The First Days: the Ukrainian title and poster of a feature series about each of us

• 18.08.2023

The 6-episode series Those Who Stayed, created by FILM.UA Group in partnership with European co-producers, received the Ukrainian title The First Days. Here is the series poster and the story about the future of the project.

The First Days is inspired by the events that took place in Kyiv in the first weeks of the Russian full-scale invasion. Back then, every other citizen of the capital left, but, at the same time, every other citizen stayed. The project is about them. 

The idea for the series appeared in the spring of 2022, at that time its development was supported by the German distributor Red Arrow Studios International. Thanks to unprecedented co-productions with the national broadcasters in Sweden (SVT), Norway (NRK), and Finland (YLE), the project was filmed in the spring of 2023 and will be released this fall in Europe and Ukraine, which is a record timeline for a production of this scale and complexity. 

In order to tell in one series the diverse stories of Ukrainians who woke up to the word "war" on February 24, the author of the idea, Anastasiia Lodkina, and producers Kateryna Vyshnevska and Anna Yelisieieva turned to the anthology format and invited 6 talented Ukrainian directors to cooperate, each of whom filmed an episode from their own author perspective. Moreover, each episode shares a common tone of love and hope that united us. In addition, all the stories are dedicated to family and human relationships, being told with warmth and signature Ukrainian humor that helps us to endure in these times. 

Now, The First Days team is presenting the official poster of the series, which depicts only some of the characters of the project, whose great asset is its 100%-star cast. 

The team is also preparing for a global promotional campaign. This autumn, Kyiv's stories will be shown on TV channels in countries across Europe. The series are set to debut in Finland on October 29th, 2023, on Yle TV1's prime slot, typically reserved for top-tier shows. In Sweden, the premiere will begin on the SVTplay platform on November 11, and on Friday, November 15, the series will be broadcast on STV, also in prime time. The project will also appear on TV screens in the Benelux countries (Lumière), Iceland (RUV), Denmark (DR), Czech Republic (Czech TV), Norway (NRK), Australia (SBS), and others. In Ukraine, the series will debut in winter on 1+1 TV channel and on digital platforms.

The First Days work materials were highly appreciated by partners and the European TV industry, in particular for the amazing quality and emotionality of the series, which indicates the team's deep involvement in the project and willingness to work despite any difficulties.

While still in development, in 2022, The First Days won the Conecta Award at the prestigious Göteborg's TV Drama Vision for the best work-in-progress project. This year, the project took part in Helsinki Script (an international event dedicated to series scripts) in June. The series was also presented at Conecta Fiction, one of the top 10 TV markets in the world, which took place in Toledo, Spain.

The First Days is the first project in Ukrainian commissioned by foreign TV channels, as well as one of the first TV series filmed in Ukraine this year. It allowed not only to provide hundreds of Ukrainians with jobs, but also to remind the world once again that the Ukrainian industry is alive and well even despite the enemy's insidious attacks.

Follow the project news on the film company's website and official Facebook and Instagram pages.


Format: game series
Genre: drama, comedy
Number of episodes and timing: 6x30
Showrunner: Anastasiia Lodkina
Screenwriters: Anastasiia Lodkina, Artem Lytvynenko, Serhii Lushchyk, Tala Prystaietska, Pavlo Ostrikov
Directors: Oleksii Yesakov, Artem Lytvynenko, Pavlo Ostrikov, Tala Prystaietska, Valentyn Shpakov, Katia Tsaryk

Cinematographers: Illia Yehorov, Oleksandr Roshchin, Tetiana Dudnik, Olena Chekhovska, Yurii Korol, Artem Vasyliev

Cast: Taras Tsymbaliuk, Kateryna Varchenko, Roman Lutskyi, Ahniia Lodkina, Kira Semenenko, Oksana Zhdanova, Antonina Khyzhnyak, Oleksandr Ladyka, Liliia Tsvielikova, Oleksandr Rudynskyi, Viacheslav Babenkov, Mariia Stopnyk, Fabian Mannel, Viacheslav Dovzhenko, Viktor Zhdanov, Yaroslav Bezkorovainyi, Mykhailo Korzhenivskyi
Producers: Anna Yelisieieva, Kateryna Vyshnevska
Executive producer: Kyrylo Horobets

Line producers: Yuliia Vasylieva, Mykola Kostiuchenko

Each episode is a fictional mini-film based on real events, the characters have real-life prototypes too. The news of the attack was a complete shock to all of them, dividing their lives into “before and “after: a homeless man who helped the local territorial defense brigade destroy the occupiers even without documents; the legend of Ukrainian pop music Andrii Danylko, who became an inspiration and example of resilience for millions; and the residents and workers of the largest suburban zoo.