On November 25, 26, and 27, the International Ethnographic Film Festival OKO will visit Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, to talk about the painful moments of Ukrainian history: about the Holocaust and Chornobyl, about the war since 2014 and about the full-scale war since February 24 (chronicles of Bucha). About our history and future. About our hopes and dreams. For the first time, the OKO Film Festival has included in the program a feature film — “Stronghold” which you can watch on the first day of screenings, November 25. On November 26, on the Day of Remembrance of the Holodomor Victims in Ukraine, when people around the world will light candles of remembrance, we will “light up” the screens and show the film to honor the innocent victims who died because of the cruelty of the regime and genocide. The documentary “The Living'' will tell the story of this national tragedy. We will also remember the Ukrainian disaster of a global scale — Chornobyl in the film “Wormwood Star”. On the last day, we will discuss the war.
They say the world is tired of the war in Ukraine and does not want to watch films about it. However, even if you ignore the truth, you cannot hide it if it was once documented. The film will show it to you. And you should open your eyes. It is painful for you to watch, but we live in such a situation. You have to know the facts. Armed with the truth, you will no longer need to hide your eyes.
Bulgaria needs to know the truth.
Festival director Tetiana Stanieva: “As a Ukrainian Bulgarian, I have special feelings for Bulgaria, my ancestral homeland. We have several Bessarabia Bulgarians in the film festival team, who are equally rooting for the fate of two countries, Bulgaria and Ukraine, which have common historical intersections and connections, one of which is us, Ukrainian Bulgarians. We are sincerely glad that the very first special screening abroad took place in the capital of Bulgaria in May this year. Significant and not accidental. The first special screening was called 'Look at Ukraine with other eyes'. We wanted to show the depth and diversity of Ukrainian culture. This time we want to show the pain and hope of our country. We all also traditionally invite our Bulgarian friends, brothers and sisters to come and talk to us! Come to have a hug, support each other, look and see, hear and understand the truth and give the truth a powerful voice”.
Watch the naked truth in the program of the second tour of OKO Travels: “Ukraine. Chronicle of Pain and Hope”. The screenings will take place in the Sofia Cinema House.
Peacekeepers: In the Svaneti Mountains
dir. Andriy Kirshin
Shortly after the Ukrainian crews returned to their motherland, a telegram from the Georgian leadership came to the then-president of Ukraine: “We regard your unselfish help as the extension of the historical traditions of brotherhood and mutual respect of two fraternal peoples. Our gratitude for the rescue of the doomed refugee army, who were caught in the mountains of Svaneti is enormous. We are deeply convinced: those who were connected with pain and joy, will live forever, this will be passed from generation to generation”.
dir. Yuriy Kovalyov
The Stronghold is a Ukrainian adventure/fantasy film based on the book of the same name. A present-day schoolboy Vit'ko goes a thousand years into the past.
The Wormwood Star
dir. Adelina Borets
The “Wormwood Star” is a 14-minute documentary film about choices and values. The film shows the village of Mali Klischi, which has existed since 1790. In 1972, there were 200 houses and 530 inhabitants. Residents of the village have been displaced due to radioactive contamination. The Regional Council removed the village from the register on June 21, 1991. Today, only two inhabitants remain in what used to be the village of Mali Klischi. The leading characters of the film are a mother and son—Nina (79 y.o.) and Alexander (62 y.o.). There is a great misunderstanding between them, despite the fact that they live together for many years. In order to remain in their houses, they have paid the highest price—loneliness.
dir. Sergei Bukovski
They were children when everything was taken from their parents. Peasants who lived and worked on the most fertile soil in the world were exposed to starvation and slow death. From those who survived, they formed an army of slaves… Only now are these people telling about what they experienced. About how their parents were driven to a bright future. How they took the last one. How villages died out. How did they survive? “It would be better if we weren't born…” says one of the witnesses. The Holodomor tragedy is woven into the plot of the world drama of the early 1930s.
On February 24, 2022, a full-scale war was launched, which completely changed the lives of all Ukrainians. The question arose of the survival and preservation of the culture and independence of the entire nation. The film uses footage taken in the occupied towns of Bucha, Irpin, and Borodyanka, which are located in the suburbs of Kyiv, showing the terrible consequences of the war, as well as footage of what Ukraine was like before the war.
dir. Taras Tomenko
Nastya was ten when a missile fired by Russian terrorists on New Year's Eve changed her life forever. It took her father's life and destroyed their house. Nastya's school is only 500 meters from the front line. War has become commonplace. Just a part of the landscape. The only means for Nastya's family to survive is the scrap metal they scavenge while under fire. Senya is seven years old. He is a first-grader. In the seven years of his life, he has seen seven years of war and not a day of peace. Senya likes to climb on the boney pile to watch the sunset. His stepfather dig graves to earn money for a new suit and backpack for Senya. This is a film about children who live in the war zone in Ukraine.
“OKO” is open to collaborations with other countries, festivals, and institutions that pursue values of respect towards other cultures and ways of life. We always stand for peace and tolerance, and are glad to share our vision through films from all over the world!
The screenings are supported by the Bulgarian Embassy in Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria within the program "Bulgarian Aid for Development", the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, the Center of Bessarabian Bulgarians in Bulgaria, the Sofia Cinema House, the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Bulgaria, the Digital Marketing Agency Netpeak, with the information support of the State Film Agency of Ukraine.