Opening ceremony, special events online, and exhibition about the future through the eyes of children: Travelling Docudays UA in Chornomorsk

Opening ceremony, special events online, and exhibition about the future through the eyes of children: Travelling Docudays UA in Chornomorsk

20 November 2023

This year Chornomorsk is hosting the Travelling Docudays UA for the second time. The festival has brought together a lot of partners, from youth spaces to local governments. Thanks to this, more and more residents of Chornomorsk are finding out about the festival. The organisers also actively engage young people and children aged 7 to 12.


The festival opened on 5 November, and the opening was a celebration for the locals. The guests were welcomed by live music, and local officials participated in the ceremony. During the event, the audience watched the film Second Wind about the clarinettist Mykyta Hirnia from Chernihiv. The film tells the story of dramatic changes in the musician’s usual life as a result of the war, of volunteering and his attempts to stabilise his mental state.


Opening ceremony of the Travelling Docudays UA in Chornomorsk 


At the opening ceremony, the festival’s regional coordinator Oleh Okhredko said: “This film is unusual: it shows the state of society in Ukraine. We’re already past the stage of elevated enthusiasm, and many are now facing the period of exhaustion. The full-scale invasion began in 2022, but many of us have been experiencing the war since 2014. Today we need a second wind to help us go on and grow.”


In addition to the film screening, the opening featured two dance numbers and an emotional song performed by the students of the Extracurricular Education Centre of the Chornomorsk City Council.


Opening ceremony of the Travelling Docudays UA in Chornomorsk


Just half an hour after the conclusion of the opening ceremony, there was an air raid siren in Chornomorsk, followed by sounds of explosions. Chornomorsk is one of the cities living under regular bombings, so the organisers do not announce the time and location of events publicly. In order to attend the festival, viewers need to request the details personally from the organisers. Despite this, there was always a full house at the festival events.


The second screening of the Travelling Docudays UA in Chornomorsk took place on 7 November. An exhibition of children’s drawings titled Images of the Future also opened on the same day. The event was held at the Oleksandr Bilyi Fine Arts Museum, which has been a partner for festival exhibitions and screenings for two years.


What makes the festival in Chornomorsk special is also the fact that the organisers actively engage children and young people in the events. During the preparations for the 20th Travelling Docudays UA, there was an idea to organise an exhibition of children’s drawings dedicated to this year’s festival theme, Image of the Future. The exhibition allowed the young viewers of the festival not only to watch films but also to creatively participate in the festival. And for the organisers themselves, the exhibition was a way to inspire everyone to believe in a better future and in Ukraine’s victory.


Regional coordinator Oleh Okhredko notes: “We decided to give an opportunity to those who will be creating our future to show how exactly they see this future. Hundreds of children and several adults participated in the exhibition and drew a total of 118 drawings.” He adds: “There are no grey drawings among the exhibits, only colourful ones. It’s very valuable that our children, who will be the ones to create the future, see it that way.” You can view the exhibition of children’s drawings online here.


Opening of the Images of the Future exhibition as a part of the Travelling Docudays UA in Chornomorsk 


During the exhibition opening, all the authors of the drawings received awards, and there was a screening of the film Forest, Forest (dir. Maria Stoianova). The film is made from home footage of a Ukrainian family and raises a number of questions about time, everyday life, and being rooted in the past. At the beginning of the film, the director herself, Maria Stoianova, addressed the audience from the screen. She explained why she decided to make this film and what it means for her. During the discussion with the audience, someone said that “life is also made of short scenes and memories. After all, we ourselves are the directors of our own film of life.”


Despite bombings, the screenings of the Travelling Docudays UA in Chornomorsk continued. They took place between 5 and 20 November, and the programme featured 10 films in total: The Killing of a Journalist, Forest, Forest, waking up in silence, Ramboy, 89 Days, Under the Wing of a Night, Guests from Kharkiv, Our Robo Family, Second Wind, and Kherson Unconquered. In addition to the screenings and the exhibition of children’s drawings, Chornomorsk residents had a chance to attend various seminars and masterclasses.


And on 16 November, there was a special event: just like last year, three coordinators, namely Hryhoriy Kurachytskyi from Mariupol, who is now living in Dnipro, Oleh Okhredko from Chornomorsk, and Yuriy Chumak from Kharkiv gathered their audiences online for a joint screening and discussion of the film 89 Days. They were joined by the film’s director Pavlo Dorohoi.


A still from the film Second Wind 


After the screening, the director spoke about how the filming went and what period of time was covered by the 15 minutes of the film’s running time, even though there were 30 hours of footage. In addition, the audience learned during the conversation that all the footage that was filmed will be used for an upcoming feature-length film.


Partners of the Travelling Docudays UA in Chornomorsk: Department of Education of the Chornomorsk City Council, Department of Culture of the Chornomorsk City Council, Centre for Extracurricular Education of the Chornomorsk City Council, Palace of Culture and Arts in Chornomorsk, Chodvizh Chornomorsk Youth Space, Polish House NGO, Oleksandr Bilyi Fine Arts Museum in Chornomorsk, School of Leaders.


Header photo: Travelling Docudays UA in Chornomorsk.


Author: Anastasia Konoshuk, Communications Manager of the Travelling Docudays UA in Chornomorsk.


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.

20 Travelling Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival
October — December 2022