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Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Back

Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival

9 Mar 2023

Docudays UA in Kyiv_ph Stas Kartashov

The 19th International human rights documentary film festival Docudays UA is a grantee of the Culture of Solidarity Fund Eunic Ukraine edition. We had the opportunity to talk with Victoria, program director of the festival, and Julia, fundraising director, who explained to us how the Docudays UA festival plays a very significant role in the cultural and human rights sphere not only in Ukraine but also in Eastern Europe. Talking through challenges, team efforts, outcomes, support and future steps of the festival, the two directors shared how this year’s edition held the title “state of emergency” and how this shifted the form of the online and offline screenings.

Docudays in Kyiv_ph Stas Kartashov

The Docudays UA Festival usually takes place during the last week of March intending to create opportunities for everyone in Ukraine to watch talented and relevant documentaries about human rights, culture and human dignity. The 2022 edition shifted due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since cultural life was put on hold in Ukraine and the topic of safety was very critical, the team’s efforts were focused on saving lives, preserving the organization’s resources, and transforming them into valuable actions to bring Ukraine closer to victory. Due to that, the festival team combined the Travelling Festival and the Docudays UA festival in November. The film screenings took part in Kyiv in an offline format from 11 to 13 November 2022, while the Travelling Festival took place not only nationally but also internationally. In fact, they organized offline screenings across different Ukrainian regions and abroad, in Germany, Israel and Poland, over the last two months of the year in cooperation with the Network of Regional Partners. Another focus was brought on board more than ever during the festival’s last edition, accessibility. In other words, producing audio descriptions (8 films) and open captions (all films) allowed people with visual and hearing impairments to immerse more in a festival atmosphere. Unfortunately, the number of people who lost sight or hearing in Ukraine has increased due to the war, so the issue of cultural product accessibility is becoming even more urgent. Victoria stressed how the urgency and aggression of the war manifested in the festival’s efforts to adapt and tackle these challenges without giving up.

Docudays UA in Lviv_ph Dmytro Shatskyi

“The war influenced our communications and how we worked together to prepare the festival. It was quite stressful, intense and urgent. We prepared everything in a concise period of time to finalize the program. This time the festival lasted for a weekend instead of a week.”

Raising awareness, visibility, outreach, and participation in Ukrainian art and culture amongst audiences, local communities, and key stakeholders were some of the primary aims of this endeavour. To achieve that, the film festival joined forces with Goethe-Institut, Danish Cultural Institute and Adam Mickiewicz Institute while launching an audiovisual campaign and activating diverse channels. Students and youth active in arts and culture, film industry representatives while also general audiences and people who stayed in Ukraine were the primary audiences the festival addressed to. Both offline and online, the festival managed to reach over 22000 people. Through these collaborations, the festival reached a wider scale this year, and partners drew extra attention to discussing decolonizing Ukrainian culture, cinema and traditions.

DocudaysUA in Kyiv_ph Stas Kartashov

Through the eyes of solidarity.

Prior to the war, solidarity was a beautiful and abstract word. The war showed what solidarity means in practice for Ukraine, and it’s not imposed by a president. It comes from the heart of people who want to help each other in any way possible, like via volunteering, providing shelters or joining the armed forces. Looking at the legacy that the festival wants to leave, both Victoria and Julia pointed out

“A culture of solidarity and a safe space for unity is what we want to bring with this festival this year. It’s a great motivation for people to go to the festival, to meet and interact with others while also distracting themselves from the war! We need to survive and live in solidarity spirit among the community.”

Docudays UA in Zhytomyr_ph Oksana Trokoz

Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival is not only about film, arts and culture. The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, shows what a culture of solidarity, human dignity, peace and unity means while putting at the forefront the liberation of the Ukrainian territories and protection of its culture. Having such an international dimension, the festival wants to illustrate worldwide how important it is for Ukraine to remain visible and to keep standing for its independence.


Granted:  €  24750

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