“There is no place like Soyuzivka” is the slogan of this Ukrainian Heritage Resort perched high in the Catskills. And there is a reason that this slogan rings true. On July 8 – 10 Soyuzivka hosted its 10th annual Heritage Festival which was a compilation of Ukrainian artists and artisans from across the United States, Canada and Ukraine. And as usual the venue didn’t disappoint, as participants frolicked and dance well into the night.
But one of the more notable programs was The Film Festival presented by Razom and Kinofest NYC. I say this not because I myself am a Razom volunteer and therefore may not have an impartial view. I say this as someone who has attended Ukrainian Festivals her entire life and experienced more of the same – but The Razom Film Festival was fresh and unique. The program was produced in partnership with Kinofest NYC under the tutelage of Ukrainian-American Filmmaker, Damian Kolodiy. Saturday’s program showcased a collection of short films and various movie trailers that showed the diversity of films that are being made in Ukraine today. The program included Sashko Danylenko‘s Animations, Maryna Artemenko and Oksana Artemenko Shorts, Yevhenia Haidamaka Animations and teasers for brand new films such as “Selfie Party”, “Sweet Darusya”, “Rocketman”, “The Living Fire”, and more. To learn more about Razom’s participation at the festival click here.
From a cultural education perspective this is quite relevant because it shows the evolution of film genres in Ukraine. It is important to see the wide breath of films which are progressive in theme as they will help shape the view of Ukraine to the world. Historically, Ukraine has produced heavy hearted films about war and martyrdom and now the films range across the spectrum of comedy and modern topics that are socially relevant and relatable. It is also interesting to see the role that technology is playing in propelling film making forward in a country like Ukraine, where much of the graphics and special effects weren’t even possible a few years ago. On Sunday of the Festival, Razom had aired Damian Kolodiy’s film Freedom or Death which was a documentary account of the events that took place in Kiev’s Independence Square in 2013 and changed the course of Ukraine’s history.
Written by Tamara Lashchyk, Razom volunteer since 2014.