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Close up – Ukraine

It has been nine months since Ukraine was attacked and dragged into a horrible war for freedom and independence in which the whole nation is bravely fighting and resisting. From day to day, week to week, the war becomes more and more brutal: cities are torn down to the ground, and people are left homeless. Some became our neighbours here in The Netherlands, some elsewhere abroad or are displaced in Ukraine. However, all of them long to go home and build their free country.

Directed by Oscar-nominated director Evgeny Afineevsky, our closing film Freedom on Fire – Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, reveals the terrifying Ukrainian survival struggle. A different reality of contemporary Ukraine is revealed in the debut feature documentary of young Ukrainian director Marta Smerechynska Diary of a Bride of Christ. It is a compelling, intimate story that reflects contemporary Ukraine from a less-known angle. Shot inside a monastery where the director investigates the question of why her young sister and her peers have left their families to become nuns. This deeply personal film explores the intricate ties within sisterhood: biological versus religious sisterhood.

Next to the films, we are also presenting three Ukrainian works in progress, all directed by female authors. The aim is to bring them one step forward in their process, to give them visibility, and honest and constructive feedback that might be instrumental in the finishing part of their creative process. Moderated by Margje de Koning, director of Movies that Matter.

Support these movies and their directors by visiting the Eastern Neighbours Film Festival at Filmhuis Den Haag between 23 – 27 November.