2013 Program

Come meet this year's festival guest filmmakers - fifteen, and possibly more - most who have arrived from overseas to New York City to take part in our 4-day, cinema-packed event. Headlining this kickoff evening will be the Kyiv-based film collective Goodbye, Ukraine! represented by six of its filmmakers who have flown in from Kyiv to present their films. Our featured guest speaker Denis Ivanov, a 'Goodbye, Ukraine!' co-producer and founder of Arthouse Traffic, a leading Ukrainian film distribution company, will talk about the 'Goodbye, Ukraine!' project and introduce two featured shorts from its anthology, along with the associated filmmakers. Lastly, everyone will be invited to an informal reception where the audience can mingle with filmmakers and enjoy wine and snacks. Don't miss this singular event. Get your tickets before they sell out.

In a small provincial Ukrainian town everyone: old ladies, teenagers, police and local mafia... gets a piece of the pie.
Director: Yuriy Kovaliov, 16 min., Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine   * A 'Goodbye, Ukraine!' film *

While Victor, an architecture student, awaits news of a grant to study in Barcelona, his real, gritty life bears down hard on him. Director: Aksynia Kurina, Screenplay: Marysia Nikitiuk, 18 min., Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine
  * A 'Goodbye, Ukraine!' film *

Denis Ivanov (Arthouse Traffic), Yuriy Kovaliov (The Pie), Marysia Nikitiuk (Gaudi), Lesya Kalynska and other filmmakers will be available for post-screening Q&A

In the hard scrabble, coal-mining towns of the Donetsk region of Ukraine, everybody digs- retirees, unemployed miners and even the children. It's not well known but for years now, the region's more desperate residents have been mining illegally. They excavate everywhere: in abandoned mines, under the basements of demolished buildings, in the neighboring woods, public parks, as well as in their own vegetable gardens. This documentary focuses on the family Sikanov's three children who have left their alcoholic mother and live on their own. Fifteen-year-old Yura, the grandson of a once powerful Soviet plant director, puts his dreams on hold in an emotionally riveting struggle to provide for his sisters the only way possible: illegally, and perilously, mining the remaining scraps in a once-thriving coal town.

Director: Marianna Kaat, 95 min, Russian (w/Eng. subtitles), Estonia, 2010, website

Marianna Kaat, Director, and Alla Tyutyunnyk, DOCUDAYS UA, will be available for post-screening Q&A
Pit No.8 had its Ukrainian premiere at the 2011 DOCUDAYS UA Film Festival

Pit No. 8 was awarded the Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival for first-time documentary feature director.

--- Preceded by the film short:

A fragile boy, pining his mother, enters an orphanage and deals with his new life.
Director: Oksana Artemenko, 10 mins., Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine

In a raw, blistering account of drugs and alcohol use by homeless youth in the city of Makeevka (in the Donetsk region of Ukraine), Slovenian sociologist Andrej Naterer films the same group of youth over a span of 10 years chronicling their lives, sad stories and for many, a premature but predictable, tragic ending.

Director: Andrej Naterer, 95 min, Russian/Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), Slovenia, 2012

--- Preceded by the film short:

A thought-provoking, graphic depiction of what brain surgery and shoe repair share in common in Ukraine. 'The Nameless' received the Jury Mention of Best New Signs Doc at the Lago Film Fest 2012, Italy.
Director: Lesia Kordonets, 18 mins., Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2010, Switzerland/Ukraine

A jaded couple have a petty argument over the purchase of a shower head. Director: Anastasia Maksimchyk, 10 mins., Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine

Based on a Guy de Maupassant short story, a University student prostitutes herself to make ends meet. 'The Wardrobe' screened at the Molodist Fast Film Festival in Ukraine.
Director: Liza Kliuzko, 11 mins., Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine

A former lover performs the erotic Kizonka goat dance, to entice a cuckolded husband. Director: Irena Ictelencheva, 10 mins., Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine

Young love, jealousy, vendetta, regret play out in this Gypsy national folk song's music video.
Director: Valeria Sochevech, 4 mins., Romani Gypsy (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine

A young university student seeks to emigrate from Ukraine by consorting with international tourists.
Director: Dan Voronov, 11 mins., Russian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine  * A 'Goodbye, Ukraine!' film *

Young and pregnant. Lesya doesn't seem to differentiate between dreams, nightmares and reality.
Director: Oksana Kazmina, Screenplay: Kateryna Babkina, 9 mins., Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine  * A 'Goodbye, Ukraine!' film *

A couple desperately searches for their little boy in this dream/nightmare-like scenario.
Director: Artem Rezhekov, 4 mins., Silent, 2012, Ukraine

An old Ukrainian World War II veteran experiences PTSD during a family gathering.
Director: Roman Synchuk, 10 mins., Ukrainian/Russian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine

Based on a novel by Valerian Pidmohylny about the Civil War in Ukraine in the early twentieth century, this is the first installment of a trilogy. The story is about two teenagers who come into Petliura's detachment and almost immediately are captured by the Red Army. Director: Roman Synchuk, 29 mins., Ukrainian/Russian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine

Curated by and introduced by Kinofest NYC Program Coordinator Andrij Witiuk
Film selections organized in Ukraine by Liza Klyuzko and Lena Yacovitska (Karpenko-Kary).

This feature documentary charts the journey of filmmaker Daniel Edelstyn as he tracks down his long lost Jewish Ukrainian heritage to Ukraine and then attempts to relaunch his great grandfather's once glorious vodka empire. The film constitutes a whirlwind journey through European times and spaces - the story has it all, revolution and romance, exile and entrepreneurship, and at its heart lies a life changing discovery of a vodka distillery in Ukraine. Daniel Edelstyn deftly adds archival photographs, animation, and re-enactments into his film adding to the viewer's entertainment. 'Vodka Empire' has screened in over a dozen theaters all over the U.K. and in numerous international film festivals.

Director: Daniel Edelstyn, 75 min, English/Russian/Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), United Kingdom, 2012
This screening is made possible with the cooperation of the National Center for Jewish Film.       

--- Preceded by the film short:

In this light comedy/drama, a sassy teenage girl seeks out much older men on an internet dating site.
Director: Tatiana Budickaya, 21 mins., Russian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Russia

A teacher attempts to break traditional Gypsy culture in Ukraine by teaching Gypsy children in a formal classroom setting instead of the historical pattern of "homeschooling".
Director: Roman Bondarchuk, 6 min., Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine

The troubled lives of a teenager and his friends in a Latvian suburb.
Director: Dzintars Dreibergs, 13 min., Latvian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Latvia

An animation-treated ode to the Zaporezhets, a classic Soviet Ukrainian car first manufactured in 1960.
Director: Natalia Ilchuk, 5 min., Silent, 2012, Ukraine

A pretty but reclusive librarian fantasizes an unattainable love affair. 'Beautiful Woman' won a Special Diploma of the Jury award at the Odesa International Film Festival in 2012.
Director: Olena Alymova, 14 min., Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine  * A 'Goodbye, Ukraine!' film *

In this xenophobic comedy of errors, a paranoid French novelist arrives in Ukraine to do a book tour and finds his worst suspicions may be coming true.
Director: Larysa Artiuhina, 18 min., French/Ukrainian/English (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine

Anya is an aspiring actress and a single mother. She works at an assortment of jobs, some less palatable - just to survive. 'A Date' screened at the 2013 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, France.
Director: Yevhen Matviyenko, 10 min., Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2011, Ukraine  * A 'Goodbye, Ukraine!' film *

Franz, an aging Austrian playboy, seeks a Ukrainian romantic adventure via internet dating. When he meets Olga, he gets much more than he's planned for. Director: Tatiana Korol, 35 min., Ukrainian/Russian/German (w/Eng. subtitles), 2011, United Kingdom

Olena Alymova (Beautiful Woman) and Yevhen Matviyenko (The Date) will be available for post-screening Q&A

In this dark comedy, Tolik has a mundane job as a psychotherapist in a Kyiv state-run hospital. He's married and a father, but everything in his life is lackluster. As Tolik contemplates something akin to a 'what have I accomplished in life' mid-life crisis, he gets into a row with a pair of addict patients and gets himself gladly fired from his job. In his new self-discovery journey he loses his status-minded wife, attempts several hare-brained schemes led by his buddy Slavik, and tries his hand as a poet-rapper at dance clubs. Meanwhile his joyless, aimless, indecisive approach to life unravels what's left of the fragile threads of his being. 'Business As Usual', Valentyn Vasyanovych's first feature, won a Special Jury Mention award at the Odesa International Film Festival in 2012 and is presently in wide commercial release in Ukraine.

Director: Valentyn Vasyanovych, 84 min, Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), Ukraine, 2012

Introduced by Yuri Shevchuk, founder of the Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University

This film depicts the Ukrainian students who defended their right for dignity, freedom and their own state in 1990. The Student Revolution in October 1990 lasted only 16 days but became an impetus for Ukrainian independence. Their forms of protest- hunger strikes, blocking main streets, civil action - led them to victory, demonstrating the possibility of an alternative to the USSR.

Director: Halyna Khymych, Lidiya Chayka, 26 min, Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), Ukraine, 2011

15 Young by Young is a multimedia documentary series of 15 short stories and animated reminiscence episodes directed by 15 young filmmakers from each of the 15 former Soviet republics. The short films as well as the animations refer thematically to typical childhood and teenage experiences in a time of nationwide change to independence and offer a fresh, colorful insider point-of-view on the present-day life of post-Soviet youth. At this session we're presenting just 5 films (Tajik, Belarusian, Estonian, Ukrainian, and Azerbaijan) from the series of 15. The Latvian film screens separately in the Post-Soviet Short Film session on Saturday at 5pm.

Introduced by 15 Young by Young producer Ilona Bicevska, who will be available for post-screening Q&A

A popular wedding singer/planner takes us behind the scenes of his successful business.
Director: Iskandar Usmonov, 13 min, Tajik (w/Eng. subtitles), Tajikistan, 2012

Overcoming personal hardships, a young man perseveres and becomes a judo champion in Belarus.
Director: Andrei Kutsila, 13 min, Belarusian (w/Eng. subtitles), Belarus, 2012

An introspective young man slaughters animals for a living.
Director: Liina Paakspuu, Arian Levin, 13 min, Estonian (w/Eng. subtitles), Estonia, 2012

Polina, 11, an infectiously endearing and musically talented girl, plays a wide assortment of instruments. Her dream is to be a one-woman band. Director: Roman Bondarchuk, 13 min., Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Ukraine

A young Azerbaijani, once with higher aspirations, finds himself taking over his father's businesss: selling hot corn to beach goers. Director: Alekber Alijev, 13 min., Azerbaijani (w/Eng. subtitles), 2012, Azerbaijan

'Felt, Feelings And Dreams' follows a small group of Kyrgyz women who pull themselves from poverty by reviving ancient traditions of making crafts and art from felt. Set against this region's stunningly beautiful and harsh landscape, this film explores the women's feelings about their work, the friendships they make, the daughters they get closer to, and the children they can now feed. This film won Best Short Feature at the 2013 Princeton Environmental Film Festival and has recently been selected to screen at the Garden State Film Festival in New Jersey.
Director: Andrea Odezynska, 30 min, Kyrgyz/Russian (w/Eng. subtitles), United States, 2012

While a young Ukrainian couple with two kids concerns themselves with mundane things: new fridge, gas boiler, a Crimean vacation; their son pursues a fantasy world.
Director: Yevhen Matviyenko, 26 min, Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), Ukraine, 2012  * A 'Goodbye, Ukraine!' film *

A young, solitary miner is enraptured with a newly arrived pretty school teacher. When she responds to him, it brings out violent rage in the other miners. A beautiful, cinematic Ukrainian silent opera set in the bowels of a decrepit, failing mining town. 'Ukrainian Lessons' premiered in January, 2013, Kyiv, Ukraine, as a part of the Best Ukrainian Short Films Program - Ukrainian New Wave.
Director: Ruslan Batytsky, Co-producer: Lesya Kalynska, 30 min, Silent, some Ukrainian (w/Eng. subtitles), Ukraine, 2012

Yevhen Matviyenko (How Cossacks Flew into Space), and Lesya Kalynska (Ukrainian Lessons) will be available for post-screening Q&A

Yara Arts Group presents an evening of new Video Poetry with poet and video director Kateryna Babkina from Kyiv. The event will combine screenings of videos with performances of the poems in English translations. Highlighted will be videos featuring poetry by such Ukrainian writers as Kateryna Babkina, Iryna Shuvalova, Oksana Zabuzhko, Yuri Andrukhovych, Victoria Stakh and Victor Neborak, as well as Ukrainian-American poet Dzvinia Orlowska. The videos, created by Olia Mykhailiuk, Kateryna Babkina, Max Hoffman. use animation, graphics and experimental video techniques accompanied authorial readings and even performances by such popular singers as the Telnyuk Sisters.

Co-curated by Kateryna Babkina
Yara Arts Group founder Virlana Tkacz will be available for Q&A