Sundance 2015: The Russian Woodpecker Is a Revolutionary, Convincing Conspiracy Theory Doc

By  · Published on January 27th, 2015

Sundance Film Festival

Fedor Alexandrovich has the unkempt, bushy look of a Bolshevik or a doomsday prophet. He has some surprising things to say. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which happened when he was just a kid living nearby, may have been orchestrated by high ranking Soviet officials. An enormous radar facility may have been involved. Fedor has taken it upon himself to uncover these secrets, adding amateur journalist to a resume that includes artist, playwright and filmmaker. He might be Don Quixote and he might be Edward Snowden. And before the end of The Russian Woodpecker, filmmaker Chad Gracia’s chronicle of this investigation, you may very well believe him.

The hunt begins at the Kiev Reservoir, where Fedor pours a bottle of red wine into the water as an offering to this now-radioactive lake. Red wine was supposed to have mitigated the effects of the contamination – though, like so many other facts from 1986, it seems suspicious. Equally suspicious is the monumental radar facility lurking a few kilometers south of the nuclear power plant. Now just as ghostly as the rest of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, this skeletal behemoth is at the center of Fedor’s theories.