Ukraine, Poland


Professional weightlifter Petro is preparing for an important competition. But before the competition, he receives tragic news that force him to make a difficult decision. Petro's inner conflict makes him into more than just a mechanical bundle of muscles.

Director's Statement

For a long time, I have been fascinated by the theme “The Denial of Peter” and the various different interpretations by different artists. In WEIGHTLIFETR I decided to put this biblical plot at the base of my story and present it as a sport drama. Other influences came from a detail in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biography, my own experience in weightlifting and stories by my former coach, who unfortunately passed away.
There are only 19 scenes in the film, but each of them is meticulously developed and worked on at the preparation stage, like a painting, where each tiniest detail matters, its plasticity and movement. The idea was to introduce a new side of the story and the soul of the main character, that is why every shot is prepared with great precision.

Director's Biography

Ukrainian director Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk graduated from Kyiv National Karpenko-Kary University of Theatre, Cinema and Television in 2013. During his studies he made several short films which were invited to and awarded at various festivals. He participated in the 2013 Berlinale Talent Campus and is founder of the Ukrainian script platform “Terrarium”. Dmytro is a contributor to the documentary project Babylon#13 (cinema of civil protest) in Kyiv, Ukraine. He received a scholarship from the Minister of Culture of Poland "Gaude Polonia" in 2015 and 2017, participated in TorinoFilmLab (Script&Pitch) 2016 and in Midpoint Intencive 2017.
He is also a member of the National Union of Filmmakers of Ukraine, member of the Ukrainian Film Academy and EFA Member since 2018. He participated in the Locarno Film Academy 2019 and his debut feature film project PAMFIR was selected to Cinefondation - The Résidence 2019.

2015 - INTERSECTION, short
2013 - KRASNA MALANKA, short
2012 - THE BEARD, short
2008 - ADOLESCENCE, short


How long did it take to make your short?
In development, it took four and a half months for the casting and four months for rehearsals, plus three weeks for the shooting and three months in post-production.

The WEIGHTLIFTER is an experiment between dacumentary and painting (there are only 19 shots).
Casting for the lead role was open only for professional weightlifters.
The shooting locations were classic weightlifting gyms all over Ukraine.
During pre-production two film rehearsals were shot, the first one was shot by the director, on Canon 60, the second one was shot with the stunts on RED Dragon with anamorphic lenses.

Was it difficult to get financing?
It was hard but the idea was to be a "free" to experiment with documentary characters and make all the preparation with "painting" shots. It took one year to secure the financing (the total budget was around EUR 70,000). The main funds came from the Ukraine State Film Agency, Studio Munka, the Polish Film Institute and -Stowarzyszenie Filmowców Polskich but we also received support from the Lviv Film Commission, the Embassy of Ukraine in Poland, the Ukrainian Weightlifting Federation, the GAUDE POLONIA Scholarship Programme, Fundacja Ukraińskie Centrum Informacyjne and the Chernivtsi City Council.

Which thoughts come to mind concerning a “European cinema community”?
EFA, all Academies from European countries and the Nisi Masa network of young cinema associations.

If you owned a theatre for one night, which films would you screen?
LEOLO by Jean-Claude Lauzon (1992), the film that got me thinking about making movies, and MY FRIEND IVAN LAPSHIN by Aleksey German (1985) because it is masterpiece. I can watch this film anytime, and a couple of times per year is a minimum.

What is your next project?
My next project is my debut feature film PAMFIR which was selected to Cinéfondation - The Résidence in 2019. The script was developed in two of the biggest script programs - TorinoFilmLab (Script&Pitch) and Midpoint Intencive.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk

Written by: Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk

Cinematography: Michał Rytel-Przełomiec

Editing: Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk

Cast: Aleksandr Loy (Petro), Valeria Khilko (girlfriend), Yuriy Shcherbyna (coach), Maxim Bereznuk (partner)

Nominations and Awards

  • Short Film Candidates 2019