Love, Truth, and Videotapes: 20-year-long story of the Travelling Docudays UA

Love, Truth, and Videotapes: 20-year-long story of the Travelling Docudays UA

18 October 2023

Love, Truth, and Videotapes: 20-year-long story of the Travelling Docudays UA

“What did we have? It was 2002–2023. Most cinemas, film halls had been refurbished as billiard rooms, slot machine rooms, car dealerships. It had nothing to do with cinema. Even if something was still happening in Kyiv — for instance, Kinopanorama and Kyiv Cinema were still working, there were thematic screenings — outside Kyiv everything was shutting down. Back then I lived in Kharkiv, but I came to Kyiv for work every day. And I tried to organise my trips to coincide with events at the Cinema House. It was a place where something interesting was happening every time. But there was nothing in the regions, absolutely nothing…”


Gennady Kofman, director, producer, co-founder and the first head of the Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival and the Travelling Festival in Ukraine’s Regions


If you love emotional stories about the beginnings of the Docudays UA festival 20 years ago, this article is for you. If you want to discover iconic documentaries by Ukrainian filmmakers that have been part of the story of the Travelling Docudays UA, we invite you to read this!


“In the past 20 years, the festival has brought together 4 to 5 generations of filmmakers. That first festival featured a film made by one of the luminaries of Ukrainian documentary filmmaking, Oleksandr Koval. Back then we didn’t know, we had no idea it was his last film, Hamlet with a Happy End… Nowadays I’m glad to see new films made by his students. For example, one of his last students was Alisa Kovalenko, who created We Will Not Fade Away (the film that won the Main Award of Docudays UA in 2023).”


Gennady Kofman 


Who has been a part of Docudays?

Where does the festival’s name come from?

What is the price of truth filmed by documentary filmmakers?


We have collected the memories of our friends: human rights advocates, public figures, educators, artists from Lviv, Zaporizhia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, and Kharkiv. We’ve tried to put the puzzles together to form a story for the dedicated lovers of documentary cinema and the fans of Docudays UA.


Stay with us and learn how our Travelling Festival grew in the times of:


DVD discs



Full-scale invasion

And many other things, personal, poignant things that you will hear about first-hand.


“We can complain that there are no cinemas and that’s why we don’t show films. There are no opportunities, funding, but there’s your example, which institutions such as the Derzhkino should pay attention to and follow.” 


Dmytro Hreshko, filmmaker


See you in interview episodes that will be published every two weeks on our website, on social media, and in our partner publication LiRoom.


Right now our big team is preparing for the 20th Travelling Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival during the war. The festival will be held from 17 October until December; it will visit 22 Ukrainian regions. Film screenings, discussions, and installations will also take place abroad in Ireland, Norway, Poland, and Germany for Ukrainian communities. Find out more on the website and the official Facebook page of the Travelling Festival.


With love,
Travelling Docudays UA 

The 20th Travelling Docudays UA is held with the support of the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine, Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, US Embassy in Ukraine. The opinions, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of the governments, charities, or companies of these countries. Responsibility for the contents of the material lies solely on its authors.

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