The 15th International Travelling Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Docudays UA starts in October. This year, the most interesting human rights documentaries will be seen by residents of more than 200 Ukrainian towns and cities. Traditionally, the Travelling Docudays UA will last until the end of December and visit 22 regions of Ukraine: Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kirovohrad, Lviv, Luhansk, Poltava, Kherson, Chernihiv, Chernivtsi, Ternopil, Volyn, Donetsk, Zhytomyr, Kharkiv, Vinnytsia, Odesa, Sumy, Zakarpattia, Rivne, and Khmelnytsk regions. The screenings will start in Ternopil oblast from October 5.
The venues for screenings and discussions about the films include local film theaters, houses of culture, schools and colleges, film clubs and creative spaces, bookstores, libraries, as well as penitentiary institutions. An important component of the events are discussions, where the audience will have a chance to talk with filmmakers, as well as with invited human rights advocates and cultural figures.
The central topic of this year’s festival is called Equal Equalities and dedicated to the social challenges related to the concept of equality. It offers to discuss the widespread stereotypes, to determine how to practice equality in our everyday lives, and, in the end, to “measure” equal equalities. The main film program is dedicated to the groups of people who experience inequality and social discrimination most often, and who are underrepresented in the media. The Festival offers the visitors to look at the issues of inequality from various perspectives – not just through cinema, but also through human rights educational and advocacy events, as well as discussions.
The film Silvana (directed by Mika Gustafson, Olivia Kastebring, Christina Tsiobanelis) follows the life of the Swedish rapper Silvana Imam, whose lyrics are directed against all forms of oppression, and traces her path from an underground artist to an icon. My Body Is Political by Alice Riff raises the topic of Brazilian transgender community and its political disputes. The film Silent War (directed by Manon Loizeau) tells the stories of women who suffered from rape perpetrated by supporters of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. In the film The Other Side of Everything, the director Mila Turajlic exposes the past of one Serbian family and raises the questions about every generation’s duty to fight for their future. The film Holiday (directed by Zhanna Maksymenko-Dovhych) is a portrait of a Southern Ukrainian city whose residents are looking for their identity against the backdrop of the new war and the tectonic changes in the country. The daughters, wives and mothers of the members of Greek neo-Nazi party are described in the film Golden Dawn Girls (directed by Havard Bustnes). The stories of people who have been going to a school for children with Down syndrome for 40 years, but strive for more freedom and independence, are told in The Grown-Ups (directed by Maite Alberdi).
The Travelling Festival’s program also includes films that received awards at Docudays UA 2018 in Kyiv. The film No Obvious Signs (directed by Alina Horlova) traces the path of a woman who returned from the war from the beginning of her rehabilitation and until she starts working again. The film won in the DOCU/RIGHTS category, and received awards from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and the Current Time media. The festival program also features the film which received the special mention in the DOCU/UKRAINE and DOCU/SHORT programs, as well as the Andriy Matrosov award, — Mustard in the Gardens by Piotr Armianovski. Whereufrom (director Dmytro Lavrinenko), the film which won the main prize in the DOCU/UKRAINE program, explores the reality of selfies by using two cameras: one belongs to the protagonist, the other is operated by the director. The Distant Barking of Dogs (directed by Simon Lereng Wilmont), observational film that follows the life of the 10-year-old Oleh and his grandma Oleksandra in a village on the front line, received the Audience Award at Docudays UA 2018. In addition, the film is accompanied with an audio description, which makes it accessible for listeners with visual impairments.
Special Screenings at the Travelling Docudays UA
The film Ex Libris: The New York Public Library by the prominent American director Frederick Wiseman goes behind the scenes of one of the greatest knowledge institutions in the world and reveals it as a place of welcome, cultural exchange and learning. In addition to screening the film, the Travelling Festival will hold discussions about the function and role of public libraries in the contemporary Ukrainian society. The discussions of the transformational potential of Ukrainian libraries and the opportunities that they present to local communities will be held in 10 cities and will involve experts.
Human Rights Activities at the Travelling Docudays UA
The films will be discussed in partnership with the Campaign Against Discrimination, and the discussions will involve the Campaign’s experts. In addition, the Campaign Against Discrimination will organize workshops for police officers about non-discrimination in police work, preventing hate crimes, and standards for investigating such crimes. There will also be lectures and workshops of the Campaign Against Bullying, which was launched by the Ministry of Justice as a part of the I HAVE THE RIGHT! Project in partnership with the Ukrainian National Police; the campaign’s target audience are children and their parents.
The Festival’s partners in Ukrainian regions are 49 leading youth, community and human rights organizations, as well as 186 Docudays UA film clubs for media education in human rights. More information on the schedule of screenings in the regions can be found at the official website of the Docudays UA Traveling Festival, www.traveling.docudays.org.ua.
The Traveling Festival’s Goal
To promote popularization and development of documentary film and to raise the level of respect for human rights in Ukraine.
The Traveling Festival’s Mission
We create opportunities for every person in Ukraine to watch the most talented and relevant documentary films from all over the world. This contributes to the development of critical thinking, encourages an active civic stance among citizens, and promotes the appreciation of human dignity as the highest value. By realizing our mission, we promote the popularization and development of documentary film and help to improve the respect for human rights in Ukraine.
The festival is non-political and non-commercial.
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
The South NGO
Charity Organization “Charity and Health Fund”
Center for Contemporary Information Technology and Visual Arts NGO
Ukrainian State Film Agency
International Human Rights Film Network
Campaign Against Discrimination
The Traveling International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Docudays UA is supported by the Swedish Embassy in Ukraine, the US Embassy in Ukraine, and the Culture Bridges program, funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council in Ukraine in partnership with EUNIC.