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Searching for Nika Featured

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 “Searching for Nika” – Ukrainian-made Documentary Chronicling 
a Man’s Search for His Lost Dog in War-Torn Ukraine – 
to Make  U.S. Debut at DOC NYC Film Festival 
Heart-wrenching film directed by and starring filmmaker Stanislav Kapralov documents the efforts of Ukrainian animal rights activists, risking life and limb to rescue and protect animals threatened by the brutal and ongoing Russian invasion
New York, NY – DOC NYC, the largest documentary film festival in the world, will be screening the U.S. premiere of a particularly timely documentary this year centered on the Russian-Ukrainian War titled “Searching for Nika.” As the Russian invasion of Ukraine rages on, the toll it has exacted on human life has been devastating – from the frontline defenders to the innocent Ukrainian civilians enduring constant bombardments. The devastation extends beyond human life, however, as countless pets were left behind in the rubble in the rush to escape invading Russian forces. Ukrainian filmmaker Stanislav Kapralov’s parents fled the city of Irpin with the family dog, Nika, at the outbreak of the war, but Nika leapt from the car and fled.  

Kapralov wasted no time, venturing into the rubble of war-torn Ukraine to find his beloved family dog, documenting his mission in his film “Searching for Nika,” which premieres at DOC NYC at the IFC Center (323 6th Ave.) on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023 at 9 p.m., with an additional screening on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at Village East by Angelika (181-189 2nd Ave.) at 2 p.m. Tickets to in-person screenings of “Searching for Nika,” starting at $20, can be purchased at Tickets to online screenings between Nov. 15 – 26 are also available.  

"To have hope is the most important thing,” said Kapralov, director and subject of “Searching for Nika.” “Even in the darkest of times, we must always leave room for the light of hope. Ukraine has and is experiencing anguish, but most importantly we aim to spotlight the indomitable spirit of its people and their deep-rooted values of compassion, unity, and resilience. In this most personal of my films to date, ‘Searching for Nika’ captures the pain and trauma felt, while its core message is one of unwavering hope." 

What begins as a journey motivated by the disappearance of a dog becomes a mission to document and aid in a humanitarian movement to help as many animals as possible in Ukraine. Kapralov discovers stories of altruism and humanity amidst the harshest landscape of war as he allies himself with a number of animal rights activists risking life and limb to rescue and protect animals threatened by the Russian onslaught. It is not just cats and dogs left behind and threatened by the violence. Kapralov meets people overseeing farms, horse ranches and zoos who are struggling to protect their animals from the constant shelling. The resulting film is a testament of the unshakeable resolve of the Ukrainian people in the face of violent adversity, and a wider perspective of the destruction heaped on Ukraine at the hands of Russian invaders. 
“Searching for Nika” premiered at the 2023 EBS international film festival in Korea and was an opening film at the 2023 Seoul Animal Film Festival. The screening at DOC NYC will be the first time the film is screened in North America. For more information on “Searching for Nika,” visit If you are a member of the press who would like to view the film in advance of the U.S. premiere at DOC NYC, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive a link.  

About Stanislav Kapralov
Director, screenwriter, and producer Stanislav “Stas” Kapralov is based in Kyiv, Ukraine. In 2011, he started directing commercials, and became a successful commercial director working across Eastern Europe. In 2016, Stas directed his first critically acclaimed short, “Sui Caedere,” winning a platinum award at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival. In 2017, Stas co-directed the documentary film, “Ghetto Uprising: The Untold Story,” and in 2018, Stas' second short film was released, the surrealistic, “I Am Illusion.” In 2019, Stas began work on his first feature as a director - the thriller “Let It Snow (Lionsgate),” which was released worldwide in 2020, and that same year, he directed his second feature, the U.S./Ukrainian mystery thriller, “Egregor,” which was scheduled to release in Ukraine the week Russia invaded.  

Within the first weeks of the war in Ukraine, Stas organized an information front consisting of 200 video-content specialists and worked to push back against Russian propaganda. In the first month alone, over 300 clips and eight edited videos were created – Stas having directed several that were made for the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska.  

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