Ukrainian filmmakers open logistics center for documentary filmmakers

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Ukrainian filmmakers quickly mobilized in their campaign to document the Russian invasion of their country. While some are filming, others have taken on supporting roles to provide essential resources.

Festival organizer and producer Darya Bassel, whose recent film ‘A House Made of Splinters’ won a directing award at Sundance in January, is among those who have set up a structure to provide logistical support. .

Three days after evacuating from the Ukrainian capital Kiev with her family, Bassel moved into an apartment in the western city of Chernivtsi and opened an office funneling resources and materials to others. “We try to help our friends who are in Kyiv, because there are a lot of filmmakers and journalists [who are filming] events,” she said. Variety by telephone.

“Like 90% of the people I know who are Ukrainian filmmakers – and I know them all – 90% of them are now either in Kiev or in the east of the country. The first objective of all this filming is simply to collect evidence of the crimes that the Russians are doing to us. And then the second objective is, of course, to create films. But later.”

As a documentary producer and organizer of the Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Kyiv, Bassel is a knowledge center and an ideal connector.

Darya Bassel, producer of the Sundance documentary “A House Made of Splinters”.
Daria Bassel

“For some of our fellow filmmakers, it’s simple things like food or chocolate. For others, it’s bulletproof vests, power banks and gasoline. We also try to organize people who have cars to drive [filmmakers] from point A to point B,” Bassel said, and “sourcing from our friends in Germany, Poland and Romania.”

Bassel insists his role is more humanitarian than cultural or creative, though that may soon change. “All [film] editors, they are united in one group. And I have access to that group, so if anyone needs to edit anything, I’ll connect them,” she said.

“There is also a group of filmmakers, which is called Babylon 13. They started in 2014 [at the time of the pro-Europe Maidan protests] and have created short videos that are posted on YouTube channels,” Bassel said. “They are more than active at the moment, [and] they film and edit. I think in a few days they will start releasing new material.

His own festival, which would have originally taken place from the end of March, is now a non-runner.

“Even online, no one would watch it right now, because people are either sitting in their basements, or they are under very heavy attack, or they are trying to help others escape and leave the country. “Basel said. Instead, other festivals across Europe have offered to host parts of her curated lineup, and she is circulating lists of recommended films.

Bassel says that despite the horrors of war and dislocation, most Ukrainians remain optimistic. She believes that current news footage and the activities of documentary filmmakers are already playing a crucial role in diverting propaganda and promoting the truth.

“Finally, after eight years, people stop calling what’s going on here a ‘conflict’ or just a ‘situation’. They don’t think it’s a civil war anymore. It never was,” Bassel said. “So finally, the word got out and the world understood that this is an occupation of our country. It is a war of Russia against Ukraine. We are in a horrible situation right now. But you know, there’s this positive side that people have finally figured out what’s really going on here.

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