First Ukrainian film of the new year from FILM.UA! Kyiv hosted a grand premiere of Maid-in-Law romantic fantasy feature based on Felix Austria, a bestseller by Sofia Andrukhovych

• 14.01.2020

On January 16, the film will be widely released in Ukraine. In honor of the long-awaited premiere, Kyiv cinema Oskar (Gulliver mall) held a special pre-premiere screening of the film with the participation of the film crew, actors and celeb guests.

The first ones to see the film were journalists and media representatives. After the screening, the participants were in for a Q&A session with the participation of film director Khrystyna Syvolap, writer Sofia Andrukhovych, producer Nadia Zayonchkovska, composer Yevhen Filatov, cameraman Oleksiy Lamakh, lead actors Marianna Januszewicz, Alesya Romanova, Roman Lutsky, Sebastian Cybulsky and Veronika Yasinska, director at Volha Ukraine distribution company.

We are very happy to release a film like Maid-in-Law. For us, it is a challenge of sorts as no such high-level project has ever been made in Ukraine. This is a visually perfect movie made according to the highest standards of global cinema. We as distributors put in as much effort as we could to ensure the widest coverage of Ukrainian cinemas and to give everyone an opportunity to enjoy this film. We are looking forward to welcoming everybody in cinemas!” said Veronika Yasinska.

As for eroticism, in the movie just like in the book we also ask questions and don’t provide answers about an intimate relationship between the protagonists. And this was our conscious decision because it is for the viewer to decide what’s happening between Stefa and Adelya. We wanted to preserve the lack of clarity in their relationship, and the challenge here is that letters is one thing and when you transfer them on screen they become the physics of naked bodies. Keeping the mystery in such conditions is extremely hard but I think we have managed it,” said Khrystyna Syvolap.

I was very impressed by the filming process and how everything was organized, the set, the technical means and finally the people. We’ve become good friends on the set so when I came back home I missed everyone a lot,” said Marianna Januszewicz.


Alesya Romanova also told about her role: “It was not hard for me to play this role. On the contrary, it was a great source of enjoyment. As for similarity with Adelya I, probably like all girls, really wanted to be a lady in my childhood. So trying this image on was interesting!”

For me writing symphonic music is not something new, as well as working with string orchestras, but seeing the fruit of my work in a cinema is a first for me. And I am very happy about that. Trusting a debutant demanded great courage, all the while hoping he’d give the best in him. I did that with the greatest pleasure, I am very grateful to the whole group and I hope that it will become the start of my path as a film composer,” said Yevhen Filatov.

In the very beginning I decided that it would be smartest to distance myself and to trust the team. Because I saw that Nadya Zayonchkovska, film producer, is really taken and wants to make something incredible, and this is the most important thing. And I accepted that it could be different from my novel, not better or worse, rather an interpretation. And this is even more fascinating for me than observing a copy of my imaginings that I already know very well,” said Sofia Andrukhovych.

Meanwhile in the theatre lobby the film crew and partners gathered along with the representatives of film industry, media and show business: Valeriy Bebko and Yulia Sanina from THE HARDKISS band, directors Akhtem Seitablayev and Antonio Lukic, founder and head of organizational committee at Ukrainian Fashion Week Iryna Danylevska, Pianoboy’s PR manager Olga Shurova, actor and politician Yevhen Nyschuk, actors Irma Vitovska and Natalia Vasko, former head of Ukrainian State Film Agency Pylyp Illenko, TV hosts Solomia Vitvytska, Nadia Matveyeva and Vyacheslav Solomka, ex-general manager at Novyi TV channel Oleksiy Gladushevsky, OIFF general producer Yulia Synkevych, singer Laud, designer Jean Grytsfeld and other celeb guests.


Maid-in-Law movie, just like the original story, is saturated with magic, fantasies of the protagonist and her whimsical dreams. That is why it is no accident that the grand premiere of the film took place on the eve of Old New Year. The event’s partner, Latinium Sparkling wine trademark, helped enhance the festive ambience.

The guests were also in for thematic surprises from the film crew.

First of all, it was the exhibition of incredible costumes used in Maid-in-Law. The project’s costume designer Lesya Patoka developed over 150 costumes specially for the film and compiled over 300 looks dating back to the verge of the 19th and 20th centuries, including everyday and festive outfits along with uniforms for policemen, the military and doctors. Besides, a lot of original jewelry, headgear, footwear and accessories were produced and found. During the premiere, the guests were demonstrated 15 mannequins wearing unique outfits; animators whose clothes and makeup took you back in time to recreate the film’s ambience in the best way possible; and moodboards with costume sketches and descriptions of key features in the visual style of film characters.

An important part of the story is dedicated to the art of illusion. One of the most popular exhibits among the guests was the magic flask with the flying comb of the protagonist. By the way, it is one of the three combs developed according to Lesya Patoka’s sketches exclusively for the film.


Seven incredible posters were dedicated to the main characters in the story: Stefa, Adelya, Petro Skolyk, Dr Anger and Velvel, Ernest Torn and the actress of his theatre as well as the city of Stanislaviv (currently Ivano-Frankivsk). Each poster combined artistic methods of cinema and literature: the visual embodiment of characters worked thanks to the professionalism of film actors, and the description of characters is based on the original work by Sofia Andrukhovych. The seventh and the last poster became a dedication to Sofia’s novel.

Besides, the exhibition featured an original of watercolor painting by Svitlana Dorosheva which served as a concept poster for the film in the first stages of its production. When creating the picture, Svetlana was inspired by modern and art nouveau styles which were characteristic for Belle Époque, the time when film events unfold, and the works by Czech painter Alphonse Mucha, one of the most memorable art nouveau representatives. The painting became the basis for the first official poster of Maid-in-Law.

It was impossible to ignore a stand from FILM.UA Group Store with a very beautiful souvenir collection created specially for Maid-in-Law premiere. The stand featured elements of clothing, various accessories and books from Vydavnytstvo Staroho Leva publishing house.

By the way, the publishing house organized a giveaway of two gift sets including Felix Austria novel and a cooking notebook Halychyna Delights where the reader will find recipes from Halychyna cuisine from a well-known cooking blogger Ms Stefa along with ambient photos and stills from the film.

Even more beauty to the premiere was added by the zone with an exquisite jewelry collection in Belle Époque style, VIDDANA BY ZARINA, created in honor of collaboration between FILM.UA and ZARINA jewelry house under the aegis of movie project. Among the guests the lucky winner was drawn who received an elegant choker.

The evening peaked in a performance by Odyn v Kanoe band with its hit Choven (The Boat), which made it to the official soundtrack of Maid-in-Law and served as a central composition for the first official teaser to the film.

I am very nervous today even though we had a premiere in Lviv on Saturday but each time the audience is new and it’s fascinating to hear new feedback. I’d like to note that for FILM.UA it is one of the projects in the Big Screenings line which, for example, includes The Rising Hawk with a big premiere last October so I also hope for success. I want to thank everyone who came today, it’ll be great to hear your thoughts. And for now, have a good projection!” said film producer Nadia Zayonchkovska greeting the audience and wishing everyone a good screening.

The audience met end credits with loud applause. The actors and participants of the film crew talked to the audience in the lobby for a long time, expressing words of thanks to each other.

The guests praised the film a lot and shared their impressions after the screening:

This is a very beautiful film, huge work accomplished! I am a great fan of Lesya Patoka’s creations, and she was the costume designer for the film, so I was happy to see her incredible works on big screen. I am also delighted that a Ukrainian novel became the basis for the film and received such continuation, a new and different life for itself. And generally I congratulate the whole group on a great premiere and wish for the film to gather a big audience,” said Yulia Synkevych, general producer at Odesa International Film Festival.

An incredible movie, very beautifully filmed, with interesting cameraman’s finds. Very ambient. I wasn’t thinking that it was a Ukrainian film because it is a cool example of European cinema. I wasn’t bored at all when watching, it was captivating, beautiful and very aesthetically pleasing,” said Yulia Sanina, THE HARDKISS band leader.

I have always believed that any work is a piece of art only when it can kindle an emotion. And the fact that I left after the film in such elated mood, very kind and a bit crazy, characterizes the film in the best way possible. I am very happy that such movie has seen the light. And I think that all of us have to receive injections of beauty and kindness from time to time. Going to see Maid-in-Law is a small vaccination against things happening around, a chance to support your inner world, to make it cozier and kinder, “ said Iryna Danylevska, founder and head of organizational committee at Ukrainian Fashion Week.

I’ve caught myself thinking that the film is different from other Ukrainian projects due to the incredible shots of cooking and eating. This is not by chance; gastronomy is the main theme of the whole film and showcases the traditions of the time. And it has been filmed really well. I left the cinema in a very positive mood, this is a beautiful movie, Ukrainian cinema is growing,” said Pylyp Illenko, head of Ukrainian State Film Agency (from August 2014 until August 2019).

It is very hard for me to evaluate this film because when you finally reach end credits you understand that 80 per cent of people making it are the people who you know well and respect a lot. But if I try evaluating I can say that it is cool, beautiful and energetic. And this is just a wonderful screening,” said Olga Shurova, PR manager for Pianoboy.

Starting from January 16, Maid-in-Law romantic fantasy feature will be released in the country’s cinemas.

Just a reminder: the national premiere took place on January 11, and Lviv became the first Ukrainian city to see Maid-in-Law. The screening took place with the participation of project team; Lviv residents had the film introduced by lead actors, the director and the producer. Besides, an autograph session from Sofia Andrukhovych was organized. On January 15, the premiere will take place in Ivano-Frankivsk, the native city of the original novel’s author and the set for the events in the story.

Don’t forget to follow the project news on its pages on Facebook and Instagram.

Synopsis: The story starts in Stanislaviv (currently Ivano-Frankivsk) in the second half of the 19th century. Doctor Anger loses his wife in the fire but manages to rescue two girls: his own daughter Adelya and the daughter of housekeepers Stefania. In a moment of despair, the doctor decides to bring them up together.

25 years pass. The girls have grown up and are still inseparable though Adelya is now married. As for Stefa, she tends to the house and drowns her passion in cooking. But they still don’t understand who they are to each other: sisters and friends or a maid and a mistress. In the kaleidoscope of love and jealousy, double-entendres and secrets the boundary between reality and fiction disappears altogether. Elegant outfits, sophisticated dishes and endless promenades… What will happen when the illusion will start dispelling and reality will come into the foreground instead?

Project producer: Nadia Zayonchkovska

Screenwriters: Alina Semeryakova in collaboration with Sofia Andrukhovych

Director: Khrystyna Syvolap

DOP: Oleksiy Lamakh

Art director: Oleksandr Batenev

Costume designer: Lesya Patoka

Makeup artist: Maria Kolomiyets

Casting director: Alla Samoylenko

Cast: Marianna Januszewicz, Alesya Romanova, Roman Lutsky, Oleksandr Kobzar, Sergiy Volosovets, Ada Rogovtseva, Kateryna Kukhar, Yevhen Yanovych, Natalya Vasko, Irma Vitovska, Vazha Goderdzishvili, Sebastian Cybulsky, Yasin Faradzhallakh, Maryna Koshkina.

Produced by: FILM.UA Production with the support of Ukrainian Government and Ministry of Culture


Distributor: Volha Ukraine