EXCLUSIVE: Nacelle, the studio behind Down to Earth with Zac Efron and Grant, Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History, has struck a deal to distribute a feature-length doc filmed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The company has taken worldwide rights to Comedy of War: Laughter in Ukraine.
The doc comes from filmmakers Christopher Walters and Krista Liney, who runs producer Maiden, and shows the brutal reality of the conflict through the lens of stand-up comedians touring in war-torn Ukraine. Nacelle plans to take the doc to film festivals before launching worldwide sales.
The documentary follows four rising stars of Ukrainian stand-up comedy, each with a unique perspective on the war currently being waged in their homeland. Performing in converted bomb shelters, they laugh in spite of the war, not at it.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine began almost a year ago and has left tens of thousands dead and millions displaced. Comedy of War’s filmmakers say that, despite the danger, citizens have tried to maintain a sense of normalcy.
The deal was negotiated by Anna Roberts on behalf of Nacelle. The project is helmed by Christopher Walters and Krista Liney, with Krista producing and Walters producing and directing. Joshua Zimmerman and Ukrainian comedian Anton Tymoshenko are also producers on the project. The film is being edited by David Dodson, an LA-based, Ukrainian-speaking editor who has directed several comedic feature films that starred Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during his acting days.
“This is a complex story with several layers. It’s about resilience and survival. It’s about pursuing dreams. It’s an optimistic, yet a very real, visceral portrayal of daily life in war-torn Ukraine for these comedians,” said Liney.
“Within hours of learning about the existence of this film, we worked with a singular focus to come on board a project so important, we felt the physical need to get as many eyeballs on it as possible,” added Brian Volk-Weiss, founder and CEO of Nacelle.
Nacelle’s doc series include Down To Earth with Zac Efron and the NAACP Image award-nominated Kevin Hart’s Guide To Black History, Netflix’s The Movies That Made Us and The Toys That Made Us, Behind The Attraction on Disney+ and Sony’s Mad About You among others.