August 17, 2012. Lutsk, Ukraine, New York, N.Y.

Treasure Trove from Volyn Studio

Despite the lack of interest in Ukrainian national cinema on the part of the consecutive governments in Kyiv since 1991, independent filmmaking in that country persists and takes ever more creative forms, often in places least expected. My recent trip to Ukraine revealed that films are being made not only in Kyiv, Odesa or Lviv, but in locations that have not been known as having much to do with cinema. The ancient city of Lutsk, capital of the historical land of Volyn, turned out to be one such unlikely location.

Meeting in Lutsk (from) left Oleksander Z'horanets, editor-in-chief, Volyn Daily, filmmaker Borys Revenko, Yuri Shevchuk, and journalist Lesia Bondaruk.

Since 1980 a group of enthusiasts galvanized and lead by Borys P. Revenko founded the Volyn People’s Amateur Film Studio. Located in a cramped basement in downtown Lutsk, the outfit has operated, unbelievably, under the radar of Soviet authorities, deeply suspicious of any spontaneous manifestation of human creativity and was well-known to a limited number of Soviet Ukrainian film aficionados. Its founder, and longtime director Mr. Revenko was born in Central Ukraine where, as a child, he survived World War Two. He later became a sailor of a commercial whaling ship, traveled the world, and subsequently retired to Lutsk. It was there that he discovered his calling and passion for documentary filmmaking. He has made dozens of films, diligently documenting the life and culture of his native land. Back in the day he hosted in the Volyn Studio the legend of Ukrainian cinema actor and director Ivan Mykolaichuk. He was the first teacher and mentor of the director Oles Sanin and cinematographer Serhii Mykhalchuk, two well-known and talented representatives of the post-Soviet generation of Ukrainian filmmakers. Today this self-effacing and unprepossessing man in his seventies is full of plans and energy. He continues to attract to his studio and foster many a talented youth from all over Volyn.

For over a quarter century the Volyn Amateur Studio produced documentaries chronicling various lesser known aspects of Ukrainian history, culture, and everyday life. In a delightful gesture of support for the work of the Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University Borys Revenko gave us twenty-three films featuring a wide range of subjects and spanning more than seven decades. Of undeniable general and special interest among them are eye-witness accounts of the Great Famine of 1932-1934, historical documentaries about such lesser known aspects of WW2 in Ukraine as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), films about local folk culture, songs, rituals, celebrations, dance, and beliefs. These are documents whose value for historians, anthropologists, musicologists, linguists, and experts in other disciplines can hardly be overstated. With their transfer to our film collection these materials become accessible for American scholarly community and wider general viewership in North America.

Yuri Shevchuk

List of Films Donated by Borys Revenko:

1. On St. John’s, I Allowed My Face to Be Kissed. (На купала я давала личко цілувати). Volyn Studio.
2. Old Kolodii’s Ruses (Хитрощі старого Колодія). Volyn Studio.
3. Easter Egg Painted and Given with Love (Писанка мальована, з любов'ю подарована). Volyn Studio.
4. St. Basil’s Eve in Polissia (Щедрий вечір на Поліссі). Volyn Studio.
5. So That the Grain Field Is Bountiful (Щоб хліб родив). Volyn Studio.
6. The Jordan Pours Out Water from a Forest Well (Йордан воду розливає з криниці лісової). Volyn Studio.
7. My Granny Used to Say (Моя бабця казали). Dubno Studio.
8. Back to the Future (Назад у майбутнє). Oleksander Moskalets.
9. Artistic Cure of Soul (Мистецьке правлення душі). Volyn Studio.
10. So that the Earth Be Beautiful (Щоб було гарно на Землі). Volyn Studio.
11. Stem with a Smile of the Sun. (Стебло з усмішкою сонця). Barbos Studio and Volyn Studio.
12. Berehynia-2004 (Берегиня-2004). Volyn Studio.
13. Berehynia-2007 (Берегиня-2007). Volyn Studio.
14. Berehynia-2010 (Берегиня-2010). Volyn Studio.
15. Curer of Will or Recipe for a Patriot’s Valor. (Цілитель волeньки, або рецепти мужности патріота). Volyn Studio.
16. Bratkovsky’s Volynian Golgotha (Волинська Ґолґота Братковського). Barbos Studio and Volyn Studio.
17. Baptism (Хрестини). Volyn Studio, 1994, shot in the village of Maiaky, Lutsk county.
18. Maria’s Dream (Мрія Марії). Barbos Studio and Volyn Studio.
19. Youth Party at Karpylivka (Карпилівські вечорниці), shot in 1977 on 16-mmm film. Volyn Studio.
20. With Love for the Homeland. (З любов'ю до рідного краю). Concert. Volyn Studio.
21. Ivan Mykolaichuk in Lutsk (Іван Миколайчук у Луцьку). Photographs by Mark Kleimerman.
22. War, Sea, and Film (Війна, море і кіно) by Borys Revenko Volyn Television.
23. Chornovil’s Triangle. That Is My Life. (Трикутник Чорновола. Отаке моє життя). Volyn Studio.


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