomo, Aniela Sidorska, Kelly Cameron
  • Music: DakhaBrakha
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Sundance Film Festival 2024 (U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Ukrainian, Russian
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: Submarine