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21 November 2008 18:40


The Living Historical Documentary Premiered, Ordered by Ukraine 3000 International Charitable Foundation

November 21, 2008, saw the premiere of The Living historical documentary, filmed by order of the Ukraine 3000 International Charitable Foundation by director Serhiy Bukovsky. The premiere and press conference were hosted by the Red Hall of the Kyiv Cinema House.

Among the participants of the event were film director Serhiy Bukovsky, advisor to Head of the Supervisory Board of the Ukraine 3000 International Charitable Foundation Andriy Myroshnichenko, executive producer Mark Edwards (US), head of the screenplay group Serhiy Trymbach, members of the crew, the film’s consultants and heroes.

The film, shot by the Lystopad-film Studio, is based on the tragic events of Holodomor in Ukraine. However, The Living is not about Holodomor as such. It presents a new angle on the evnts of the manmade famine of 1932-1933 as one of the atrocious episodes in the history of the post-Revolution and pre-war Ukraine. The two plot lines are set in 1917-1937. The first one is based on witness accounts of the survivors of those terrible events. The other is a view from outside through the eyes of British journalist Gareth Jones, who gave a detailed and accurate account of the Ukrainians’ tragedy that hadn’t been heard by his contemporaries.

The film was initiated by President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko. Its consultants were renowned Ukrainian and foreign historians: Oxana Pachlowska, Myroslav Popovych, Yuri Shapoval, Andrea Graciosi, and Ivan Dziuba.

The work on the film took almost a year: preliminary research, interviewing hundreds of people, several crews recording Holodomor witnesses’ accounts all over Ukraine and even in Wales. 56 witness accounts were filmed (with 28 included into the final version); 85 hours of materials were shot. The sounds score alone took a month and a half. The authors elected not to use specially written music. The film is made in the state-of-the-art HD technique.

At the press conference, Messrs. Edwards, Bukovsky, Myroshnichenko, and Trymbach described the idea and course of the film creation. “We have processed a vast amount of information, creating seventeen versions, if I’m not mistaken,” Bukovsky said, adding that the work on the film had brought the crew members close together, making them work as a single team in the atmosphere of creative freedom.

“We wanted to show that in fact the 1932-1933 tragedy was much deeper than it may seem,” Myroshnichenko said. “The Great Famine is only one of the consequences of a systemic phenomenon, aimed at destroying the real masters of their land. The genocide against the Ukrainians by Stalin regime in 1932-1933 was in fact rooted in 1917, and due to director Bukovsky’s gift this problem received its due coverage.”

Mr. Myroshnichenko said that the Ukraine 3000 Foundation and Ukrainian Film Foundation were planning to present The Living at international film festivals and release it on television and on big screen. In part, a special presentation of the film is planned at the Berlin film festival and several documentary film festivals. Additionally, a DVD will be released, including some extras. During the next year the film copies will be passed over to all Ukraine’s educational institutions.

Bukovsky also said that the historical data, collected during the work on the film, would be processed by professionals. After transcribing and systematizing, the material will be passed to the Ukraine 3000 Foundation.

“While working on this film, I discovered the yet unknown and horrible pages of Ukraine’s history everybody has to know about and remember, as we remember Holocaust,” Edwards said. “I wish that The Living awake an echo in the hearts of people in Ukraine and the world.”

The film crew also presented The Living ’s web site,

Serhiy Bukovsky was born in 1960 in Bashkortostan. Studied stage direction at the Kyiv State Karpenko-Kary Theater School. His Holiday’s Eve 20-minutes documentary (1987) brought the director recognition by professionals and success with the public. In the 25 years of his work in the cinema, Bukowvsky has made around 50 documentaries and television films. His works received awards at prestigious international festivals. On Bukovsky’s record are The Roof (1990), Location (1992), Long Dash (1992), To Berlin! (1995), Vilen Kaliuta: the Real Light (2000), Terra Vermelha. The Red Land (2001), a 9-part documentary The War: Ukrainian Score (2003, National Taras Shevchenko Prize of 2004). Bukovsky’s latest work, Give Me Your Name (2006), was also a great success. The film, co-produced by Steven Spielberg, is dedicated to the history of Holocaust in Ukraine.

The Living was presented as part of the 75th Holodomor anniversary commemoration in Ukraine. Two more demonstrations are scheduled for the same day: at the Cinema House and Ukrainian House. President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko is to attend the Ukrainian House presentation.

This action continued the series of event held by the Ukraine 3000 Foundation for the 75th Holodomor anniversary. Earlier, the Foundation presented an exhibition at the Ukrainian house as part of the Holodomor of 1932-1933: the Genocide against the Ukrainian People all-Ukrainian exhibition, publications on Holodomor, and the Ukraine Remembers, the World Recognizes website.

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