Ukraine and the Ukrainian Diaspora

Ukraine and the Ukrainian Diaspora

This collection is personal.

I’m Ukrainian-Canadian. Ukrainian was my first language, I grew up in the Ukrainian community that included many activities and events that celebrated Ukrainian culture.

When I went to Ukraine for the first time when I was 15 years old, it felt like I was coming home. It’s a recognition that many in the Ukrainian diaspora have felt. In my case, my grandparents were forced to leave their homes as displaced persons after the Second World War, a journey that many other Ukrainians are facing today after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this past February.

Ukraine and the Ukrainian Diaspora is a collection of films that tell Ukrainian stories by a group of talented Ukrainian filmmakers, either from the home country or from the diaspora. They set the stage for the current world state as well as show the resilience and vulnerabilities of Ukrainians and their continued fight for their own identity, language, culture, and freedom.

The films in this collection provide context, from the humour and struggle of everyday life to the 2014 Maidan revolution, followed by the 2014 Russian invasion, to the very history and culture of Ukraine and the identity of Ukrainians themselves.

It has never been more important to share Ukrainian stories. As long as we continue to share these stories, we continue to uphold the very Ukrainian identity and no totalitarian state, despite how hard they try, can ever destroy that.

I hope you enjoy this collection whether you are Ukrainian or not. After all, culture is a weapon. Even by watching these films, you become a part of the fight for sovereignty, self-determination, and for freedom.

Слава Україні

Programmer - Natalie Semotiuk
Natalie Semotiuk is a Toronto-based creative professional and has worked in the film & theatre world for over 15 years. She received her Bachelor's degree in Twentieth-Century History from the University of Southern California, a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre from York University, and she received a certificate from the New York Film Academy as well as the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Education in Digital Marketing and Strategy Management. She has worked in casting, producing, and most notably she was the Producer of the Toronto International Film Festival's Rising Stars programme for the 2017, 2018, and 2019 festivals. Along with working with HighballTV, she is currently working on her feature film debut, a documentary about the Ukrainian opera icon, Solomea Krushelnytska.

If you are interested in offering support to Ukraine, please consider giving to the organizations listed here:

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Ukraine and the Ukrainian Diaspora
  • Natalie Semotiuk introduces Ukraine and the Ukrainian Diaspora

  • They Who Surround Us

    "...a penetrating, thick-with-emotion period piece." Edmonton Journal

    Edmonton International Film Festival
    Sedona International Film Festival
    Montreal Independent Film Festival

    Roman (Troy Ruptash), a Ukrainian farmer living in Alberta loses his wife in a tragic accident. Guilt and grief send h...

  • Home Games

    Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival
    Sheffield Doc/Fest
    Cleveland International Film Festival

    Alisa Kovalenko’s documentary focusses on a crucial period in the life of Alina, a gifted 20-year-old footballer from Kyiv, whose passion for the sport has a chance of saving her from pover...

  • Freedom Or Death

    Ukrainian-born filmmaker Damian Kolodiy travelled to his homeland in 2014 to document the violent insurrection from the streets, chronicling the extreme chaos engulfing Ukraine in a remarkable and intense narrative. Told from the point of view of Kolodiy, with exhaustive research and incredible u...

  • Ukrainian Sheriffs

    “Roman Bondarchuk directs and shoots with an easy air and an eye for what is both photogenic and iconic.” - Screen Daily

    Hot Docs Film Festival

    Ukraine has one the biggest police forces in Europe, but it is also one of the most corrupt. In need of some order and in protest of the current c...

  • Recovery Room

    London International Filmmaker Festival
    Geneva Film Festival
    High Falls Film Festival

    Directed by Adriana Luhovy, Recovery Room is a feature documentary that tells the story of several humanitarian Canadian Medical Missions to Ukraine. Plastic surgeons with their specialized team of 25 Canadian...

  • Toloka

    Based on the ballad written by Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko called “That Catherine’s hut is on the hill…”, Toloka is about a rescue of Catherine’s lover, whom she saves by posing him as her brother. This story, as a parable, flies throughout Ukraine’s history and reconstructs its dramatic and ...

  • Flyer Boys

    Canada Shorts Film Festival
    San Jose International Short Film Festival
    Roma Short Film Festival

    Flyer Boys is the story of a Ukrainian grandfather and his Canadian-born grandson who find themselves at both generational and cultural odds as they spend long summer days working together delivering ...