Reflections on the Ukrainian Film Club’s First Decade: Interview with Yuri Shevchuk

The events are held on the Columbia University campus, usually in one of the lecture halls at the Department of Slavic Languages, Hamilton Hall, seventh floor. There are also off-campus lectures/presentations in other U.S. cities and in other countries. The UFCCU has held screenings at Rutgers, Ohio State, and Harvard universities, the University of Toronto as well as at non-academic venues in Philadelphia, Edmonton, Toronto, Chicago, Hartford, CT, Yonkers, NY, and other cities. The Club offers its film collection and expertise to facilitate film presentations on invitation from interested parties outside Columbia University. Inquiries should be sent to Yuri Shevchuk.

The on-campus events usually take place every third Thursday of the month at 7:30 PM during the regular academic year with Christmas and summer holiday breaks. The events are announced on this website as well as on various internet mailing lists, Brama, in the Ukrainian Weekly and at other New York City universities such as New York University, City University of New York, the New School for Social Research and, of course, Columbia.

Come celebrate 10th anniversary of Ukrainian Film Club @ Columbia University, the only permanent forum of Ukrainian film in USA

The Unknown Oleksander Dovzhenko
IVAN, 1932

This program sheds light on the lesser known early films by Dovzhenko, one of the greatest masters of world film. They are important to appreciate Dovzhenko himself, the entire Soviet Ukrainian film and its implications for the contemporary Ukrainian cinema. The program features episodes from the comedy short Love’s Berry (1927), his first full-length feature The Diplomatic Pouch (1928). Shown in its entirety will be Dovzhenko’s Ivan, the first Ukrainian “talking” movie picture.
Yuri Shevchuk will introduce and discuss the films.

When: February 18, 2015, 7:30 PM
Where: 313 Fayerweather Hall, Columbia University

In Ukrainian with English subtitles.

Oleksander Dovzhenko is hands down the greatest Ukrainian filmmaker, and one of the most important in world film history. Yet his three silent masterpieces Zvenyhora, Arsenal, and Earth are celebrated and admired almost always to the exclusion of his other works, both earlier and later. Such films as Love’s Berry(1926), The Diplomatic Pouch (1927), and Ivan (1932) present a Dovzhenko that starkly contradict the socialist-realist icon he largely remains today. They tell a story of a very different master, Dovzhenko the comedian, Dovzhenko the pioneer, Dovzhenko the nationalist. These films, in addition to their unquestionable artistic merits, reveal the Dovzhenko that might have been and was never allowed to become by the Soviet system.
About the film. The film-poem is about the construction of the Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Station (Dniprohes), about a Ukrainian peasant youth by the name of Ivan, who along with others comes to build one of the greatest objects of the Soviet industrialization drive. Dovzhenko depicts the process of the protagonists transformation caused by industrialization. A majestic panarama of the Dniprohes unfolds in front of the stunned peasant. The voice of an individual is lost in the ding of concrete mixers, steam hammers, locomotives. An industrial accident causes the death of a young worker. His mother runs across the dam as if trying to flee from the satanic machinery that seems to chase her. In a counter-opposing image young strong, and sinewy bodies of construction workers move in the undisturbed rhythm of work. In the process of his transformation into socialist worker, Ivan realizes that physical strength is not enough. He needs to educate himself. In the finale of the film Ivan, is admitted into the Communist party. The university doors fly open for him.
The film is endlessly fascinating in how it tries to reconcile what Dovzhenko has always been–a Ukrainian nationalist, with what he desperately needed to be in order to survive–a mouthpiece of Soviet propaganda.
Ivan got the Award for the Best Program presented by a State (USSR) at the Venice International Film Festival, 1934.

A very special event and a unique opportunity to meet filmmakers celebrated by this year's World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival. Maximum reposting is requested!!!

Russian Woodpecker. Ukrainian Revolution. Eyewitness Account

The documentary Russian Woodpecker, UK, dir. Chad Gracia, won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival in 2015. Two members of the film crew Fedir Aleksandrovich who conceived the idea of the film and its cinematographer Artem Ryzhykov will discuss their experience making the Russian Woodpecker and documenting the Ukrainian Revolution of 2013-2014 and the current Russian aggression on Ukraine.

When: Thursday, February 19, 2015, 7:30 PM
Where: 702 Hamilton Hall, Columbia University

Yuri Shevchuk will introduce filmmakers and lead discussion.

The Zombie Woodpecker

February 24, 2014, New York, N.Y.

Fedir Aleksandrovych (left) and Artem Ryzhykov at Columbia event.

The Ukrainian Film Club at Columbia University held an event with Fedir Aleksandrovych and Artem Ryzhykov, two Ukrainian crew members of the feature documentary "The Russian Woodpecker", dir. Chad Gracia, US-UK-Ukraine coproduction, which has just been awarded the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary category at the hugely prestigious Sundance Film Festival and is headed for theatrical release and distribution in the U.S. in the near future. Mr. Aleksandrovych conceived the idea of the film and appear as the narrator in it. Mr. Ryzhykov is its cinematographer.
In their most recent discussion of the critically-acclaimed The Russian Woodpecker, filmmaker Fedir Aleksandrovich and cinematographer Artem Ryzhykov wholeheartedly presented the backstory to their impassioned art, becoming one step closer to cementing their selves with their work forever as their audience grows bigger. Their presence was anything but pretentious, nor was it projected in controlled tempos of self-promotion. Both are young, and placidly believe that their "version of what happened" will remain a mere version until the international community pursues an objective investigation. Read >>>

Secrets of "The Russian Woodpecker": Columbia Discussion with Crew of the Sundance Winner

February 22, 2015, New York, N.Y.

Filmmakers from Kyiv sharing insights on the mystery of Chornobyl catastrophe at Columbia.

On February 19th, the Columbia University community had a unique opportunity to talk with two members of the team behind the winner of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival's prestigious World Cinema Jury Prize for a documentary feature - "The Russian Woodpecker." Fedir Aleksandrovych, a theatrical artist and the documentary's main figure, and Artem Ryzhykov, the cinematographer, were present to discuss the film's conception, research, and other behind-the-scenes details.
"The Russian Woodpecker" follows Fedir's investigation into the events of the Chornobyl nuclear accident, prompted by chatter on Russian message-boards and social media about the real cause of the disaster being tied up in some shadowy conspiracy. These theories lead the documentary team to discover the existence of the enormous "Duga-3" radar system--nicknamed the "Russian Woodpecker," for the tapping sounds it generated--built by the Soviet Union within 7 kilometers of the Chornobyl reactor. Intriguingly, the existence of the Duga-3, now inside the Chornobyl exclusion zone, is almost completely unheard-of in Ukrainian society, and many people present at the discussion, including Dr. Shevchuk, expressed their surprise at this revelation. Despite standing 150 meters tall and spanning a full kilometer in length, the "Woodpecker," supposedly built as a first-warning system for American missile activity "beyond the horizon," remains largely secret. Read >>>

The Green Jacket, director Volodymyr Tykhyi. Film Review

February 10, 2015, New York, N.Y.

Written and directed by established Ukrainian director Volodymyr Tikhyi, The Green Jacket (2013), Zelena Kofta in Ukrainian, is a psychological thriller that exposes our most human vulnerabilities.
The film focuses on a family living in the suburbs of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, specifically on the teenage daughter Olia (played by Oleksandra Petko). The family is sent into a state of emotional purgatory as something happens to the six-year-old son, Mykhas (Ivan Baklan), while under Olia’s care. As the story unfolds, it becomes evident that Olia’s hysterical mother (Lesya Kalynska) and apathetic father (Taras Tkachenko) are unable and almost unwilling to deal with the recent events. Witnessing the incapability of the adults in her life, Olia decides she must take matters into her own hands to save her brother, and perhaps even herself. Read >>>

Critics Sound for Slaboshpytskiyi’s The Tribe

February 9, 2015, New York, N.Y.

Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe is perhaps the most-talked about Ukrainian film since independence. More importantly, it has been the most internationally decorated film by a Ukrainian film director ever.
Born in Kyiv, Ukraine in 1974, Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy graduated from the filmmaking department of the Ivan Karpenko-Kary State Institute for Theater, Film, and TV as a feature film director. He has worked at the Dovzhenko Film Studio in Kyiv and the Lenfilm Studios in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has also worked as a script writer for numerous made-for- TV movies and published a number of short stories. One of them, “The Chornobyl Robinson,” took first place in the All-Ukrainian Script Contest Coronation of the Word in 2000. Read >>>

UKRAINIAN FILMMAKERS COME TO NYC TO SHOW DOCUMENTARY ON DEVASTATING WAR

January 29, 2015, New York, N.Y.

Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe is perhaps the most-talked about Ukrainian film since independence. More importantly, it has been the most internationally decorated film by a Ukrainian film director ever.
Born in Kyiv, Ukraine in 1974, Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy graduated from the filmmaking department of the Ivan Karpenko-Kary State Institute for Theater, Film, and TV as a feature film director. He has worked at the Dovzhenko Film Studio in Kyiv and the Lenfilm Studios in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has also worked as a script writer for numerous made-for- TV movies and published a number of short stories. One of them, “The Chornobyl Robinson,” took first place in the All-Ukrainian Script Contest Coronation of the Word in 2000. Read >>>

Ukraine's Entry for the Oscar to Be Screened at Columbia University

October 16, 2014, New York, N.Y.

This year, Ukraine will be represented at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards (the Oscars) in the best foreign language category for 2014 by the director Oles Sanin's the latest work The Guide. To mark its 10th anniversary, the Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University is organizing a series of screenings of the film in five US cities with the participation of the film director himself: New York City (December 2), Philadelphia (December 3), Cambridge, MA (December 4), Chicago (December 5), and Detroit (December 10). The unofficial US premiere of the film will take place on December 2, 2014, Tuesday at 7:30 PM, at Columbia University, 501 Schermerhorn Hall, the Morningside Campus. Oles Sanin will present and discuss his film with the viewers. Read >>>

 
 

The Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University (UFCCU) is a forum of Ukrainian Cinema in New York City. It is a non-for-profit educational and cultural initiative within the expanding Ukrainian Studies Program at Columbia University. It was organized in October 2004. Its events are free and open to all. Its goal is to promote knowledge of Ukrainian cinema in the world. >>>

The UFCCU collection consists of the films donated by their directors to the Club or acquired through open commercial distribution. The films are made in Ukraine or in other countries on Ukrainian subject matter. Films are in DVD format with the exception of a few on VHS. Ukrainian-made films have English subtitles. As a matter of policy the Club neither loans nor duplicates the films in its collection, most of which are unique copies with English language subtitles. Instead we gladly accept invitations to screen films at various outside venues. >>>

 
 

Typically, a UFCCU event consists of a brief introduction by Yuri Shevchuk, the founding director of UFFCU and lecturer of the Ukrainian language and culture at Columbia; a screening; and a discussion with the audience participation. Events are organized thematically, around a chosen film either made in or related to Ukraine, or around an individual director or group of filmmakers. Ideally the Club would like to screen films with the participation of their directors. We have already hosted Taras Tomenko, Serhiy Bukovsky, and Taras Tkachenko of Kyiv, Ukraine, and Andrea Odezynska of New York, NY. >>>

Parallel to film presentations and lectures, the UFCCU runs various projects aimed at promoting the knowledge of Ukrainian cinema and Ukraine in the West. Among its on-going projects are:

  • The International Translation Workshop

  • Ukraine. A View from the West

  • Ukrainian themes in Hollywood

  • Ukrainian film in an International Perspective >>>

Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University© 2015. For more information please contact Yuri Shevchuk