Olya Chernykh: A Picture To Remember 

Hello Olya, how are you sweetheart? The voice of Babuschka Zorya from Donetsk, the hometown of Olya, who is now living in Kyiv with her father and mother. The film is built in a way that I as a viewer look forward to the next call Olya makes to Zorya to hear, how she is. They are and have always been close! An 80 year old woman full of life, who has had an important role in the life of Olya. The film is a gem, (also) when it comes to a family archive that includes – as family footage always does – gatherings around the table, lots of material from when mum and dad were married, when Olya was a baby and learned the names of her family and so on so forth. All of that held together of a personal voice narration of Olya, and that’s where the pain comes in, the pain of February 24 2022, when everything changed and the family left Zorya and Donetsk, “the city with millions of roses and coal”. We get glimpses of what it was, a rich city – and now…

Yes, it is a family film, memories and today, as she says, Olya, who originally wanted to make a film about her mother’s working place, a morgue! Now the morgue is a fine location with the mother and her colleagues, lots of humorous conversations and a birthday party for the mother, and a scene with a cleaning lady who wants to stop working there as the salary per month is 50€!

The challenge with a family film is of course to find the tone of the film and give it a flow and an atmosphere… I was not bored at any moment, I loved the family members, also the father who was painting during the night, a very good painter, would have loved to have more of him in the film, but a wise decision to focus on the three generations of women and their lives.

Hello grandmother, how are you… They are bombing all the time, Olya, I have changed all the windows, but let’s not talk about sad things. And at a zoom call in beforehand this fantastic woman looks like a samurai, Olya says to the woman, who wanted Olya to be in the sun to have a fine teint when a teenager. A sweet film it is, taken from a family’s love to each other, memories, also tough ones as the family is displaced from Donetsk, excellent editing work by Polish Kasia Boniecka.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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