Initiated by the Embassy of Ukraine in partnership with the Ukrainian State Film Agency, the Ukrainian Film Festival took place at Alliance Française de Nairobi from 11th to 13th of September.
This year’s Ukrainian film festival was a first attempt of the Ukrainian Embassy to hold an event of this kind in Kenya.
In order to introduce the diversity of Ukrainian cinema art, the movies of several different genres were chosen for the festival, in particular these were: historical drama “Chervony”, an adventure fantasy film “The Stronghold” and a psychological drama “Falling”.
Screening of the historical drama “Chervony” which depicts the life of prisoners in soviet labour camps “Gulag”, became symbolic. Since, as Chargé d’Affaires S.Arustamian mentioned, the struggle of two unfairly convicted Ukrainians fighting for their freedom echoes much with the current situation in Ukraine. Since today there are around 70 Ukrainian political prisoners, including Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who are illegally detained in Russia and who continue to stand for their views, rights and human dignity in Syberian labour camps.
Besides, aiming at promotion of positive image of Ukraine and highlighting the opportunities of obtaining higher education for Kenyan youth, the Embassy included additional videos into the festival programme. Thus, the short informative videos about Ukraine, its natural resources and rich potential, together with foreign students speaking about their experiences of studying in Ukraine were launched just before the movies started.
The event drew attention of diverse audience. The most frequent guests of the festival were students from one of the biggest higher educational establishments in Kenya – University of Nairobi. Also the representatives of the UN, diplomatic missions and cultural circles of Kenya.
The film festival audience obviously enjoyed the Ukrainian movies, the Embassy received many positive feedbacks, the viewers asked a lot of questions, showing lively interest in Ukrainian history and culture. The films itself demonstrated a distinguished skill and professionalism of modern Ukrainian cinematography. Also sharing their impressions about the festival, the viewers were saying that their vision of our country became broader and that the event opened Ukraine for them as a beautiful country with diverse culture and a lot of potential.