Hotline 0800509001

How the World Perceives Films About Ukraine: the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation Held a Discussion with Documentary Filmmakers


The 9th of September 2023 marks the Day of Ukrainian Cinema: a professional holiday of filmmakers who take great efforts to tell the world the truth about what Ukraine is going through. On the occasion of the holiday, we talk about the influence of Ukrainian cinema on the international audiences. The participants of the discussions, held by the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, shared their opinions in the framework of the 14th Odesa International Film Festival.

“Toward the end of the film, you have the impression that you are a viewer, but at the same time, you are also a passenger. And the same can happen to you if Putin goes further and starts a world war. The international audiences change the paradigm of thinking about Ukraine when they see such films,” Anna Palenchuk, the producer of the work From Where to Where, comments on her film.

This work by film director Maciek Hamela, about the people he evacuated to Poland during the war, became the winner of the OIFF in the Best Feature-length Documentary Film category. Anna said that when the film got to Europe, it turned out that simple stories from the evacuation vehicle resonated with foreign viewers. The premiere took place at the Cannes Film Festival. The film won the main award in the International Competition at the Sheffield DocFest in the UK. At the OIFF, the film received a special prize from the Museum of Civilian Voices.

Despite the global success of documentaries about events in Ukraine, filmmakers say that given the trends in the field of documentary filmmaking, the relative simplicity and accessibility of filming compared to feature films, there are risks of reality being distorted on the screen.
“Films will be shot about us... Very strange ones, and very many of them. And they will not reflect our emotions and our reality, because they will be filmed by tourists who visit us from time to time. It is at the documentary cinema level that we can address this,” says Ihor Savychenko, producer of the films The Volunteer’s Day, and The Independence Day.

The organizer of the panel discussions, the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, understands these risks. That is why it documents the events told first-hand by people who suffered from the war. The Museum’s archive now has more than 80,000 such stories. The Museum supports documentary cinema in a joint mission, which is to tell the world what Ukraine is going through, to prevent stories, faces, and voices from being forgotten, from being left in the faceless figures of statistics. 

Every story about the war matters. To keep the memory for a better future, share your story on the portal of the Museum of Civilian Voices 
 Home page – The Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation

or via the toll-free hotline 0 (800) 509 001.