Contemporary Ukrainian Cinema

Ukrainian cinema has undergone a significant transformation over the past decade, with a new generation of filmmakers producing bold and innovative works that have gained international recognition. From gritty social dramas to surreal, genre-bending art films, Ukrainian cinema is attracting attention from audiences and critics around the world. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the state of contemporary Ukrainian cinema within the Razom For Ukraine network, exploring some of the most exciting films, directors, and trends emerging from this vibrant and dynamic film scene.

The Cleveland International Film Festival is starting on March 22nd and will highlight some films that are supported by Razom for Ukraine, so we encourage you to tune in virtually if you cannot attend the Ohio festival in person.

Whether you’re a fan of independent cinema or simply curious about the latest developments in international film, Ukrainian cinema is definitely worth exploring.


Synopsis: Filmed over eight years, A Rising Fury tracks the evolution of the conflict in Ukraine, from the 2013 Maidan Revolution in Kyiv, Ukraine to today. The documentary intimately accompanies Pavlo, a young idealist who enlists in the Ukrainian army to defend his country following Russia’s invasion of the Donbas and Crimea regions in 2014. In this vicious struggle between two culturally intertwined nations where friends can suddenly become foes, Pavlo finds himself on the opposite side of the battlefield from many he once considered allies as he fervently acts to defend his country’s independence, sovereignty, and democracy.

Why you must watch it:

  • the perspective of a civilian who became a soldier is conveyed through a first-hand narrative;
  • from Maidan to the full-scale invasion — a span of 8 years was dedicated to filming;
  • one of the director films the impact Razom makes in Ukraine;
  • Razom connection: grantee.

When and where to watch: The film had its World Premiere at Tribeca 2022. Follow the instagram page @a_rising_fury_film for upcoming screenings.


Synopsis: The film depicts the horrible realities of this unprovoked war instigated by Putin. It’s an exploration of the courage of the Ukrainian people, fiercely determined to stand their ground until ‘the last drop of blood’. Demonstrating an astounding ability to unite as a people and defend the sovereignty of their country, Ukrainians show compassion and resilience even when surrounded by death, destruction, and unfathomable war crimes. The film transports viewers through a war that started immediately after Maidan (Revolution of Dignity) in 2014 and continues through the 2022 Russian invasion. Through personal stories of civilians, children, soldiers, doctors, the country’s elderly, journalists, religious leaders, and international volunteers, this is a humanizing diary of millions of people whose lives were turned upside down by eight years of conflict.  

Why you must watch it:

  • great companion to the Oscar nominated Winter of Fire documentary;
  • gives an overall timeline of the full-scale invasion events leading up to July 2022;
  • follows few storylines of Ukrainians in different regions;
  • Razom connection: amplifying the message of the film

When and where to watch: The film had its World Premiere at Venice 2023. Follow the instagram page @evgeny_director for screening updates.


Synopsis: Under the shadowy threat of war, a young girl awaits a call from her father. As the day turns into night, she sinks into a dream from which she must find her way home.

Why you must watch it:

  • this film explores the impact war and conflict has on young children and shows that children have both the agency and ability to connect with the complexities of life. This is also a film about finding hope in the midst of loss and fear;
  • Razom connection: the director of the short, Polina Buchak, is an active Razom volunteer who curates film programming as well as creates multimedia content for Razom

When and where to watch: The film will have its World Premiere at Cleveland International Film Festival and Seattle premiere at NFFTY. You can tune in virtually during the duration of those festivals. Follow the instagram page @ms_buchak for screening updates.


Synopsis: The story of a Ukrainian family living on the border of Ukraine – Russia during the start of the war. Irka refuses to leave her house even as the village gets captured by armed forces. Shortly after they find themselves at the center of an international air crash catastrophe on July 17, 2014.

Why you must watch it:

  • offers a unique woman’s perspective on the war;
  • sheds light on how Russia shapes the narrative;
  • highlights the pivotal role played by the plane crash in igniting the war;
  • Ukraine has submitted this movie as its official entry for the Oscars 2023;
  • Razom connection: grantee.

When and where to watch: Klondike has a US distributor, and it is scheduled for the theatrical release in Summer 2023 in the US. Follow instagram page for future screenings and updates.


Synopsis: Step by step, Roman Liyubyi’s collage of archive material of MH17 crash, news and social media clips as well as dramatized and animated elements lays bare the strategies behind this hybrid warfare, and exposes the mechanisms that were used to create a dense smokescreen around the true political and military situation. A painful lesson in revelation that also helps us to better understand the present.

Why you must watch it:

  • an experimental documentary that shows how vulnerable truth is and how it’s portrayed in media;
  • Razom connection: grantee.

When and where to watch: The film had its debut at Sundance 2023 and was later premiered in Europe at Berlinale 2023. The film is currently going through festivals.

This is definitely not an exhaustive list of incredible filmmakers, so we encourage you to search for more on a Ukrainian streaming platform called Takflix that features Ukrainian films of all genres and lengths. Also stay tuned for more Festival Guides: Through Ukrainian Eyes on our social media. Have a lovely screening – дивимось Українське Разом!

by Polina Buchak

Learn more about Razom efforts on the cultural diplomacy front within our Razom Culture project.

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