Ukrainian studio Film.UA has announced that SVT (Sweden), NRK (Norway) and YLE (Finland) have jointly commissioned new anthology series Those Who Stayed, codeveloped by FILM.UA and Red Arrow Studios International.

Those Who Stayed is a six part anthology series, inspired by the true stories of Ukrainians who decided to stay in Kyiv, following the beginning of the Russian invasion.

The dramedy brings together established and emerging Ukrainian talent with each episode written and directed by a different creator. The episodes are inspired by their own lived experience of staying in Kyiv during the first months of the war. Stories include an unhoused man who joins the Territorial Defences, where he finally feels seen; the unlikely hero ready to quit his job at a Zoo, who ends up saving the animals; and a woman from Bucha forced to shelter in a tiny studio with her kids, a dog, her husband… and her ex.

Rodrigo Herrera Ibarguengoytia, VP Scripted Acquisitions & Coproductions, Red Arrow Studios International says: “Those Who Stayed is a project with such urgency and immediacy – we cannot wait to share it with the world. The emotional connection of creators telling their own story, in their own words, has resulted in remarkably creative scripts, and ensures that this series will be sincere, genuine, and relatable.’

Anastasiia Lodkina and Anna Eliseeva, the creators of the project, say: “Those Who Stayed aims to amplify and showcase the voices of the different writer-director duos behind each episode. The scripts are inspired by the true, truly moving, and sometimes hilarious stories that happened to or were witnessed by them. And those stories show just how much we learn about humanity through the incredible choices ordinary people make every day.”

Kateryna Vyshnevska, Head of Development and Coproductions at Film.UA Group says: “The world as we know it has changed. February 2022 ushered in a war in the heart of Europe. May February 2023 usher in a year where we, the citizens of Europe, stand together to protect our values and tell our shared stories. Nordic partners boarding a Ukrainian project codeveloped with a German studio shows that we can do great things together. We are excited to share this important story with the world!”

Anna Croneman, Head of Drama at SVT (Sweden): “SVT are very proud to be part in the making of Those Who Stayed. The war in Ukraine is covered by the media but the ongoing, everyday life of the people of Ukraine we cannot even imagine. This unique series changes that, and truly makes a difference”.

Those Who Stayed (6 x 30’) is produced by Film.UA; producers for the project are Anna Eliseeva, Kateryna Vyshnevska, with Anastasiia Lodina serving as showrunner. Red Arrow Studios International is handling global distribution.