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Girl of the Sky

A Ukrainian girl with an unwanted reputation is forced to stand up to her past.

Set within the Ukrainian ‘Urbex’ subculture (an extremely dangerous pastime for Ukrainian teens who climb up and hang off towers and bridges, popularised by YouTube), “Girl of the Sky” is an urban tale of teenage sexual expression, exploring the power dynamics between girls and boys in the aftermath of sexual encounters.

It’s #TIMESUP Ukraine style.

A couple of years ago a stumbled across some YouTube videos of ‘Urbex’ teenagers climbing up and hanging off towers and cranes in Eastern Europe. They were so mind blowingly dangerous, literally hanging off a crane with one hand, or walking across a narrow beam, or literally dangling their girlfriend above the abyss… I was obsessed. I wanted to learn more about this Urbex subculture, and why it seemed to have such traction in Ukraine and Russia. I connected wth a couple of these ‘Roofers’ online and flew to Kiev to check out some of their favourite spots. While there’s plenty of raw footage online, I’d never seen this subculture brought to life in a narrative form, so I was just searching for a story to tell. In the end, writer Raphael Elisha and I created a simple story about a teenage girl who is forced to stand up for herself and reclaim the narrative about a past sexual encounter that’s being used to torment her.

With so much to leave us cringing and on edge, the film’s never-ending rising suspense is literally cliffhanging. The storyline wonderfully switches from a cute romance to a thrilling power trip 1000 feet in the air. With #METOO and #TIMESUP so thunderous, the timing is perfect to tell a story like this with a strong female lead, played by an incredible young Ukrainian talent in Kireeva Alexandra. At the end of it all, we don’t remember seeing a short with a more satisfying revenge.

We shot on the Arri Alexa camera, as well as the iPhone for some of the kid’s phone footage. We didn’t use lights, partly because of the budget and setup time, but I actually liked the soft natural light that Kiev provided in October. It’s certainly nicer in broad daylight over there than I’m used to in Australia.

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