Photophobia (2023)


On a cold February morning, 12-year-old Niki and his family arrive at the Kharkiv metro station to take shelter from the terrifying war raging outside. For Niki’s family, daylight is synonymous with mortal danger, and the boy is not allowed to leave the station premises, living under the constant glow of their neon lights. While aimlessly wandering around the abandoned cars and full platforms, Niki meets Vika (11), and a new world opens up to him. As their bond strengthens, the children find the courage once again to feel the sun on their faces.


“The path of hope” Cineuropa

A vital part of the global conversation on humanity’s collective responsibility toward diplomacy and peace.Obviously Reviews

“An original, intelligent and poetic” Filmkommentaren

Videointerview, Cineuropa

“The film – running a tight and thoughtful 72 minutes – does a great job of showing matter-of-fact style how the people live this surreal underground life, sad and often tearful but also with an underlying resilienceBusiness Doc Europe

Photophobia is a truly emotionally resonant film with an immense heart and genuine love for humanity.” International Cinephile Society

News: Venice: “Ukraine Drama ‘Photophobia’ Wins Europa Cinemas Label Award” Hollywood Reporter

News: “Slovak Oscar Entry and Venice Prize Winner ‘Photophobia’ Acquired for World Sales by Filmotor” Variety

Ivan Ostrochovsky & Pavol Pekarcik, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, 2023, 71´
Broadcasters & distribution
RTVS, Czech Television, Slovakia: Filmtopia, Czech Republic: Cineart, Festivals on Tour: Movies that Matter Netherlands, Ambulante Mexico Tour, Beldocs Distribution - West Balkan, Spain - TV3 Catalonia, Central Europe - Kinedok, Educational: ADAV
Venice IFF - Giornate degli autori, Cinematik Piestany, Warsaw IFF, Cin East, DOK Leipzig, Jihlava IDFF, Riga IFF, Cottbuss IFF, FIDOCS Chile, Arras IFF, Les Arcs FF, Goteborg IFF, Santa Barbara IFF, Big Sky IDFF, Ibiza Cine Fest, FIFDH Geneve,
Europa Cinemas Label - Giornate degli autori, Best Documentary Film - Warsaw IFF, Best Documentary at Czech Joy Competition Jihlava IDFF, DaFilms Award - One World Slovakia, Best Documentary - Czech Film Critics' Award, Documentary Youth Jury Award at FIFDH Genève
World except of Slovakia, Czech Republic and Ukraine

Ivan and Pavol both debuted with their feature documentary Velvet Terrorists (2013), which they have co-directed with Peter Kerekes and which won the Tagesspiegel Readers’ Award at Berlinale’s Forum.

Pavol’s solo debut feature was hybrid Silent Days (2019), presented at the Karlovy Vary IFF’s East of the West competition, while Ivan continued with the feature Koza (2015), returning to the Forum at the Berlinale once again. Ivan’s second feature Servants (2020) was presented in a world premiere at the then newly established Berlinale competition Encounters. Ivan is the author and co-writer of 107 Mothers (2021), which won the Orizzonti Best Screenplay at Venice IFF, won the Arab Critics’ Award 2021 and received the European Film Award 2022 nomination for European Discovery.

They together co-created the hybrid Photophobia (2023), which premiered at Venice’s Giornate degli Autori and received the Europa Cinemas Label award.