The project of mini-series, sports drama "BENEFACTOR"


In the Cold War era, sport looked to be the only non-political opening, USA-USSR boxing duals took place each year, no matter what, but was it really the case?

The miner's son will become a boxer against his will, will glorify the USSR on the world boxing arena in the 80s, he will become a multiple world champion among amateur boxers, but due to politics he will never get to the Olympics ... He will fall in love with an American girl, but the KGB will interfere. He will receive an offer to fight Mike Tyson, but due to the revenge of officials he will find himself on the streets of the 90s.


In the Cold War era, sport looked to be the only non-political opening.

USA-USSR boxing duals took place each year, no matter what (be it the boycott of the Olympic games because of the Afghan war, Angela Devis’ arrest, etc.). However, it was an illusion, as life of athletes both in the USSR and the USA was a small coin for political expediency. The Benefactor mini-series is a story of such a destroyed life, even though it used to have all the potential to become a happy life.

The miner's son, who will become a boxer against his will. Nevertheless, he will glorify the USSR on the world’s boxing arena in the 80s, he will become a legendary boxer, multiple World Champion among amateur boxers. During one of such duals he will fall in love with an Afro-American girl in the USA but that love story will put him under pressure with the perspective of never being able to visit the USA again. The KGB will prohibit him from further maintaining correspondence with that American girl. He will have to prove that there are no feelings left or ever have been and for this reason he will marry in the USSR to prove he is a reliable man to travel to the USA. Of course, all of it will never stop that intercontinental love story when they will become a bit older.

The main dream of the protagonist is to get the Olympic medal. But it will not happen, the first time because of the political expediency, the second time because of political revenge, the third time because the regime’s personal revenge as they won’t like his behavior. He will hate that destructive system so much that when he receives almost half a million dollars as his coach salary and the premium payment in South America, he will give that money to the victims of the big floods in South America instead of, as always, obediently giving all the money to the USSR State Committee for Sports, rejoicing at the amount of 200 rubles.

When the state kicks him out of amateur sport, and he will find himself in a street and in a marketplace protecting a thimblerigger. He will receive a proposition from the USA to become professional boxer and fight with Mike Tyson.

But the Soviet regime representative will not forget that money the boxer has given away to the peasants of South America. When the USSR collapsed in 1991, our protagonist will work as a bodyguard for gangsters. And our main protagonist will be the one who will propose to his ex-trainee to create a league of professional boxing in Ukraine and will introduce him to the sponsor who will help it happen.

Alexander drinks a lot of alcohol like his Father used to do and the alcohol destroys him.

Showrunner, screenwriter - Victoria Trofimenko


Mykhailo Zavyalov (born June 11, Omsk) Ukrainian Soviet boxer and Honored Coach of the USSR (1975). He coached the national team of Ukraine. He was a member of the team of coaches of the USSR national team at the 1980 Olympic Games. Since 1992 he is the president of the National League of Professional Boxing of Ukraine and Ukrainian sports official

Artem Furmanyuk is a Ukrainian investigative journalist and public figure. He is one of the co-authors of the book "Donetsk Mafia. Reboot. Collaborates with the publications "Island", "Foreshortening", Pro-test.

Yaroslav Shapochka - historical investigator, journalist

Project status - DEVELOPMENT

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An exciting continuity of shots …

The warm flicker of the vintage screen gives an opportunity to plunge into the atmosphere of a whole generation’s life in the Pshenychnyi’s archive…

"It was really not accepteble to stand out from one's social niche at that complicated period ... So even when such a rare opportunity arose, we had to restrain ourselves. Otherwise, others did it for you”.

Meeting of the showrunner Victoria Trofimenko with sports expert of the Benefactor project legendary trainer Mykhailo Zavyalov, Ukrainian Soviet boxer and coach, Honored Coach of the USSR (1975), since 1992 honorary president of the Professional Boxing League of Ukraine and besides, an excellent interlocutor.

1980s Olympics. Memories of people who lived in Moscow at that time:

"It was expected that it would be quite difficult for the residents of the USSR and foreign guests to communicate due to various restrictions. Almost for the first time such a large number of representatives of the different countries came to the USSR. However, according to the memories of the Soviets themselves, there were no barriers. Marli, Coca-Cola, Fanta juices, foreign cigarettes and other products unfamiliar to the USSR were allowed in the shops. - That became possible due to the fears of many countries about food. A lot of countries expressed skepticism about it, but all in all there were no serious complaints. "

2008. Playground. A little boy born in 1999, surrounded by five-year-olds, tells with great passion how good life was back in the USSR, how happy people have been and how delicious food there was… Kids listen and believe him, as he seems very adult, he was born in 1999 ...

We have enough "experts" and those with nostalgia of the Soviet era who were born in independent Ukraine...

Let's understand how life really was back then? After all, we pass this experience on to our children. Can the protective function of memory, by displacing all the negative and keeping only the pleasant, play a nasty joke with us? And what is the paradox of nostalgia for something they haven’t been through?

Tragedy in the Palace of Sports "Sokolniki" due to chewing gum. In 1975, a match of the USSR junior hockey team against the Canadian team "Berry Cap" from the province of Ontario took place in Moscow. The official sponsor of the Canadian team was Wrigley, the world's largest maker of chewing gum. Under the terms of the contract, Canadian players received a 15-kilogram box of chewing gum and were required to distribute it free of charge. So at the end of the match, the players turned to the stands and threw an imported "delicacy" to Soviet fans (mostly teenagers). In the struggle for chewing gum began a brutal push. The administration turned off the lights so that no one could take a picture or shoot the video, as a result of which the spectators were even more frightened. In an attempt to get out of the stands, people fell and stumbled on each other. Prior to that, part of the gate was closed in advance so that Soviet fans would not attack foreigners at the end of the game. Thus, in a panic, a live press was formed near the exits. At least 21 people died. The mass media of the USSR kept silent about this terrible tragedy for a long time.

1987–1991. Donbass. When we entered that huge factory, I saw only gray earth, a pile of fittings and endless pipes. And suddenly a figure emerged from somewhere: in a gray quilted jacket and tarpaulin boots. I couldn’t help thinking that slaves work here.

Valery Reshetnyak, engineer, photographer.

"It was really not accepted to stand out from one's social niche at that complicated period ... So even when such a rare opportunity arose, we had to restrain ourselves. Otherwise, others did it for you. We studied separately from the girls, and we always used to have very short haircuts. No matter how much we wanted to wear a bang, liberties were not allowed there: every morning the school principal personally stood at the entrance and checked what was going on in our heads. If he would notice "growings", you were not allowed to attend classes, but were sent directly to the hairdresser's, - Zavyalov recalls. […] The decisive argument was the reasonable opinion of my friend Gena Vodyanykh, he said that if we enroll in boxing classes, we have nothing to lose, but instead we will be guaranteed a hot shower three times a week. Previously it was possible to wash only on weekends in a shared public balneary, so it would be a sin to lose such a luxury. "

From Anton Goryunov's book "Mikhail Zavyalov. Godfather of Ukrainian boxing"

"1989-1992. The children in the village wanted to escape to the city as soon as possible. They saw the bruised hands of their parents, and they already knew what hard work means. But by 1974 it was almost impossible to leave the village. The peasants were not given passports - it was official slavery. Even to go to the city on business motives, you had to get a certificate. So it was necessary to have a big bribe for the children to get a passport. Everyone who managed to escape from the village mostly ended up in dormitories. "

Valery Reshetnyak, engineer, photographer.

"In Makeyevka, Horlivka, Yenakiyevo, Torez, not to mention Donetsk itself, boxing was very well developed. Accordingly, the competition was fierce. […]

And, of course, a serious economic downturn has affected funding of the sport, which is why most athletes in search of a better life began to spread: some went abroad, others collaborated with crime structures, and others just got drunk. "

From Anton Goryunov's book "Mikhail Zavyalov. Godfather of Ukrainian boxing"

The project is developing with the support of UCF