On March 31 and April 1 the showcase Ukraine on Film: Way to Freedom is being held in Amsterdam. The days of Ukrainian film are taking place in the Dutch capital on the eve of the referendum on Ukraine’s association with the European Union, which is to be held in the Netherlands on April 6.
The showcase encloses the documentary features telling about iconic events in Ukraine: from the classics of silent cinema, The Eleventh Year by Dziga Vertov, to contemporary international film festivals’ hits, The Russian Woodpecker by Chad Gracia and Winter in the Fire by Evgeny Afineevsky. The screenings will take place at Pathé Tuschinski, one of the main theaters of Amsterdam, located in the legendary historic building.
The showcase is opening with The Eleventh Year cinematic performance. The avant-garde documentary feature of the same name, shot by the pioneer of world cinema Dziga Vertov, will be shown, accompanied by a live soundtrack performed by Ukrainian composer Anton Baibakov and musician Sofia Turta (piano). It is a documentary based on a Soviet newsreel shot during the 1920s, telling the story of the construction of socialism. It is the first piece shot by Vertov in Ukraine. In 2014, his Man with a Movie Camera has been recognized by the British magazine Sight & Sound as the best documentary of all time. Contemporary soundtrack for The Eleventh Year was created in frames of collaboration of the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Docudays UA and Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre.
The program also includes a documentary hit The Russian Woodpecker by Chad Gracia, the winner of Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at Sundance Film Festival. The protagonist, Fedor Alexandrovich is a radioactive man. As a child, he was exposed to the toxic effects of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown and forced to leave his home. Now 33, he is an artist in Ukraine, obsessed with the earth-changing catastrophe – why did it actually happen? The story is balancing between a documentary investigation a thriller about conspiracy theories. The Russian Woodpecker entered the Oscar long-list. The film will be presented by the protagonist Fedor Aleksandrovych and the producer Marina Orekhova.
The showcase’s closing is Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, the nominee for this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film by Evgeny Afineevsky, shot in the midst of Euromaidan, was co-produced by Netflix and participated the program of international film festivals in Venice and Toronto. Chronicling events that unfolded over 93 days in 2013 and 2014, the film witnesses the formation of a new civil rights movement in Ukraine. In Amsterdam, the feature will be presented by the director Evgeny Afineevsky and the creative team.
Days of Ukrainian Cinema are presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and the State Film Agency of Ukraine. The general partner of the project is Igor Yankovsky Foundation “Initiative for the Future” that supports talented youth, assisting in creation of a highly cultured human society in the state, and implements the successful projects both in Ukraine and Europe. The event is organized by Arthouse Traffic and Brand New Ukraine Foundation. The official carrier is Ukrainian International Airlines, a partner, who has been supporting international film events in Ukraine and abroad for many years, helping to open Ukraine to the world.