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UNICEF and MTV: Lights! Camera! Action!

© MTV and 2009
During filming UNICEF and MTV feature «Embrace me»

4 November, 2009,  Kyiv – Today the filming of the feature film “Embrace me” has began. The main goal of the film is to highlight the problem of HIV/AIDS among young people in Ukraine. The film is created under the partnership of the MTV’s international campaign Staying Alive: Ignite and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). One of the film locations, night club “Heaven”, was open to the journalists, giving them a unique opportunity to observe the filming process, talk to the actors and celebrities, and ask UNICEF and MTV representatives questions.

The HIV/AIDS epidemics in Ukraine is growing faster than anywhere in Europe. Four out of five HIV infected are young people, just like me. That’s why I am making film “Embrace me.” It’s about those who live for fun and love, those who look for adventures and happines. I believe this film will help save lives,” says Lyubomir Kobylchuk, the film director.

“Embrace me” is a story about life of young people in Ukraine, made of several mini-stories. Max is a car seller, who enjoys amusement and risk, without thinking about the danger of HIV/AIDS. Lera, a TV presenter, believes that everyone is responsible for their love relations. Barman at the night club thinks HIV/AIDS cannot affect him personally and, out of principle, refuses to get tested.

Although the characters in the film are fictional, they are not far from reality and everyone can recongize themselves in it. Along with professional actors, Ukrainian celebrities, such as stylist Olga Navrocka, singer Kasha Saltsova, TV presenter Yanina Sokolova and boxer Volodymyr Virchis will play their parts. And even ordinary young people, representing the target group of the film, had an opportunity to get a role. More than 60 people sent their videos, expressing their opinion about HIV/AIDS and ways to overcome the problem, to the open casting.  In addition, more than 100 young people participated in the fotocasting on the popular youth website: The winners, Karina Nightingale and Alexander Sernyak, are now part of the film cast.

“Young people are at the core of the epidemic in Ukraine and it is important for them to adopt healthy lifestyle techniques. HIV testing should become a regular practice for everyone. HIV testing is confidential and pre and post-counseling is provided. It is important to remember that the main HIV transmission modes are injecting drug use and unprotected sex,” says Olena Sakovych, Youth and Adolescent Development Officer at UNICEF.

Andrey Urenov, Head of Production and Programming at MTV Ukraine: «MTV creates a lifestyle of millions of young people around the world. Being aware of our responsibilities, we are implementing an international project in Ukraine - Staying Alive: Ignite, because HIV/AIDS epidemic among young people in our country has reached dangerous proportions. This awareness will help save lives in our young audience, and that is why we strive to be heard».

The film “Embrace me” will be premiered on MTV and other channels in Ukraine on December 1st, the World AIDS Day.

For more information, please contact Svetlana Ancker, UNICEF Ukraine at +38-044-254-2450 or



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