Fedor Alexandrovich, the hero of this film, did not see any version of the film (including controversial secret camera footage of him) until the film's premiere at Sundance. Upon learning that he had been filmed and presented in a negative light, and responding to a question from the audience about how he felt about this, he exclaimed: "At first was upset. But then I realized that not only am I the protagonist of this film, but also the antagonist! So I'm satisfied."
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Fedor's plastic "dream sequence" costume was inspired by a type of anti-radiation suit worn by Chernobyl liquidators and which Fedor saw at Kiev's Chernobyl Museum.
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The Russian Woodpecker was originally planned as a 5-minute piece to be published on YouTube for director Chad Gracia's friends and family. He had never made a film and thought a short clip about the Duga antenna might make a fun side project.
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