Washington, D.C. (August) – This year Cultural Vistas executed two Ukrainian Professional Exchanges Programs through a grant from the U.S. Embassy Kyiv. Both projects were for Ukrainian documentary film industry professionals who are currently dealing with various challenges in the field due to the Russian war against Ukraine. The programs aimed at introducing Ukrainian film professionals to U.S. film industry, existing funding opportunities for film makers, and educational possibilities in the field. The first program took place in March 2023 and brought together seven documentary filmmakers. The second program took place in June – July 2023 and was designed for film producers, film critics, and film festival managers.
The first group traveled in Raleigh, NC, Los Angeles, CA, and NYC, NY to meet with organizations such as the Southern Documentary Fund, RiverRun International Film Festival, UCLA’s Film School, Creative Visions Foundation, DOCNYC, and New York Film Academy. Participants visited several cultural sites, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Museum of Modern Art, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica Pier. Additionally, they participated in a home hospitality visit in Los Angeles. During the trip, the group connected with independent filmmakers to share best practices and explore potential collaborations, they also discussed the ethics around filming human tragedy in quickly changing circumstances. Participants connected with other Cultural Vistas alumni for a final farewell dinner before departing the U.S.
The second group traveled in NYC, NY, Atlanta, GA, and Los Angeles, CA to meet with various industry experts, including Sundance Film Festival, Google, Producers Guild of America, Atlanta Film Society, Film Independent, Women in Film Los Angeles, and UCLA’s Documentary Film Legal Clinic. The program also included various cultural components, visits to famous U.S. sites, and a home hospitality experience with local community members in Atlanta, GA. The group got a chance to attend a few networking opportunities, including one hosted by the Muskie Fellowship Program alum, Vlad Klimchuk, with Dovzhenko League UA in Los Angeles as well as a happy hour event hosted at Emerson College by Cultural Vistas’ partner, International Citizen Diplomacy of Los Angeles.
“Our meetings with American documentary film professionals broadened my horizons and gave me an understanding of documentary processes in the USA and the challenges in the American documentary film industry,” says one participant on the experience. “It also prompted me to reflect on how I could apply these lessons to the Ukrainian film industry, tackle challenges, and continue producing impactful and compelling documentary films with an international perspective.”
Ukrainian Filmmakers Program Participants
The following Ukrainian film professionals took part in the program:
Badior, Dariia – Journalist, Curator of Kyiv Critics’ Week International Film Festival
Bassel, Daria – Producer at Moon Man production, Head of industry at Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival
Beskhmelnytsina, Olha – Producer, co-owner at 2Brave Productions, Chairwoman of the Board of the Ukrainian Film Academy
Burdina, Hanna – Festival Manager, American Independent Film Festival in Kyiv
Dondiuk, Mykola – Independent Filmmaker, Cameraman at Zaborona.com
Hontaruk, Yuliia – Independent Film Director
Kravchenko, Oleksandra – Independent Producer and contributing partner at MOON MAN LLC
Lytvynenko, Andrii – Independent Filmmaker, Director, and Producer
Makarenko, Olena – Video Reporter at the Kyiv Independent
Marikutsa, Kyrylo – Director of LLC KISFF FILMS, and LLC KYIVMUSICFILM
Mozghovyi, Semen – Independent Filmmaker
Shtyka, Ella – Head of Indie Media Polis NGO
Sinkevych, Yuliia – Producer (JS Films production company), Head of the Supervisory board at Ukrainian Institute, co-founder of Ukrainian Film Academy.
Yezhurov, Leonid – Videographer, Independent Filmmaker