Fall of the Piranhas

Directed by

Rurik Pankavuranov

Produced by

Saint Gregory Productions
MNBN Films

Written by

Oleg Kiskov
Matvey Rasapinsky
Irina Rasapinskaya

Release date

September 30, 2009


Roland Tidzhomov
Mstislav Pankavuranov
Hafimwahlid Talnaev
Matvey Rasapinsky
Lev Arigov
Gregoriy Umalin
Yordana Puevskaya
Dynamo Keruzov


m48.77 million

Box office income



105 minutes


Margovyan National Pictures
Saint Gregory Productions
MNBN Films

Fall of the Piranhas is a 2009 Margovyan drama documentary film based on the 1996 Pontival Piranhas team, and the air crash that took their lives, along with 116 other people. It stars Roland Tidzhomov, Mstislav Pankavuranov, Hafimwahlid Talnaev, Matvey Rasapinsky, and Lev Arigov as the starting five of the titular team. The screenplay was written by Oleg Kiskov with Matvey and Irina Rasapinskaya, siblings of Ruma Rasapinsky, who was involved in the crash. The film was released on September 30, 2009; and grossed over 1.7 billion margots, making it the highest-grossing film of 2009 (as well as the fourth highest-grossing film of the 2000's decade, and currently the sixteenth highest-grossing film in Margovyan history.


May 23, 1996; Llamadovskaya, Pontival. Air Pontival Flight 101, a Boeing 727 from Gobrovgrad to Casinovich, Sugalskaya, strikes a flock of birds in the skies above Llamadovskaya. Captain Ivan Testudov (Gregoriy Umalin), First Officer Vera Eugenio (Yordana Puevskaya), and Flight Engineer Pablo Rocher (Dynamo Keruzov) work together to keep their airplane in the sky and land safely in Llamadovskaya, but a risky attempt to turn the airplane back towards Llamadovskaya airport proves too much for the stricken plane, and it crashes into the banks of the Rio de los Llamas, killing everyone onboard except the flight crew. During transport to hospital, Flight Engineer Rocher dies, raising the death toll to 132. Among the dead are fifteen players of the Margovyan Basketball Association team Pontival Piranhas, and its head coach, Ivan Amrovich (Iosef Pankavuranov). Only rookie point guard Zosima Andivin (Ivan Prokofiev) is the team's surviving member, as he had been pranked by his teammates into oversleeping and missing the flight.

Eight months before the crash, on September 4, 1995; the Pontival Piranhas play the 1995-1996 MBA season opener against the Arbatskaya Monarchs in Gobrovgrad, Pontival. Eugenio and Rocher watch the game on front row seats, and they discuss the Piranhas' chances of winning the coveted MBA Finals, now that the team has assembled a talented frontcourt in Boris Nestorov (Roland Tidzhomov), Faddey Narmonov (Mstislav Pankavuranov), Ilham Bukhraminov (Hafimwahlid Talnaev), Ruma Rasapinsky (Matvey Rasapinsky), and American import Ross Mattingly (Lev Arigov). Bukhraminov had just been signed by the Piranhas after opting for free agency from the Sugalskaya Gamblers, and Narmonov had been traded to Pontival by Abukov for the talented-but-troubled star Jamal Mikhailov. For their first performance together, the Piranhas soundly beat the Monarchs 120-96. The next day, though, in a home game against the Gamblers, the Piranhas lose 100-85. This would be only the first of the Piranhas' ten losses during the 1995-96 season.

On January 21, 1996; against the Sampuva Stars, veteran journeyman Semyon Ulabrov (Gavril Remontadov) leads the team in an impressive comeback effort that eventually ends with the Piranhas up 113-112. On February 28, Captain Testudov and First Officer Eugenio, during a flight from Gobrovgrad to Sucre, Bolivia; discuss last night's game between the Piranhas and the Sta. Conrada Worshippers, when rookie Ruma Ferenko (Orental Gibitov), who had been substituted into the game following Ross Mattingly experiencing foul trouble, helps keep the team's momentum up and drives them to a whopping 96-69 win over the Worshippers. Also, on April 1, Flight Engineer Rocher talks to his aircrew about the Piranhas' thrilling game against the New Marginalia Rebels, where Ecuadorian Lauro Villarba (Ravil Yanenko) and Venezuelan Arturo Saenz (Terentiy Murov) lead the Piranhas to a seemingly sure win against the Rebels, only for New Marginalia's twelfth man Isay Kuadrov made the game-winning three-pointer for the Rebels.

By the end of the season, the Piranhas have achieved a win-loss record of 120-10, setting a new record within the league. The Piranhas sweep through the entirety of the Playoffs, and they get a well-deserved break while waiting for whoever they will be facing next in the MBA Finals, which is revealed to be the Gamblers, the only team that consistently beat them during the regular season. The Piranhas quickly set about training for the coming duel with the Gamblers, and by May 23, 1996; they feel that they are ready to face the Gamblers. The players of the Piranhas wake up, except Zosima Andivin, whom the others allow to sleep on as a rookie initiation prank. The Piranhas board Air Pontival Flight 101, and the flight takes off uneventfully, until it encounters a flock of birds over Llamadovskaya, and the film fades to black just before the crippled plane strikes the ground.

A brief epilogue shows the fates of the survivors of the crash. Ivan Testudov lost faith in his ability to fly airplanes and has retired from Air Pontival, and now lives in reclusion in East Bulgariyova. Vera Eugenio still flies for Air Pontival, and has become its chief pilot. Zosima Andivin is still with the Piranhas as of the 2009-2010 season, but recent syndicated broadcasts of the movie on television have edited the epilogue with updates on Andivin's life, especially his appointment as head coach of the Piranhas for the 2013-14 season.