War Zone: Bear Grylls Meets President Zelenskyy
A Shine TV and The Natural Studios production
A war is raging on the border of Europe as Russia tries to seize control of Ukraine. It’s against this backdrop, nearly a year after the invasion began, that Bear Grylls ventures into Ukraine, having been invited by the president himself - Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Zelenskyy’s inspirational leadership has united his people. As the face of his country during the conflict, he has also gained the admiration of millions of people across the world.
This observational documentary will follow Bear on a 3-day journey deep into Ukraine. Years of survival training can never prepare you for entering an active war zone, and Bear and his team are taking huge risks. Bear’s goal is to meet Ukraine's commander in chief in Kyiv, but before that he needs to get to the capital and in a country at war that is not so straightforward. It’s a country that’s under constant threat from missile strikes. Russia is trying to plunge its neighbour into total darkness by attempting to knock out its energy infrastructure.
This film is not just about meeting the president, it’s about Bear’s journey to reach Kyiv and what he sees on the way. During his trip he will meet the people of Ukraine who are trying to endure and survive this war, trying to understand what life is like for them. He travels to the old front line in the town of Irpin, just 10 kilometres from the capital city of Kyiv. There Bear meets Oleksandr, a soldier who was just a civilian before the war started. Across this film he hears tales of heroism, survival and tragedy, like that of journalist Alina who lost her father to the war.
It’s a journey like no other Bear has undertaken before. In this film Bear is not the survival expert; his role is to learn from other people, to see what they’ve been through. When meeting the president, Bear wants to understand who the man behind the public face of the presidency is. To see what life is like for him away from the podium. He will learn how Ukraine is surviving this war, during this winter of darkness. The meeting does not take place in a formal presidential office setting. Instead, the two of them go for a friendly walk around the city of Kyiv, where Bear has a chance to get to know the real Volodymyr – the man behind the headlines.