The "1:24" film or "Koli" film, also known under various other names – is one of the most important pieces of evidence in the investigation concerning the causes of the Tu-154M aircraft No 101 plane crash. The short amateur film (lasting one minute and twenty-four seconds) was recorded at the crash site with a mobile phone by a witness on 10 April 2010, shortly after the crash, in a MP4 format.
The author, very possibly an eye witness to the crash itself, came close to the wreckage of the Tu-154M, prior to any emergency services arriving at the scene. The film was shot between the hours of 8:41:06hrs Polish time (10:41:06 hrs Moscow time), when the crash supposedly occurred, and 08:55hrs Polish time (10:55 hrs Moscow time), when a Russian unit of firefighters on duty at the military airport of Smolensk- Siewiernyj arrived at the scene (the first rescue unit, arrived at the crash site within 14 minutes after the crash).
In the film, parts of the wreckage can be seen; voices can be heard, in addition to unidentified gun shots-like noise.
A technical analysis was carried by the Internal Security Agency (ABW) thanks to General Zbigniew Woźniak, who at the time supervised the investigation. The ABW, in April 2010, secured for processing purposes the film from one of the internet portals. The film has become a subject of study of the Forensic Laboratory Bureau of the Internal Security Agency, and an opinion about it was shortly sent to the Military Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw. The General Prosecutor's Office and the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office in a joint released statement revealed among others that:
"[...] analysis of the film reveals that male and female voices in Russian and male voices in Polish can be heard and have been identified on the recording. Certain words could not be understood due to a large amount of background noise [...] The study reveals that there is no evidence pointing to any interference in the continuity of the recording, however, it was found that the recording could have been reformatted [...] and it should be noted that the material submitted for analysis was of poor quality. According to experts, it is possible that the film was repeatedly subject to compression, which could have blurred any signs of interference in the continuity of the footage. [...] In relation to possible sounds of gun fire, experts said that due to the interference of background noise, linked to most probably strong gusts of wind [...] and a suspicion of probably a modified recording format, it was not possible to identify any measurement analysis pointing to gun discharge."
On May 25th, 2010 the Military Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw, turned to the Russian Federation with a request for so called legal aid in identifying the author of the film and the circumstances of its creation:
"[...] to undertake and initiate necessary steps to determine the circumstance of the creation of the film, most probably uploaded for the first time on "YouTube" internet website on 12/04/2010 by a person under the nickname of Rastych described in Russian as "gorit samoliet mp4" [...] According to the findings of the Polish prosecutor's office, the "Twitter" site has had a user by the name of Rastych, signed as Yura Budnyk. According to reports in the Polish media, the film was recorded by 27 year old Vladimir Ivanov, a mechanic working in a garage located about 200 meters from the airport in Smolensk Siewiernyj."
(It is worth noting here that the above mentioned original film posted on youtube and its related account was removed from the internet after two days of the initial upload and secondly, that the military prosecution in its legal aid to the Russian Federation openly relies on media reports concerning the identity of the witness, and lastly the name of Vladimir Ivanov has been largely discredited since.)
By implementing the above legal aid request, the Russians sent through a recording on 19 August 2010. According to the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office, the video was of better quality than the one taken from the Internet. Along with the recording, the Polish side was given a testimony of the supposed author, interviewed in Russia without the participation of Polish prosecutors.
The film was analysed by the Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police Headquarters. The opinion was sent through to the Warsaw Military Prosecutor's Office in December 2010.
In January 2011, it was announced that according to police experts the film was not tampered with, that there is no evidence of interference with the continuity of the recording, and that the sounds that can be heard, could very well be that of gunfire.
Many assumptions and hypothesis have arisen as to the real identity of the film author. In addition to the name of Kola, other hypothetical names and aliases have been mentioned such as: Rastych, Jura Budnyk, Vladimir Ivanov, Vladimir Safonienko, Andrei Mendierej.
It was among others reported and it circulated that the author of the film actually Andrej Mendierej, was stabbed in Kiev on 15 April 2010. Then transported to hospital in sever condition, only to be subsequently stabbed again and disconnected from the hospital equipment, ultimately leading to his death/murder.
Discussions arouse further for a brief moment, by what some commentators identified on the film as a 'moving rope' along the screen at one point from left to right (00:44 - 00:47). In October 2011, an anonymous blogger published on the internet a 3D animation entitled "A Short Film About ... " identifying the object as a 'lifting sling' with a purpose of transporting heavy loads from the air, raising the interest of the media and stirring further discussions on the internet.
But more important is what can be heard, as opposed to seen. Sounds. Voices, male, female, Polish and Russian, helicopter noise, gun fire and sirens.
A Short Film About
The "1:24" film