Directed by Maryna Vroda
Ukraine, Germany, Poland, Slovakia | 2023 | Drama | Ukrainian, Russian

Set amidst stunning Ukrainian winter landscapes, vanishing villages, and emerging feelings of alienation between people in post-Soviet society, STEPNE is the story of Anatoliy, a man who comes back home from the big city to take care of his dying mother.

The mother’s passing, a meeting with his brother, and a woman he loves make him reflect on the life he’s had and the choices he made along the way. And then, just before her death, the mother tells Anatoliy about a treasure she has buried in the shed…


Director: Maryna Vroda
Screenplay: Maryna Vroda, Kirill Schuvalov
Cinematography: Andrii Lysetskyi
Editing: Franziska Wenzel, Maryna Vroda, Marek Šulik
Production Design: Mychailo Alekseenko
Costume Design: Volodymyr Kuznetzov, Oksana Kovtun
Sound Design: Igor Jedinák 

Soundmix: Lucas Kasprzyk
Sound on set: Sergiy Prokopenko

Cast: Oleksandr Maksiakov, Nina Antonova, Oleg Primogenov, Radmila Schegoleva
Production Company: vrodastudio
Producer: Maryna Vroda
Co-production companies: Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF, Koi Studio, New Europe Film Sales, Kerekes Film
Co-producers: Andrea Wohlfeil, Agnieszka Dziedzic, Jan Naszewski, Marcin Luczaj, Peter Kerekes

With financial support of: Ukraine State Film Agency, Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF, (MBB-ILB) Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, RBB – Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, Koi-Studio, New Europe Film Sales, Slovak Film Commission, Kerekes Film, FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA AUDIOVISUAL FUND / FVG AUDIOVISUAL FUND

  • Maryna Vroda
    Maryna Vroda

Festivals & Awards

Locarno Official Competition 2023 – premiere
Best Director – Concorso Internazionale
Junior Jury Awards – Special Mention

press quotes

“Maryna Vroda’s richly lensed feature debut is a melancholic look at a dying part of north-eastern Ukraine that’s seemingly untouched by the present war, and while the narrative holds interest thanks especially to the protagonist, it’s the documentary-like scenes that are the film’s heart.”

The Film Verdict

“STEPNE confirms the talent of a courageous director with a deeply affecting approach. Melancholic yet hypnotic, Maryna Vroda’s debut feature film unearths the vestiges of a past needing to be examined in order to better understand the present, which is getting dangerously out of hand.”

“Wisely chosen by the director as custodians of a story to be preserved at all costs, the “real” inhabitants of STEPNE feed into the main story, enriching it with a strange and ferocious poetry of truth.”

“Maryna Vroda’s debut feature film isn’t just a story about grief and goodbyes, it’s also about the resilience of a people who have experienced hell but have since managed to find their own gold in the solidarity of common people.”


“STEPNE is a cinematic gem brought to life by unprecedented storytelling, exceptional cinematography, a well-executed narrative, and outstanding performances from the cast. It successfully captures and projects the life and spirit of STEPNE, leaving audiences across the globe spellbound.’“

”STEPNE, an enthralling motion picture presenting at the Locarno Film Festival 2023, is undoubtedly a cinematic masterpiece that leaves an indelible imprint on the viewer’s psyche.”

“The cinematography of STEPNE is a visual delight. (…) Each scene in the film is skillfully shot, the exquisite beauty of the landscape acting as a harmonious backdrop to the poignant narrative.”

Universal Cinema

“STEPNE deserves credit for its realistic portrayal of a little-known face of Ukraine, and for the convincing performances.”

“At times, the movie feels like an observational, almost sensory documentary,
a fly-on-the-wall type of register.”


Maryna Vroda

Maryna Vroda was born on 22 February 1982 in Kyiv, Ukraine. In 2007, she graduated from the Cinematography and TV faculty at the Kyiv National I. K. Karpenko-Kary University of Theater, Cinematography and Television with a specialization in feature film directing. During her studies in Kyiv she attended the workshops of Mikhail Illenko and Valery Sivak. After graduating, she worked with Sergei Loznitsa.

In 2008, her short student films were entered for international film festivals both in Eastern and Western Europe and her film CROSS-COUNTRY was nominated for the Golden Starfish Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival in 2011 and won the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film in the same year at the Cannes Film Festival.

In 2010 Maryna was a participant at the Berlinale Talent Campus and used the Residence Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2013 to write the script for the film STEPNE. In 2016 she studied for a Master at the Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg. Living in Kyiv.


STEPNE 2023Feature Film
PENGUIN, 51 min.2015Documentary
SNAILS, 19 min.2014Short

(original “Cross”) 15 min.

THE RAIN, 13 min.2007Short
THE OATH, 14 min.2008Short
FAMILY PORTRAIT, 14 min.2006Short