6 November 2011 Charity. Education. Cambridge Ukrainian Studies
University of Cambridge hosts the Third Annual Festival of Ukrainian FilmOn 5-6 November, the University of Cambridge hosted the Third Annual Cambridge Festival of Ukrainian Film. This year, viewers could see two of Oleksandr Dovzhenko’s early works – a spy thriller ‘The Diplomatic Pouch’ and a comedy ‘Love Berries’, as well as the work of contemporary Ukrainian filmmakers, ‘Jerks. Arabesques’.
The Annual Cambridge Festival of Ukrainian Film has been a regular event since 2008 as part of Cambridge Ukrainian Studies initiative run by the University of Cambridge with the financial support from a prominent Ukrainian businessman Mr. Dmitry Firtash. This Festival aims to introduce the British public to Ukrainian film which has more than a century of history.
Just like in previous years, the Cambridge movie theaters were packed with viewers. Everyone interested could watch the films for free subject to a prior registration at the Cambridge Ukrainian Studies website. The films shown at the Festival drew great interest from a number of prominent British film scholars, as well as from attending BBC journalists and representatives from the Ukrainian Embassy in the UK.
In 2010, Cambridge Ukrainian Studies launched a new course ‘Studies in the Twentieth-Century Ukrainian Literature and Film’. A central pillar of this course is the study of Oleksandr Dovzhenko’s creative legacy which is why the Festival featured his works. ‘Dovzhenko is known around the world for his films ‘The Land’, ‘Arsenal’, ‘Zvenyhora’ while we wanted to show the audience a different side to the prominent Ukrainian filmmaker, a side little known in the West – his early works’, explained Professor Rory Finnin, head of the Cambridge Ukrainian Studies.
Another important mission of the Cambridge Festival of Ukrainian Film is to introduce British public to the contemporary Ukrainian film. ‘In a way, contemporary Ukrainian filmmakers are ambassadors of Ukraine to the world and deserve our attention and support’, emphasized Dr. Finnin. This year, contemporary film is represented by the joint work of a dozen Ukrainian filmmakers, a collection of short films titled ‘Jerks. Arabesques’. ‘Despite many difficulties, these young and talented Ukrainian artists continue to produce exciting, vibrant, and outstanding work’, said Dr. Finnin. He went on to explain that by screening the works of Oleksandr Dovzhenko, the Festival organizers intend to give the audience a refreshing look into the past of the Ukrainian cinema; and through the short novels of Volodymyr Tykhyi, Vira Iakovenko, Ivan Tymshyn and others – a look into its future. The films were generously provided by the Dovzhenko Film Studio and the Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University.
The Cambridge Festival of Ukrainian Film is a central pillar in a series of public events held this autumn as part of Cambridge Ukrainian Studies public program. ‘Film has a unique ability to excite people from various social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. We introduced this Festival to draw interest to Cambridge Ukrainian Studies from a wider British public,’ said Dr. Finnin. He explained that the University of Cambridge also plans to take the Festival to different locations in the United Kingdom and Western Europe in the future.
Apart from the Festival, Cambridge Ukrainian Studies features acclaimed Ukrainian and foreign scholars and researchers giving a series of open lectures and workshops with a focus on important historical and contemporary events in Ukraine. Among those are issues related to contemporary state building, studying historical memory and national identity, the role of media in shaping these values and other issues. Professor Frank Sysyn from the University of Alberta hosted a postgraduate workshop examining the 17th century liberation wars led by Bohdan Khmelnytskyi.
Cambridge Ukrainian Studies was initiated in 2008 by the Department of Slavonic Studies of the University of Cambridge with the support of Dmitry Firtash. Its key objective is to deepen public understanding of Ukraine and to advance fresh, innovative approaches to research on the country which is a critical link connecting the ‘East’ and the 'West' featuring a rich historical, linguistic and cultural heritage. The initiative has been met with strong student and public interest in the United Kingdom and beyond. In 2010, Cambridge Ukrainian Studies program was endowed on a permanent basis. For more information please visit Cambridge Ukrainian Studies
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