Private Project

Reserve Askania

Askania-Nova is the largest steppe wildlife sanctuary in Europe. It is located in the southern part of Ukraine, not far from the Crimea peninsula.
In pre-revolutionary times Askania-Nova was a prospering central estate of baron von Falz-Fein. This German colonist had built a railway, telegraph, and airport, and by virtue of a unique irrigation system had established an arboretum park and wildlife sanctuary. It was a real oasis in the middle of the wild steppe, where animals from all over the world lived without obstructions.
Dust never settles around the estate - this "ark" outlived two World Wars, and the Soviet period, and "landed" on the shore of contemporary Ukraine. Present and past are entangled in the reality of this world.
In order to underline this unique beauty, we created a documentary film about the life of animals and people in the wildlife sanctuary Askania-Nova. Film action is disclosed via three protagonists, whose destinies were entangled because of the wildlife sanctuary.
Pavlo - is a young scientific employee who considers ornithology as his avocation, but is forced to leave the wildlife sanctuary in search of a better fate.
Mykola - former veterinarian assistant, fired by the director of the wildlife sanctuary 25 years ago. He lives in a half-ruined house but still stays in a wildlife sanctuary for some reason.
Victor - one-eyed director of the wildlife sanctuary. He does everything for its protection because he loves the beauty of this region.
All of them, same as a wildlife sanctuary itself, are fallen out from contemporary realias, but by virtue of this had preserved their unique flamboyancy. But now not people only, but the wildlife sanctuary and animals are at the edge of survival and depletion. Will our characters be able to preserve the heritage of German barons on the Ukrainian steppe?

  • Andrii Lytvynenko
    VATTENTI, Science wins !!!, Up anyway, Good night, Kiev City Council, Around the circle, Sign of invisible
  • Andrii Lytvynenko
    VATTENTI, Science wins !!!, Up anyway, Good night, Kiev City Council, Around the circle, Sign of invisible
  • Anna Palenchuk
    Numbers, 2020#desertedcountry, Hero of my time, Close relations, Mariupolis, Estalgia
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 15 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    February 28, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Russian, Ukrainian
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Docudays Ua International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival
    March 25, 2019
    Ukrainian premiere
    National section\ Winner of the prise from student jury
Director Biography - Andrii Lytvynenko

In 2012 he graduated from the Karpenko-Kary Kyiv University of Theater, Film, and Television. Specialty - director of cinema and television. Was the author of the idea and one of the directors of the movie almanac OUT EURO, the World Cup Euro 2012, took part in the anthologies "Ukrainian Voices" and "Maidan. Installation The draft", "Kyiv from sunrise to sunrise". Work in film production. Нas made a short film "Burtz". In 2013 had granted "Guade Polonia", and studied at Warsaw School Wajda in the studio of documentary films. The author of the idea of the film "The Process: The Russian State Against Oleg Sentsov".


• 2011 – documentary "Sign of invisible", 16 min.;

• 2012 – documentary "Around the circle", 12 min.;

• 2014 – documentary "Good night, Kyiv City Council", 6 min.;

• 2016 – documentary “Up anyway”, 16 min.;

• 2017 – documentary "Science wins !!!", 12 min.;

• 2017 – documentary "VATTENTI", 9 min., Italy-Ukraine.

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Director Statement

Since my childhood, I've been visiting Askania-Nova, because I was born in Kherson, located 154 kilometers away from the wildlife sanctuary. Walking here since I was a child, I've never thought that I will film my native shore and the people who live there. I started to film there unexpectedly, after the events at Maidan. I was curious about the way the people from my country outlive the same events, and how these events had changed their world perception. In Askaniya I saw people committed to their business, who in the course of the annexation of Crimea and hauling of military techniques and construction of a board that is now forty kilometers from a wildlife sanctuary, continue their business despite everything. In course of filming which took a long time, the characters allowed a very close approach.
The image of Askaniya is the image of an extremely precious (sanctuary) kind of diamond that remained in the mud. This is ultimately a film about unique animals and people who live in an oasis in the middle of a half desert and are fighting for their existence in the environment, in drastically changing political, economic, and weather conditions. This world is in danger. Due to our negligent social attitude, we can lose this miracle.