Sunday Film Club Meetings in Kyiv Libraries
On January 14 and 21, the documentary film clubs of the DOCU/CLUB Network at two Kyiv libraries invited the audience to their open screenings.
23 January 2024

The “Svichado” Docudays Film Club at the “Svichado” Central Library offered a screening of the film “Broken Branches” by Ayala Sharot. This tragic story about the little girl Michal Rechter and her family never leaves the viewers indifferent, encouraging them to discuss the causes of the Holocaust and reflect on the roots of the tragedy.

The meeting was moderated by Khrystyna Hataliak, Network mentor, mediator, and coach in non-violent communication. The screening was also attended by moderators of film clubs from Kyiv and Zhytomyr, who are currently participating in the DOCU ACTION 3.0 mentoring program. For them, this meeting was a real workshop from an experienced colleague.


Khrystyna Hataliak encouraged the audience to share their impressions of the film. The audience was fascinated by the conversation about the images, emotions, and experiences prompted by the film. The discussion about human rights and human dignity was also fruitful. During the interactive exercises, the audience outlined a comprehensive definition of these concepts, substantiated their choices, and discussed the quotes of famous human rights activists about human rights.

The communication was intense and active. The organizers managed to create an informal atmosphere for an open exchange of opinions. One of the discussion participants said about the meeting: “I am grateful to the film club for the opportunity to watch the film and discuss it with others. It enhances the viewer’s experience. Everyone notices something different about the film, so the perception of what we see on the screen becomes three-dimensional.”

The meeting at the Docudays UA Film Club at the Central District Library named after P. Tychyna, which took place on January 21, was different in form but equally rich in content. The moderator of the film club, Alyona Ivanova, chose the documentary “Ostap” by Taras Dron. The audience was moved by the story of the film's protagonist Volodymyr, who, together with his family, has been waiting for the return of his brother Ostap, one of the Donetsk airport defenders, from Russian captivity.


Filmmaker Taras Dron attended the screening in person. He answered the questions from the audience, telling about the origins of the idea and the conditions and difficulties of the shooting process. The opportunity to learn about the backstage of filmmaking and the development of the main characters’ fate thrilled the participants. Viewers shared their feelings and experiences, asking the director about the events that remained behind the scenes.

The audience was deeply impressed by the conversation with Maria Alekseyevych, who is the wife of a captive defender of Mariupol and representative of the NGO “Community of Olenivka Families.” The organizers of the screening invited Maria to join the conversation via Zoom to discuss the reality of the families of prisoners of war since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion. After all, the aggressor country holds a large number of Ukrainian prisoners of war, not complying with the Geneva Convention, not allowing international observers to visit the POWs, and not letting them communicate with their relatives in Ukraine.


The guest told what the families of prisoners of war are doing to bring their loved ones home, and how they communicate with the Ukrainian authorities and representatives of international organizations. It was extremely important for the audience to learn how everyone can join the fight for our defenders who are still in Russian captivity. Participating in protests, signing petitions to international organizations, spreading information about Ukrainian prisoners of war among foreign audiences, and using any opportunities to put pressure on governments that can have at least some influence on Russia - this is what we can do to speed up the return of our military from captivity.

According to moderator Alyona Ivanova, this was her film club’s first event involving the invitation of a director and the presence of an expert in the audience. The viewers’ feedback proves they are greatly interested in such events, which means that there will be more to come!


The development of the DOCU/CLUB Network is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Fondation de France.

The opinions, conclusions, or recommendations are those of the authors and compilers of this publication and do not necessarily reflect the views of the governments or charitable organizations of these countries. The authors and compilers are solely responsible for the content of this publication.


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If you wish to use the film-collection of Docudays UA International Human Rights Film Festival, we invite you to join the network of permanent Docudays UA educational film clubs on human rights