Mother of Chernobyl

Mother of Chernobyl is a Russian-language student short film produced at UCSB in the Spring of 2019. The film takes place in 1987 Ukraine, a year after the Chernobyl disaster. It follows the story of a woman named Masha, who stayed behind in the radiation zone with her newborn baby. After deciding to trek back to Kiev to reunite with her family, she ventures into the forest and believes a soldier is chasing her to take away her child. Masha must fight for herself and her family to do the only thing anyone could after Chernobyl: survive amidst unimaginable tragedy.

  • Alexander Shuryepov
  • Alexander Shuryepov
  • Mitchka Saberi
  • Alyona Khmara
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Tragedy
  • Runtime:
    30 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    7,400 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Alexander Shuryepov

Alex is a sophomore in the Television Writing & Production program at Chapman University. Born and raised in Texas, Alex worked in technical theatre for five years and film for three years. In high school he directed the full length play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and directed multiple narrative short films. In his freshman year at UC Santa Barbara, he was the Director of Photography on Sound of Serenity. Alex directed his first film production with a full cast and crew on Mother of Chernobyl this past Spring.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Keith Gessen's preface in the collection of memoirs "Voices from Chernobyl" stated that 'it was an accident that produced, in a way, more survivors than victims.' This film is about those survivors. My goal for "Mother of Chernobyl" is not to capture why the disaster happened or how it happened; my goal is to capture the emotions of the people affected by the disaster.

My mother and grandmother were both in Kiev during the time of the disaster; I grew up hearing them recount their side of the story. As I grew up, I heard more stories of people affected by the radiation and the overall tragedy that took place in Pripyat. It was a historically devastating event that, I feel, needs more emphasis on the humans that survived.

When I told my grandmother I was writing and directing this film, she told me how important it is to share this perspective with the rest of the world. That has pushed me forward to ensure this film captures exactly what I want: honest tragedy.