Ukraine, Germany, Poland, Slovakia


Set amidst stunning Ukrainian winter landscapes, vanishing villages, and emerging feelings of alienation between people in post-Soviet society, STEPNE is the story of Anatoliy, a man who comes back home from the big city to take care of his dying mother.

The mother’s passing, a meeting with his brother, and a woman he loves make him reflect on the life he’s had and the choices he made along the way. And then, just before her death, the mother tells Anatoliy about a treasure she has buried in the shed…

Director's Statement

The idea of the film came to me from the moment my grandfather and grandmother passed away and I didn't have any more time to ask my questions about our family and my country's Soviet past. The silence of the past generations about their own history made me create this film – as a question about the history of my family and my country's post-Soviet society.

As a young Ukrainian, I was expecting social changes in the society. Something extremely big. And I was imagining it to be a part of that social explosion in the country, which came in 2013-2014 in the form of the Revolution of Dignity. In addition, I was interested in describing the atmosphere of the new era of the oligarchs and the society's values which, at the time, had been changing drastically, sometimes in a very brutal way.

As a filmmaker, I was always interested in the topic of disappearance, vanishing, departure, and parting with something really valuable. That refers to the disappearance of the whole system of social relations between people, erasing the past of a person or the state due to changes in a social structure; it is a farewell to these elusive things that would never come back. I was amazed to witness the vanishing of Ukrainian villages, and I felt the need to capture it all, to pay tribute to the past and catch a part of the culture that was fading.

STEPNE is an elegiac tale with silence as one of the main characters. It's the stillness that covers the endless Ukrainian steppes and echoes in the sounds of the past generations.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Maryna Vroda

Written by: Maryna Vroda, Kirill Schuvalov

Produced by: Maryna Vroda

Cinematography: Andrii Lysetskyi

Editing: Franziska Wenzel, Maryna Vroda, Marek Sulik

Production Design: Mychailo Alekseenko

Costume Design: Volodymyr Kuznetzov, Oksana Kovtun

Original Score: Anton Baibakov

Sound Design: Igor Jedinák, Sergiy Prokopenko

Visual Effects: Ladislav Dedík, Ondrej Azor, Martin Durinska

Casting: Olga Savina, Olga Lubarova

Cast: Oleksandr Maksiakov (Anatoliy), Nina Antonova (Mother), Oleg Primogenov (Oleksiy), Radmila Shchogolieva (Anna)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2023