On March 28-31, Kyiv hosted the DOCU/CLUB Network's School for Film Club Moderators. The Network team organized this Retreat School as part of its DOCU ACTS 3.0 program.
9 April 2024

80 moderators from all over Ukraine came together to get to know each other, gain new knowledge, and share experiences with each other and with more experienced colleagues. 

The School's program was intense. The Network team decided to focus on preparing for advocacy projects. For most participants, this is a new and unexplored form of work. Therefore, Alla Tyutyunnyk, director of the Docudays UA Network Development Department and project manager of the DOCU/CLUB Network, spoke about advocacy and shared stories of successful projects conducted in previous years. These inspiring stories proved that the initiators of advocacy projects manage to convince local authorities to hear the community and cooperate with it. 


School participants

Olena Afanasyeva, head of the “Totem” Center for Cultural Development and graduate of the Advocacy Institute (USA), spoke about the importance of communication with the authorities and the community, as well as creative tools that help advocacy project initiators become visible to community members and the media. In his turn, media trainer Oleksandr Burmahin immersed the students in the “kitchen” of advocacy campaigns, telling them about their structure and the stages that each film club must go through on the way to successful advocacy. 

From Natalia Bimbirayte, director of the NGO “Legal Space” Information Resource Center, the School participants learned to work with the authorities. They were fascinated to hear about her experience of advocacy campaign aimed to protect the unique fortress of Tyahyn in Kherson region. Inspired by these examples and new information, many moderators joined the brainstorming session to develop ideas for their own advocacy projects. The Network's team hopes that some of them will be implemented within the framework of the DOCU ACTS 3.0 program. 


First encounters

An important component of this year's School comprised training for moderators of film clubs at probation centers. This area of the Network's activity is developing rapidly, and 30 participants from film clubs working in the field of probation joined the Retreat School. Oleh Yanchuk, director of the “Probation Center” state institution, emphasized the importance of human rights documentaries in working with probation clients in his speech. His deputy, Tetiana Kichata, focused the audience's attention on the importance of probation clients' awareness of human rights.

The Network team also shared their knowledge with the moderators. Lina Babych gave advice on conducting surveys among viewers and organizing inclusive events in film clubs. Kateryna Singurova presented a new collection of films, and Olha Babchuk and Yaroslava Sheremeta conducted a workshop on promoting film club events. 

As Nina Khoma, project manager of the DOCU/CLUB Network, noted: “We really wanted to inspire new moderators to implement different formats of film club activities, to show them new opportunities, and to feel the support of a broad community of moderators and managers of the Network through success stories of our colleagues. Judging from the inspiring feedback from the school participants, we succeeded in all of this. We expect that our new moderators will soon share their success stories of community impact and offer advocacy project ideas. We look forward to hearing from them.”

The retreat part of the School was also incredible. The team of facilitators from the NGO “Different Education” Anna Myhal, Taras Hrytsiuk, and Maria Tymoshchuk created a relaxed and warm atmosphere, prepared many interesting tasks for teamwork and networking for the moderators, and ensured a great mood for the participants. 


Training session for moderators

The moderators were actively involved in the program. Many of them conducted their own training mini-sessions for colleagues, sharing their personal experiences and best practices. Among the topics discussed were the methods of attracting new audiences to film clubs, holding screenings on the road, establishing contact with “difficult” viewers, and many others. Moderators learned different techniques of debates, discussed how to turn crisis challenges into opportunities for the development of film clubs, increase their stress resistance, and take care of the mental health of their viewers.

The training film screenings were also an unwavering success. New moderators, with the support of the Network's mentors Larysa Holovko and Oleh Ohredko, held screenings and discussions for their colleagues. On the last day of the School, Andriy Volyk, moderator of the Democracy film club Defenders at the “STAN” NGO from Ivano-Frankivsk, held a workshop on moderated screenings of the film “Bully” by Lee Hirsch. 


Training session for moderators

The DOCU/CLUB Network team is infinitely grateful to each and every one of you for your involvement and enthusiasm, for your willingness to work and develop, for your open hearts and warm embraces! We are very touched to share our feedback about the 4 days of communication and training. 

“The Docudays UA School of Moderators introduced me to incredible people. These people create civil society and take small and big steps to break the rock and make the world a better place. The creativity and level of great ideas was off the charts.” (Tetiana Lekhniuk). 

“An effortless, interesting, creative journey into the world of documentary cinema. I felt like I was in a big, friendly family, and the vivid impressions and emotions don't let go of me. The retreat school provides new experiences, exciting and useful learning, communication, and unforgettable impressions.” (Vita Tkachuk).

“As a ‘freshman,’ I was pleasantly surprised by the organization of the event, theoretical and practical activities, and meetings with interesting people. Getting to know active film club moderators and sharing experiences inspires me to grow and make changes.” (Oksana Musiuk).


Training session for moderators 

“Thank you for your support, joy of communication, and incredibly valuable exchange of experience! I was really happy to see my friends, meet new, interesting people, and take some of your warmth to our concrete Kharkiv!” (Olha Soshnykova).

“I used to think that the Probation created its cinema club only for our clients, but after returning home, I can say for sure that probation will now reach out into education and community." (Nataliya Andrushko)

“This is my first school, and I'm just amazed at how many new ideas I got for film screenings and discussions, how much I learned, and how many wonderful people I met. I am grateful to the organizers and everyone who participated. Having dinner and discussing films, sitting in the lobby and discussing films, learning and discussing films this is clearly something of vital importance, especially now.” (Vira Karpinska)

“Everything was interesting, useful, and inspiring. I can't even believe that we managed to do so much in those incredibly short four days! School for Moderators 3.0 was a success!” (Tetyana Bondarenko).

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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