The documentary short White Horse is a one-day trip back with Maxim Surkov to see the home that he was evacuated from as a 10-year-old boy. The film begins in Kiev where Maxim and most of the Pripyat residents were resettled, and follows him as he goes to the Exclusion Zone, the thirty-kilometer zone around the reactor where no one is permitted without special passes. When Maxim enters Pripyat, just three miles from ground zero, he remembers the places of his hometown, now an empty city. Due to high levels of plutonium, some parts of the city of Pripyat will be unfit for human habitation for thousands years.
This is not the first journey to Chernobyl for filmmaker Maryann De Leo, who also explored the aftermath of this devastating disaster in the 2004 HBO Documentary Chernobyl Heart. Winner of the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short, that 40-minute film followed the invisible but deadly trail that radiation left behind, profiling those who were hardest hit by radiation poisoning, from young adults plagued with thyroid cancer, to children with congenital birth and heart defects who are exiled in bleak institutions.
White Horse was nominated for a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2008.
About the Filmmakers: In addition to her Academy Award® for Chernobyl Heart, Maryann De Leo was nominated for an Emmy® in cinematography for the same film. She has also received two Emmy®s, the 1995 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award, and the CableACE Award for her 1991 HBO Documentary Rape: Cries from the Heartland. She was awarded the bronze award at the 1998 Tokyo Video Festival for the 1997 HBO documentary Six Months to Live: Alternative Medicine and the Fight for Life. De Leo was a director on the memorable 1995 HBO Documentary High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell.
Christophe bisson is a french artist. After studying philosophy at the Paris Sorbonne University, he devoted himself to painting. His recent exhibitions brought him to Barcelona, Budapest, Kiev, Vilnius, Istanbul and New York. In 2008, he was the curator of an international conference on Chernobyl that took place in Lyon, France. White Horse is his first film.
Credits: A film by Maryann De Leo and Christophe Bisson; Editors: Flavia Fontes and Jeremy Stulberg.