Oleg Marchak is a professional photographer from the city of Chortkiv. He is also a manager and a teacher of the “Pervotsvit” photography club and “Studio Shevchenka 64 Production”. Both, the “Pervotsvit” and the “Studio Shevchenka 64 Production”, are interest clubs for kids of Chortkiv.
So, one day Oleg and few kids from the photography and video interest clubs decided to do a plasticine cartoon. Why plasticine cartoon? Because one of the kids, Tania Yasinchuk, amazed all of the clubs members by her art works: cute figurines she made from plasticine. This girl definitely got an artistic talent and she got inspired others to do something unusual and exciting, as for their small city.
Well, plasticine cartoons (clay animation, claymation) is not an unusual art, but for the city like Chortkiv – yes, it is extremely unusual. Oleg Marchak as a professional photographer and artist realized that making a good cartoon requires special technical equipment. Oleg wished he had a better camera, like professional cartoon makers have. But! The desire to create something special which would express talents of club kids was stronger than doubts, so Oleg said them one day, “Let start!” So three kids and their teacher started to do a plasticine cartoon in June 2010 and finished it in October 2010. Tania Yasinchuk, Olexandr Marchak and Roman Krainskyy were making all the plasticine characters and Oleg was taking tons of pictures of the characters moves and composing them in, actually, cartoon. The script of the cartoon was created by kids and their teacher as well: it was a collective work with lots of fun.
The subject of the cartoon is a life of the local market (bazaar), but, knowing Ukrainian reality, I would say that it is a typical life of any market in western Ukraine. Actually, today’s market on the West of Ukraine it is a combination of a flea market and a farmers market. It is not a simple place for selling and shopping, but it is also a way to survive. Why to survive? It is because many of unemployed Ukrainians gone to sell whatever they can sell on the market and to make living this way. Many vendors on the typical Ukrainian market are well educated, with a bachelor’s degree. For example, you can meet many teachers and accountants (former and unemployed) at any market of the Ternopil oblast. Guess why? It is because two big universities of the city of Ternopil (the administrative centre of Ternopil oblast) produce too many pedagogical and economical occupations, much more, than area needs, so people with university degrees have no job and have to survive somehow. Some of them go to other European countries (Poland, Italy, Spain, Germany, etc) to work as builders, nannies, caregivers, vegetable pickers and waiters; some of them have no choice except to become vendors and to sell something at Ukrainian markets.
Any market in Ukraine also is a place for socializing, where people (vendors and shoppers) are discussing local and global news, spreading rumors and creating jokes. Actually, this 7 minutes cartoon created by kids from Chortkiv shows many sides of Ukrainian reality, especially West Ukrainian reality, which are: the labor migration (a lady which is shopping on a market just came from work in Italy); Colorado potato beetles (the biggest disaster for Ukrainian potatoes growers); Ukrainian drunkards; Ukrainian elections and a… chupacabra. Yes, last two topics (local elections and a chupacabra) were the most popular subjects to talk about at Ukrainian market in 2010, especially mysterious chupacabra which terrorized many households in farmers’ areas of the western Ukraine in 2008-2010.
The language of the plasticine cartoon from Chortkiv is a West Ukrainian dialect. The cartoon is full of humor, this special Slavic dry humor that not always understandable to people from the Western world. For example, here is a dialog between lady-shopper and a vendor which is selling pesticides to fight Colorado potato beetles (actually, this dialog it is a popular Ukrainian joke). The lady-shopper asks, “Are you sure, that Colorado beetles are really will die after spraying with your chemicals?” “Well, I am not sure if they will really die, but I guarantee that they will never be in such a good health like before the spraying”, the salesman has answered.
And here is another joke, from the vendor which is selling shoes on the cartoon’s market. Shopper asks him, pointing to the particular boots, “Have you got the same ones, only half size bigger?” “No, I haven’t, but don’t you worry, these ones will fit you perfectly, just wash your feet and cut your toenails.”
Another funny joke in the cartoon it is a last name of the police officer which is Khabarchenko. Why is so funny, it is because the last name of the policeman is created from a word “khabar”, which means “bribe” in Ukrainian.
Total cost of the cartoon was 56 UAH and it is not even $10! That’s how much kids and their teacher spent for getting four kilos of plasticine. Now, compare this cost to the high budgets of cartoons done by professional cartoon makers, especially those animators whose cartoons are sitting on the shelves, because of lack popularity in audience. The cartoon done by three schoolkids of Chortkiv did not suffer from the lack of audience at all. Since October 13 (the day when a video of the cartoon was uploaded on YouTube) the plasticine art done by three Ukrainian kids has exploded with thousands hits. I personally was watching the video few times. Well, I know Ukrainian life, I understand Ukrainian jokes and I am very proud that I am originally from the western Ukraine where are so talented kids growing up!
And here is the video of the cartoon: