The Door, a 17 minute film directed by Juanita Wilson and produced by James Flynn, has been nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the Academy Awards 2010. Filmed in Pripyat and Kiev, Ukraine, with Russian dialogue and English subtitles, The Door explores events associated with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster through the eyes of Nikolai (Igor Sigov), Anya (Juliette Gering) and their daughter Lena (Liliya Grechk). The film opens with an absurd act: stealing a door. This raises a question in the viewer’s mind, a question which is not answered until the final shot where the door’s purpose is revealed. Then, what had seemed an absurd act turns into a simple statement of human dignity, of people making sense of loss through ritual.
THE DOOR reflects the fact that it is based on someone’s testimony. Images are impressionistic, haunting, like fragments of memories which the viewer must piece together. Although the main character, Nikolai, gives us the facts, he himself is trying to make sense of them in his own mind. The story moves forwards and backwards in time, revealing the events retrospectively as the viewer bears witness to the universal tragedy of Chernobyl through the eyes of one man.
The Door was written and directed by Juanita Wilson, based on the “Monologue about a whole life written down on doors, the testimony of Nikolai Fomich Kalugin” by Belarusian investigative journalist and prose writer Svetlana Alexievich.
The film was produced by Louise Curran and James Flynn, Octagon Films, with director of photography Tim Fleming, production designer Susie Cullen, editor Nathan Nugent, sound editor Niall Brady, sound mixer Ken Galvin, colourists Anna Kierans and Gary Curran, online editors Oleg Jitov and Warren Dowling. Location sound was by Sergey Movchan and Kirill Sedykh.
Music by Brian Doyle was produced by Tanya Neistova, Esse Production House, Kiev.
The Door has been awarded the IFTA for Short Film 2009, Grand OFF 2009 for Best Director at the World OFF Film Awards, Warsaw, Poland, the Claire Lynch Award and Best First Short by an Irish Director at the Cork International Film Festival 2008, Best Irish Short Film at Foyle Film Festival 2008, the Gold Medal Fiction award at Bilbao International Film Festival 2008, Best Short Film at Irish Film and Television Awards 2008, and the Katrin Cartlidge Bursary 2009 at the Sarajevo Film Festival.
The Oscars will be announced on Sunday March 7.