Documentary film series “Cities and their Heroes”presented in Ivankiv

01 June 2023

On May 26, with the assistance of the USAID Economic Resilience Activity (ERA), the premiere of the film series of six documentaries “Cities and their Heroes” took place in Ivankiv, Kyiv Oblast. The goal of the project is to show the whole truth about the heroism of the Ukrainian people and the transformation of an ordinary person into a real hero. As part of the project, documentary films about Ukrainian cities and their residents, as well as a thematic photo exhibition with the works of leading Ukrainian photographers, will be shown throughout Ukraine.

In the project “Cities and their Heroes” in each of the 6 cities of  Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Chernihiv, Okhtyrka, Bashtanka and Ivankiv, a hero was chosen for a documentary film about the city. Each film reveals its own page of volunteering, efficiency, and love for one’s countryby Ukrainians.

The film about Ivankiv was shot in autumn last year. The hero of the film was Hennadii Popenko, who was an actor and TV presenter until 2022. And after he and his family survived the occupation of Ivankiv, he became a member of the territorial defense and an active participant in the life of the community.

“None of the heroes of our films considered themselves heroes. But we were not interested in the heroism of the Marvel movies, not in superhuman abilities. What we say about the heroism of Ukrainians is an extraordinary attribute of a person to remain human in any circumstances. In our project, we talk about such heroes,” Denys Bloshchynskyi, the initiator of the “Cities and Their Heroes” project, said at the premiere in Ivankiv.

“In the film, we tried to convey the feeling that none of us is alone – we are a nation, we are Ukrainians, each of us is doing our own thing. I am grateful to the residents of Ivankiv for enduring everything and remaining human,” added the director of the film, Olha Hibelinda. And Anastasiia Verheles, the producer of the “Cities and Their Heroes” project, noted: “There is still a lot of work ahead. And I believe that we will come to shoot a film about how Ivankiv is rebuilding after our great victory.”

The premiere in Ivankiv was also attended by the townspeople whose stories were included in the “Cities and Their Heroes” project. In particular, these are the workers of the volunteer headquarters, who are engaged in weaving camouflage nets for the frontlines. It is worth noting that on the very day they celebrated their anniversary, they made the 700th net.

“This film reveals what happened to us here, what we experienced here. I want to thank the Ivankiv community for always responding to our requests. As soon as we turn to people for help with clothes, dishes, household appliances for the military and everyone who needs it, we always get a response. And we wouldn’t have our camouflage nets if we weren’t helped with donations,” Iryna Alieksieienko, organizer of the volunteer’s headquarters said after the show.

During the week leading up to the premiere, there was also a photo exhibition in Ivankiv, which showed photos taken in various cities of Ukraine that were affected by the Russia’s invasion – city landscapes and photos of individual objects, as well as photos of city residents who played an important role in the defense of their land from Russia’s invading forces.

The heroes of the photo exhibition from Ivankiv were in particular:

– Vira Holubenko, nurse of the intensive care unit of the local hospital, who continued to provide medical aid to the injured during the occupation;

– Nataliia Polyvach, head of the preventive work organization department of the Vyshhorod Raion Department of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Kyiv Oblast, a lieutenant colonel who survived captivity, psychological torture, but did not betray her fellow villagers;

– Mykola Rudenko, a private entrepreneur, who during the occupation helped fellow villagers with food, water, and medicine;

– Iryna Chernenko, director of the Ivankivskyi KhlibZavod (Ivankiv Bread Factory) enterprise, who continued to bake bread together with her employees during the occupation;

– Iryna Alekseenko, housewife, who after liberation started volunteering, having completely changed her life;

– Dmytro Handzha, director of the “Khutir na Okolytsi” (Farmstead on the Outskirt) fishery, who during the occupation found a way to feed the residents of Ivankiv; and

– Svitlana Yakovenko, pensioner, who devoted herself to volunteering.

On June 3, the project “Cities and Their Heroes” was presented in Kharkiv. Then, it will be shown in Mykolaiv, Chernihiv, Kyiv and Lviv. Learn more about “Cities and Their Heroes” on the project’s website and social media.