In late February, Ukrainian viewers saw a first season of a costume historical drama “Fortress”, which became a joint development of STB (StarLight Films) and FILM.UA. Outfits of the 19th century, the historical locations, the plot and the acting has caused heated discussion in society. The story tells about the life of Ukrainians in the days of serfdom. The sad fate of the heroine Catherine, who was born a serf, but was raised as a noble lady, left no one indifferent. The first season of the series led the top broadcast all TV channels on weekdays. Along with the enthusiastic reviews, “Serf” and received condemnation from some critics, complained about the Russian language in the series and was dissatisfied with the selected name. Why “Krosna” and not “Cracka” how to choose the actress for the lead role, what happens to the characters in the second season and how this story will end – has frankly told “Znayu” author and creative producer of the series Tala Priteca.
Tala Priteca and directed by Maxim Litvinov
The first season of “the Fortress” showed high ratings of TV viewing. On film forums, social networks sparked serious battles because of some things in the series. About them and would like to talk more. Let’s start with language. The characters speak in Russian. It caused a negative reaction among a certain segment of the population. Why did you decide to remove Russian series?
The short answer to this question will not work. Work on the series was launched a long time ago – even before the Maidan, to all of the events taking place in our country. We wrote at the beginning Russian, first, for obvious economic reasons, because it was a period when our manufacturing was closely associated with the production of neighboring countries. And secondly, for historical accuracy.
You hoped that the series will go in a Russian-speaking country?
When planning to make such a massive history, we had plans to sell to other countries. Is important to take into account such aspect: for the Ukrainian market a show like “Fortress”, as it looks much more expensive than the market can afford due to economic reasons. The capacity of the advertising market is so small that, unfortunately, is to remove we can for very little money, very low cost items, given that it paid off. And since now all the channels the big six, as far as I know, the challenge is to be profitable and not just to be expensive entertainment, but to be a business. We need to recover the money spend on the production.
In spite of this, to produce the show locally for our market, with the volume of investments is suicide for the channel. The channel will never recover the money back. But we talked about what we would really like to see this story saw not only the territory of the nearby area, but more distant.
At a time when it was written a large amount of series, we realized that to translate or rewrite is impossible, because specific phrases and words, inherent in this period. In General, if to speak about historical truth, then all our “lords” would have to speak French, especially those who came from abroad. And it would be absolutely identical to the historical truth. Exactly at that time and there was a layered world of noblemen and peasants. I don’t really want to now it all sounded like an excuse. I believe that in this situation, the problem of language is far-fetched. The fact that series created in Ukrainian, does not diminish our respect (the team which is all done) to the native state language.
Tala Priteca and Alex Yarovenko
There have also been claims to the title of the series. Why Ukrainian “Krosna” and not “Cracka”?
Because we were trying to put in more three-dimensional concept. What are you talking about? “Cracka” is a noun, and it means actually of a man who is a serf and belongs to a particular person. The adjective “krosna” more deeply reflects not only the identity and status, and the self-awareness of the heroine. Serfdom, the serf of love, the city girl… Our Kate for a long time feels like a thing that does not belong. That is why chose the word “krosna”. And people have worked out what we were taught in school: what word is used Shevchenko? Crack. So what? Ahh, damned Muscovites do not know the language!
How was the financing of the project? Can you name the amount spent on production?
We shot two season – 48 series. All who are engaged in the production, in this sense, I understand – it is much cheaper. And since the series is very expensive, so we have steevely production. The final amount cannot reveal because it is confidential information, stipulated in the agreement. The only thing I can say – all serial costumed history expensive.
How long have you been looking for lead actress? Why chose Ekaterina Kovalchuk?
For the role of Katya, the main character, we tried a lot of Actresses. Ales Romanova, who will now play the main role in large-scale and very ambitious film from FILM.UA “Vadana” based on the work of Sofia Andrukhovych, tried out for the role of Cathy. We seriously considered. And we can say, which won Kate: outside of Ales is very bright, she immediately attracts the eye, and we would like more such a fragile girl, that is not impressive, dazzling, because that is what we have had is Lidia Schaefer. We wanted Katya took tenderness.
Ekaterina Kovalchuk in the role of Catherine.
Ekaterina Kovalchuk, Russian actress, who now lives in the United States. Why she has played a major role?
If she had an Israeli passport and then we also were looking for the main character, you are now asked, why is an Israeli actress? We were not looking for citizenship, and the actress who will be perfect Katya. And these searches lasted a long time, we even entered the active phase of preproduction, started training, and the female lead role. There was no man that would be 100% for us. Searched everywhere! Reviewed more than 300 girls, including Polish Actresses, and the Baltic, Belarus, Sweden… And when he found Kate – I saw a girl who we really like, satisfied. In her manner of acting very much felt the influence of Western culture. And is it different from the General background. That is why Katia Kovalchuk.
Is Ukraine a shortage of Actresses?
No, actually. Moreover, during casting, we found a lot of interesting, exotic girls that want to shoot! The second season will be the heroine of Kiev, I call it “the first Ukrainian feminist”, Olga Rodzevich. Playing this role, Alina Kovalenko – very handsome, charismatic, talented young Ukrainian actress. It is not that we have no one to play – you are looking for someone exactly fall into the role. That was Kate Kovalchuk.
Frame from the movie Fortress
How to choose other actors for main and supporting roles?
For the role of Gregory Czerwinski we tried Andrew Fedinchika – known actor. But there were certain expectations we have from this character. Andrew looks heroically noble, and it was necessary for you to look at the person – beautiful, but with a double bottom. In the end, it turned out Misha Gavrilov.
The role of Peter Czerwinski was only two contenders. It was Dmitry Shevchenko – once the Ukrainian, now Russian actor Stanislav Boklan. And this was the case when Stas came into the frame, and we stop the search. This is what we need.
The greatest number of candidates came to the role of Larissa, actress, mistress of Peter Czerwinski. It was extremely difficult. And in the beginning we thought that we will quickly figure it out. Beautiful Actresses in the Ukraine a lot. But the ensemble has developed is so powerful, so each had its own characteristic. I realized that the need was so bright and eye-catching woman that we couldn’t find. So we waited until Natalia Denisenko bears will come to the casting. She walked into the frame, and we immediately knew. Although a lot of girls auditioned.
For example, Kate Varchenko that the second season will play a very interesting role – one of the stars of the Kiev brothel, Nastya. Kate also auditioned for the role of Larissa.
Katia Kovalchuk and mark Drobot
The series is filmed in the picturesque and historic places, monuments, to convey the spirit of the time. How do you think all you got?
I can’t say I’m 100% satisfied. We compromise a lot of things. We had to compromise and not to go very far because it would ruin production schedule. We had to compromise because of the limited budget for this story. Museum business in Ukraine is simply trouble, and who needs immediate assistance. Even then, that is, it is rapidly deteriorating. When we come to “Kachanivka” and see that one side colored and the other is not, because it is not allocated money to support architectural monument in proper condition. This is our reality and, unfortunately, this reality will lead to the fact that the General will have nowhere to shoot. My biggest pain is in the second season when the story will move to Kiev, and will be developed in Kiev – to shoot in the real Kiev, despite the fact that we are based here, we could not.
If you take the UK or France, you have everything – walls, furniture. And we, when the building is more or less preserved, somehow, and the filling inside. We have to look for. Our artists for two years, have become experts in flea and antique markets. They found something there in Lviv. Tonya Belinskaya is one of our costume – could find for the wedding in the second season of a replica of this wreath 19th century, in which a girl from the region could marry. It’s just fantastic! Fortunately, we had a unique team that was making it impossible for it to be so beautiful.
Regarding the storyline of the series. Critics have drawn Parallels between the “Land” and the Brazilian soap Opera “the Slave Isaura” and the Russian “Poor Nastya”. How you react to such comparisons?
And “Poor Nastya” and “Slave Izaura” is very successful projects at the time. When we in 2019 talking about a family, we do seem boring and uninteresting. At the end of 70-ies – early 80-ies, when in fact she acted, it was progresivni product. Moreover, “Slave Izaura” is a film adaptation of the book. Why are there some overlaps? Because our history started from this book. I learned the historical fact that slavery was abolished in Brazil only three years before serfdom we have. And began to communicate with management. Serfdom at the time – the same slavery. Joked about adaptation “Slave Izaura”. I found this book – it is 19th century. We just started from this history. And when they say: this is exactly like the show – according to this principle, I can give you so series 30 relevant to this topic. Where the girl is a hostage of circumstances and has to endure courtship or host, or overbearing person.
Intersections with “Poor Nastya,” what? That character was born a serf? From Mayne Reid was the great novel “Kvarteronka”, and if “Slave Izaura” was not the film I would say that it can be considered borrowing from this book. What’s the story? There is a man who owns a certain power, and there is a woman who is deprived of any rights by the fact of his birth. That this and builds the whole story.
We realized that we cross paths. There is a certain layout of the audience, looking for problematic aspects, which was interesting to criticize, not to watch and enjoy. I am very glad that our show has caused such a heated discussion. This means that we do not leave people indifferent.
Tala Priteca for the TV show Fortress
The first season ended very intriguing. And many worried about what will happen in the fall? What suffering and trials will be for the heroes?
First, I have to say that those who root for Kate, scared of what she came to Lydia Schaefer. Lida very devastating impact made love to Alex and will continue to produce even after his death, as we will see. This will have an impact on the plight of Katya, although she did not give up hope for salvation. But to be so close to death, even some time will be assumed that Kate died. Fate will throw Katya in Kiev brothel where she will have to defend their right to choose the way of life, which it considers virtuous. And this will give her the friendship and show that real people, sincere, bright and good are everywhere, no matter what they do for a living.
How the love line will develop?
Of course, Kate is a heroine who deserves to be loved. Can make a hint, and the viewer is attentive, I think, understand what we do. But happily if this story will end? It remains to be seen. The answer to the question, what happiness awaits her, lies in the phrase Peacocks that took care of her. Reads: “Happiness must be sought among people with the same test as you.” That happiness is waiting for Kate in that version.
Will there be a happy end in this story?
I do not know. Yes, filmed a second season, but we shot two endings. The story can go, and so and so. Perhaps waiting for the happy ending. And perhaps in the end the fate she had prepared such that we will say again that we are sadists. Two finals. One superpositional, one with agromas a mystery. And we have not yet decided what he will finally end the story of Katie. And may never end, and will continue. Everything is possible!
We will remind, earlier the sex symbol of the “Land” spoke about the development of cinema in Ukraine.
As reported “Znayu” Ekaterina Kovalchuk has revealed details of the second season of “the Fortress”.
Also “Znayu” I wrote that the star of “the Fortress” received an honorary award from the President.