The city of Avdiivka (Donetsk Region) hosted the Contemporary Ukrainian Cinema Festival from April 1 to April 4, 2018. Avdiivka is located on the front line – only 13 kilometers away from the occupied Donetsk. Hostilities almost do not stop on the city’s outskirts and many of the houses are destroyed, but the city continues to live – there are about 10,000 inhabitants in Avdiivka today. There are no cinemas in the city now – though there were four of them in the past and residents of the city went to watch films there before the war.
The Contemporary Ukrainian Cinema Festival was aimed at introducing Avdiivka residents to the latest innovations in national cinema and fulfilling a certain cultural mission. In spite of the constant crash of guns, cultural life in the city should be integral.
Designed for adults and children, the festival programme consisted of fiction, documentary, and animated films. The children have watched the fantasy film “The Watchtower”, the musical “The Trumpeter”, the full-length animated cartoon “Mykyta Kozhumiaka”, and the animated collection of educational tales “My Country Is Ukraine”.
The documentary block has presented the films that conceptualize the modern and past of Ukraine: “The House “The Word”” about Stalin’s repressions against the creative intelligentsia of Ukraine; “School No.3” about schoolchildren of Mykolaivka (Donetsk Region), who tell how they live in the frontline city; “My War. Two Lives of Vasyl Slipak”; “The War of Chimeras” about the attempt of the soldier, who has survived the Ilovaisky boiler, to return to peaceful life.
Adult viewers have watched two comedies – the romantic “Love Sickness” and the adventure one “Dzidzio Double Bass”, the action-packed historical thriller “Red”, and the military drama “Kiborgs”. The screening of “Kiborgs” has become an important event for Avdiivka because the city is separated only with the field and wood line from the Donetsk Airport. Actor Oleh Shulha, who performed one of the main roles in the film “Red”, has presented the film before its screening.
The Avdiivka Film Festival is the fourth stage of the long-term project “The Ukrainian Cinema in Donbas” initiated by journalist and volunteer Olena Cherednichenko. Like the Avdiivka Film Festival, the project is supported by the State Agency of Ukraine for Movie. The organizer of the Contemporary Ukrainian Cinema Festival in Avdiivka, which is held with the assistance of the Avdiivka Military Civil Administration, is the NGO ARTFORUM. Its partners are: Dovzhenko Centre and Film Industry Association of Ukraine.
“The main idea of the project “The Ukrainian Cinema in Donbas” is to engage the inhabitants of Donetsk and Lugansk Regions into the united cultural space of Ukraine,” comments Olena Cherednichenko. Unfortunately, our modern cinema is almost unknown there. But cinema is a powerful means of shaping human consciousness, and this fact is a strategic issue under conditions of the hybrid war”.