A film by

the Netherlands | 85' | 04/2019 | documentary

The film DAYMOHK tells the story of Chechen dance star and choreographer Ramzan Ahmadov, whose dance group Daymohk has found refuge with Chechnya’s current president Kadyrov. Momentarily postponing the extinction of this age-old folk dance. But the sacrifice this move takes, is great: in an attempt to save his country’s tradition, Ramzan collaborates with the authorities and sacrifices what he loves the most.

“the treasure in Navikova’s work is how she critically reveals the structure of strong-man rule while recording praise for the leader”
Square Eyes - Hot Docs - Laurel 2019
“the treasure in Navikova’s work is how she critically reveals the structure of strong-man rule while recording praise for the leader”
Square Eyes - Hot Docs - Laurel 2019

Masha Novikova


Masha Novikova was born in 1956 in Moscow, USSR. She studied pedagogy at the University of Moscow. And later worked as a teacher Russian language and literature. In Kazachstan she worked as a director-assistant in a German drama theater. Short before the fall of the Berlin Wall she came to the Netherlands, since then she has been living and working in Amsterdam. First Masha Novikova worked as interpretot and as a teacher Russian. She also worked as a guide in the ‘Szar Peter House’ in Zaandam. Later Masha started to work as an executive producer for Dutch television. At the same time she studied by Stefan Mayakowski at the ‘Kunstweb’ camera, script writing and filmdirection.

Since the year 2000 she also started to film herself, she worked with mini-dv as the second film photographer for several documentaries. In 2005 she directed her first film ‘Fallen Engel’, documentary about traffic in East -European women who were brought to the Netherland to work as prostitues.

Before making ‘Three Comrades’ Masha Novikova did some earlier work in Chechnya for documentary by Leo de Boer entitled ‘Train to Grozny’. That was in April 2000, just after Grozny’s total destruction. Driven by a feeling of shame about her own country, she has felt very much involved with the Chechnyan war ever since. In 2002 Masha Novikova did some shooting in Grozny for Jos de Putter’s film ‘Dance Grozny Dance’.

In addition, she did several film reports on Chechnya. She also worked in 2003 with Amnesty International on a film about Lidya Yusupova, who won the Martin Ennals prize in Geneve.


  • Daymohk (84’ Zeppers film/IKON 2019)
  • Cargo 200 (53’ NOVDOC 2015)
  • Flight of the Time (37’ NOVDOC 2014)
  • Letters to Myself (82’ Zeppers Film / IKON 2013)
  • Unlike Putin (52’ VPRO, Backlight 2012)
  • Sweet Smoke of the Fatherland (72’ Zeppers Film / IKON 2011)
  • Art of the Moment (52’ Viewpoint / AVRO 2010)
  • In the Holy fire of the revolution (113’ VPRO / NOVDOC 2008)
  • Between Heaven and Earth (78’ with F. van den Engel, Zeppers Film/IKON 2008)
  • Anna, seven years on the frontline (78’ NOVDOC / Amnesty Int. 2008)
  • In Memoriam: Alexandr Litvinenko (52’ with Jos de Putter, VPRO 2007)
  • Three Comrades (99’, VPRO / NOVDOC 2006)
  • Fallen Angel (50’ HUMAN 2005)
  • The Way to Kremlin co-directed with J. de Putter (55’ VPRO 2004)

Square Eyes - Director - Masha Novikova - Square Eyes


  • Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Canada (25 April – 5 May, 2019)
    International Spectrum
  • Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, Poland (10 – 19 May, 2019)
    Official Selection
  • Riga International Film Festival, Latvia (17 – 27 October, 2019)
    ArtDocFest Special Mention
  • Listapad – Minsk International Film Festival, Belarus (1 – 8 November, 2019)
    Main Documentary Competition
  • Master of Art Film Festival, Bulgaria (9 – 30 April, 2020)
    Art and Power Competition


Director: Masha Novikova
Scenario: Tamara Vuurmans
Producer: Cerutti Film: Willemijn Cerutti
Zeppers Film: Frank van den Engel
Cinematography: Vladas Naudzius
Editor: Srdjan Fink
Sound Recording: Rik Meier
Sound Design & Mix: Jeroen Goeijers
Composer: Jeroen Goeijers
Camera Clip: Reinout Steenhuizen
Camera Assistent: Kira Falticeanu
Executive Producers: Margreet Ploegmakers, Abigail Prade, Judith Vreriks
Producer EO/IKONdocs: Margie Monfils
Editorial EO/IKONdocs: Barbara Wiessing
Commissioning Editor EO/IKONdocs: Margje de Koning


Press materials