Searching for Nika
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When Russian forces invaded Ukraine and bombed Kyiv, film director Stas Kapralov’s family dog, Nika, ran away… Determined to find her, Stas sets out into the devastation and documents his journey as he joins volunteers helping to rescue animals. Becoming a part of their cause, Stas films the trials and successes of the volunteers as he continues his search for Nika, which takes him to ‘Sirus’ Animal Shelter, the largest in Europe, housing 3,500 animals, and still receiving emaciated and hungry dogs daily. There he meets Alexandra, the shelter director, who regularly risks her life to find food for the animals and is determined never to abandon them. Alexandra’s iron inspires Stas, and even though he is unable to locate Nika, he does not give up hope and decides to take a more active role in helping the volunteers and animals in need.
Joining forces with another volunteer, Olena, Stas documents and aids in rescuing a blind and abandoned lion, Ruru, as she’s brought across the Ukrainian border to Poland. Later, he meets Alex, a volunteer who helped Kyiv inhabitants escape the city at the start of the war and now risks his life rescuing cats left behind by their owners… Among the rubble of a bombed and burned stables, Stas hears Yura’s story, whose horses were like family members, many dying in the bombings, as he now searches for a safe home for them… In another instance, Stas journeys to Harkov, experiencing mortar shelling first-hand, as he becomes part of urgent evacuations of animals at a zoo actively being bombed, where two volunteers had been killed in previous days…
What begins as a journey motivated by the disappearance of his dog, Nika, becomes a mission to document and aid in a humanitarian movement to help as many animals as possible in Ukraine. Documenting and participating in this journey, Stas discovers stories of altruism and humanity amidst the harshest landscape of war… and by the end of his journey, Stas finally finds out what happened to his dog Nika.