|Columbia University's Ukrainian Film Club (UFCCU) is a forum
for showcasing the best of Ukrainian cinema, both classic and
new, to the Greater New York public and to film enthusiasts across
the United States and Canada. Since its establishment in October
2004, the Club has become a unique international initiative connecting
Ukrainian filmmakers with the world. Our strong sense of mission
is nourished by our enthusiasm for cinema as the most modern
form of human expression, and by our desire to promote Ukrainian
cinema in the United States. We, at the Ukrainian Studies Program
of Columbia University, feel that the Ukrainian Film Club can
and should act as a much-needed conduit for international access
to the best and most creative Ukrainian films. We hope to give
Ukrainian filmmakers a sense of global perspective-something
that has been missing for them as a result of the domination
over Ukraine by imperial Russian culture. This domination persists
even today. We seek to be the point wherein two creative streams
meet and enrich one another, for there are those who are working
at the cutting edge of Ukrainian film culture, developing exciting
new ideas, and those in the American public who are searching
for new sources of artistic inspiration.
In Ukraine, unlike other former parts of the now defunct Soviet
empire, independence did not mark a gilded age of culture.
Left without government support, private funding, and a national
film distribution system, Ukrainian filmmakers have been faced
with a choice - "commercialize" or perish. Many switch
to making lucrative commercials, TV soap operas or to working
at a pedestrian level of the broadcast medium. Others leave
Ukraine in search of more rewarding creative outlets. Still
others refuse to accept the new reality and fight on. Thanks
to these dedicated people, Ukrainian cinema persists. Here
and there, unexpected masterpieces surprise its countrymen,
as well as the international film community.
It is a challenge to view a Ukrainian film in Ukraine today.
The movie theaters show either Hollywood or Russian productions.
Video rentals do not carry Ukrainian films. The likelihood
of finding a Dovzhenko, Paradzhanov, Muratova or Illienko film
in a video rental store in Boston or New York is much greater
than in Odesa or Kharkiv. Even Ukrainian DVD pirates seem uninterested
in Ukrainian films. Millions of Ukrainian viewers are in fact
deprived of the opportunity to see a Ukrainian film in their
Despite the adverse situation on the ground, Ukrainian cinema
is actively seeking and experimenting with new media. A new
generation of artists is redefining Ukrainian film and, through
it, the entirety of Ukrainian culture. UFCCU is particularly
interested in the works of these young artists. The Club's
repertoire includes a veritable pantheon of the classic film-makers
of Ukraine, from Oleksandr Dovzhenko, Ivan Kavaleridze, Ivan
Mykolaichuk, and Leonid Osyka to the living, acclaimed filmmakers
such as Yuri Illienko, Vyacheslav Kryshtofovych and Serhy Masloboishchikov.
The work of filmmakers Kira Muratova, Sergey Paradzhanov, Roman
Balayan and Viacheslav Krystofovych draw on more than one culture
and the influence of these artists transcends borders. By far
the greatest prominence in the activities of the UFCCU is given
to the new generation of Ukrainian directors. It is not by
chance that the first event of the club showcased the film "Mamay" by
Oles Sanin a young and already acclaimed director from Kyiv,
Ukraine's official entry for the Academy Awards nomination
for the best foreign language film (2003).
Full-length theatrical features are but one of many formats
and genres we showcase. Our events also include narrative shorts,
short and full-length documentaries, animation, and films made
for television. Our viewers have every reason to feel privileged,
for every film we screen is either a New York, United States,
or North American premiere.
Join the Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University!