… in the Times of War” was the title of a seminar at the Baltic Sea Docs. Including as moderator Rebecca Day, Ukrainian filmmakers Roman Bondarchuk, Ivan Sautkin, Anna Machukh, CEO of Odesa International Film Festival and Latvian producer and cinematographer Uldis Cekulis. The seminar took place at the Welton Riverside Hotel that faces the Daugava river with a fine look to the impressive very much discussed National Library, which I find a fascinating piece of architecture.
Roman Bondarchuk said that his problem was to re-find the level of sensitivity, when you and your family are trying to establish a peaceful life and when you can only plan two years ahead, being in exile.
Ivan Sautkin told that he during Maidan for the first time had seen a dead body, that he had sleepless nights, that he and his family – four kids – were trying to do their best in a situation, where there is no job and thus no money. (Anna Machukh presented results of a survey that documented that 44% of the Ukrainian film people were without job) he was referring to the Babylon’13 site where you can find lots of visual material from and about the war but also about Maidan and Ukrainian culture. Short documentaries.
Bondarchuk told about how the organisers of the DocuDays festival were in constant contact organising and informing, and about the war archive that is being built, including evidence of the war crimes committed and being committed by the Russians. “We try not to think about our mental health”. My comment: It is indeed impressive how active the DocuDays people are in conveying information, trying also to convince festivals around the world that there are numerous competent film curators who can help putting together programs with Ukrainian documentaries.
Uldis Cekulis showed clips from “Ukrainian Sheriffs” (director Bondarchuk) with my favourite protagonist, the mayor of the village where the film takes place… the mayor who was kidnapped and tortured by the enemy. He and his wife are now living in Latvia.
The seminar was organised by Lelda Ozola Creative Europe Latvia together with her colleagues from Lithuania and Estonia. Well done!