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0 Days in the Coffin

 Out From the Ashes is the harrowing story of Milena, a young woman from Ukraine, who along with her mother and grandmother (and cat), desperately struggle to escape their war-torn home while an army of supporters on the opposite side of the world fight to keep them safe.

This is not a story about war. This is a story about 3 generations of women (and a cat) caught in the middle. Finding their way to freedom with the help of an army of supporters from the other side of the world, and the virtual father who just wants his daughter to be safe.

Milena survived the destruction of Mariupol, cowering for a month in the basement of a bombed-out building, watching her home and history burn. With food running low, Milena was “liberated” by Russians and taken at gunpoint to a Russian-controlled refugee camp in the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic. She managed to contact Ken Pontac, long-time facebook friend and father figure. Here she slept on a filthy, freezing floor with her mother, grandmother, and 200 other kidnapped Ukrainians. After being rescued by a sympathetic Russian, Milena and family was released to a small apartment nearby. But she was still a prisoner. With Kens help and the heroic efforts of the international team he assembled, three generations of the family were extricated from their imprisonment, furtively couch surfing through Russian safe-houses until finally reaching what they believed was freedom in Estonia. A red-tape nightmare forced the family to return to their war-torn home, where they await the international documents that will help them find a life on the other side of the world…if only they’re not recaptured by Russian troops again!

The Story

Our Team

Ken Pontac 


Brandon Katcher


Deborah Acosta 


Anna Acosta

Production Manager

Fax Bahr


Suzanne Atherly

Executive Producer

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Out From the Ashes is a labour of love for all of us involved in the production. But we need your help to tell this story! All donations will go directly to the production, post-production and marketing of the documentary. For more information, please contact us below.

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