The festival called Docudays on Human Rights was held for the first time in 2003. At that time the program included documentaries and feature films. Most of them were Ukrainian premieres. From the beginning, the organizers wanted the selected films to be screened not only in Kyiv, but across all of Ukraine.


The second festival was held in 2005 and had the subtitle "Ukrainian Context’. This time the program consisted mainly of non-fiction films, all of which were screened at Cinema House in Kyiv. Shortly after, the festival went on tour around Ukraine. As a result the Docudays on Human Rights Traveling Festival was born.


The next year, ‘Ukrainian Context’ was accepted as part of the international Human Rights Film Network (HRFN) at the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA).


In 2006, the festival was judged by a jury for the first time, and the following year prizes were also awarded by Ukrainian journalists. In 2008 the program was divided into two competitions: creative and human rights, and since then the festival has had two juries: one for the creative competition, another for the human rights competition. In 2008 the festival was renamed the Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival. The festival is traditionally held during the last week of March at Kyiv’s Cinema House.


The 16th International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Docudays UA


Dates: March 22–30, 2019 (Kyiv), October – December 2019 (Ukrainian regions).


Organizers: Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, NGO Docudays, Charity Organization “Charity and Health Fund” and NGO Center for Contemporary Information Technology and Visual Arts.


Locations: Zhovten Cinema, IZONE Creative Space, Kyiv Cinema, Lira Cinema, Boomer Cinema and the Kyivkinofilm cinema network (Kyiv Rus, Fakel, Dnipro, Leipzig, Taras Shevechenko Cinema), National Oleksandr Dovzhenko Center, Library of the Future, Rus Hotel, BURSA GALLERY, Closer.


This year, the Docudays UA festival opened with the film Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World by the Dutch filmmaker Hans Pool. The film immersed us in the unique world of the “civil investigative journalism” collective known as the Bellingcat. The festival ended on March 28 in IZONE with the award ceremony hosted by the journalist Oleksiy Tarasov and the cultural manager Anna Koriagina. The festival’s closing film was Now Something Is Slowly Changing, which investigates various forms of self-development, personal growth and effectiveness classes. The film presents a clear-cut, distinctly visual portrayal of the present-day coaching and training culture. The film was personally presented by its director Menna Laura Meijer in the Zhovten Cinema.


For the whole festival week, we explored how our everyday life, habits and means of communication change with the emergence of digital technology, what new opportunities they open to us, what dangers they entail. We also discussed the new understanding of the concept of human rights online. All of this was part of the central topic of the festival. Because as we prepared the 16th Docudays UA festival, we studied the trends, strategies and forms of human rights protection in the electronic world.


The central festival program, the NETWORK, told our audience about the work of the Bellingcat agency which investigates the most high-profile cases, such as the fall of the MH17 flight or civilian deaths in Syria, by comparing data from open electronic sources. And the film The Cleaners revealed a new profession of “social media censor” who manually cleans out everything “threatening” that appears on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We also discussed the phenomenon of idols, the extremely popular Chinese bloggers, after watching The People’s Republic of Desire.


In total, we showed 76 films from 38 countries across the world. We also met with over 22,000 viewers. And at the end of the festival, we organized two audience days in Kyiv neighborhoods: in the Boomer Cinema and in the Kyivkinofilm cinema network. About 2,000 festival fans participated in the events of the RIGHTS NOW! human rights platform in the IZONE creative space.


This time, in the Rights Now! section, we investigated not just how to defend our rights in the world of rapid development of digital technology and prepared over 40 events (lectures, workshops, trainings, masterclasses, the majority of which were about digital rights, personal data protection, secure communication in messengers, etc.), but also, for the first time, presented the program CHANGE IT! Impact Lab for Activists and Documentary Filmmakers, a program of impact films which became part of successful activist campaigns, particularly by using social media. Their authors and activists shared their experiences and inspired us to change the world for the better.


Traditionally, the films at Docudays UA competed in the DOCU/WORLD, DOCU/SHORT and DOCU/UKRAINE competitions. This year, the festival launched the RIGHTS NOW! award, whose nominees were ten films from all the Docudays UA programs. Each competition program was assessed by a separate jury that included international and Ukrainian experts, documentary filmmakers and human rights advocates. The student jury and the audience also chose their winner. The festival organizers awarded one film with the Andriy Matrosov Prize. A special award was given by Docudays UA’s partner Current Time TV, and the best project in the Ukrainian Doc Preview was distinguished by the head of the industry platform of the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Beldocs.


Docudays UA traditionally invited everyone to the documentary workshop DOCU/CLASS. It hosted various discussions and meetings with well-known directors, producers and film critics about the effect of VOD platforms on documentary filmmaking, about working with open data, about the development of cinemas as public spaces in the city. This year, the workshop’s speakers included the director and editor Qutaiba Barhamji, photographer and director Olha Kravets, director and producer Daniel Abma and many others.


This year, Docudays UA also expanded the events of its DOCU/PRO industry platform, created for developing the Ukrainian film industry, establishing connections with international experts of the documentary world, and producing Ukrainian film projects. As a part of the platform, the festival was visited by international distributors, European producers and programmers from festivals across the world. We continued B2B DOC: Producers Meet Producers, the joint project of Baltic to Black Sea Documentary Network and Docudays UA which aims to facilitate the search for co-production. This year, DOCU/PRO hosted the annual international Global Short Docs Forum. The purpose of the program is to give directors of short documentaries an opportunity to meet contemporary digital platform. The Ukrainian Doc Preview pitching, which was launched at Docudays UA this year, deserves special attention. Seven Ukrainian documentary projects at the post-production stage were presented to programmers of international festivals, distributors and sales agents. The format allowed documentary filmmakers to receive feedback from industry experts and find potential partners for further promotion of their film.


Explosive, poetic, rebellious — the favorites of international film festivals will be presented in the DOCU/BEST program, which this year will also include two Ukrainian films, My Father Is My Mother’s Brother by Vadym Ilkov and Home Games by Alisa Kovalenko. Bing Liu’s directorial debut Minding the Gap deserves special attention as this year’s Academy Awards nominee in the Best Documentary category.


DOCU/ART studies the parallels between art and the gift economy and immerses us together with the famous artist Christo Javacheff in the process of creating his large-scale installation. The special event at DOCU/ART will be the screening of Occupied Cinema about a struggle of the cultural community for the privatized Zvezda Cinema in Belgrade. The discussion, involving Serbian and Ukrainian activists, will focus on the issues of the importance of public spaces and the risks faced by activists in their struggle for these spaces. 


The return, the search for your roots, the choice you have to make to preserve your independence are the topics of two women’s stories in the IRAN. PRIVATE program. The program will also present the last film by the prominent director Abbas Kiarostami which premiered at the Film Festival in Cannes in 2017.


CHANGE IT! Lab of Influence for Activists and Documentary Filmmakers is a series of educational lectures about some high-profile social campaigns and screenings of the documentaries that launched these campaigns. Aiming for radical change of the public opinion, these campaigns resulted from consolidated efforts by the human rights and the film communities.


Films as drivers of social change were also researched by Ukrainian documentary filmmakers and activists as a part of the CIVIL PITCH: Civil Activism Films project. The four films that won at the pitching will be presented during the festival.


A cross-section of Ukrainian reality will be presented in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIES program which will include stories from different corners of the country.


The world of children and teenagers is always full of questions and search: investigating one’s own sexuality, finding one’s calling, and sometimes struggle for the right to dedicate your future to it. How are digital technologies changing childhood in the 21st century? The DOCU/YOUTH program contemplates this question.


Traditionally, the Festival will have a LIVING LIBRARY. It is about unique experiences and important conversations about othering, politics, family, work, relationships. It’s a space where books are real people who encounter prejudice in the society.


The special events at the Festival will include a screening of Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s film The Border Fence about the wall on the Brenner Pass, on the border between Austria and Italy, which was built by the Austrian government in 2016 to “protect” the country from the influx of refugees. As we listen to the opinions and voices of local residents, farmers, police officers, the film shows us the variety of opinions about this matter — from concealed xenophobia to criticism of the populist government.


In cooperation with Current Time TV, we invite you to see the world premiere of The Coach by Olga Abramchik about the work with the Belarusian intuitive football team whose members are blind people.


This year, Docudays UA and the Dovzhenko Center present the retrospective of the Ukrainian documentary filmmaker and famous professor Oleksandr Koval, whose creative life was closely linked to the UkrFilmChronicle studio.


The new opportunities for documentary filmmaking opened by the Virtual Reality technology will be presented in VR CINEMA. Its films will include the Ukrainian project Aftermath VR: Euromaidan, the chronicles of February 20, 2014, with a powerful emphasis on archival footage.


Penelope Isles from Brighton is set to perform at one of Kyiv’s most famous locations, the Closer club, on March 23 as part of the Selector Live special during the Docudays UA film festival.






Main Prize


Voices of the Sea

Kim Hopkins, UK


The main prize goes to “The Voices of the Sea”, for the powerful and touchy and warm characters, for the love that wins above everything, for the sensitive camera that brings harmony of characters within the environment.


Special Mention


White Mama

Zosya Rodkevich, Evgeniya Ostanina, Russia


For the protagonist that gives us hope and believe that we have enough strength to deal with the hard issues in life.




The Winter Garden's Tale

Simon Mozgovyi, Ukraine


A woman’s life work flowers into a portrait of the cycle of nature and inevitable change.




Main Prize


A Friendship in Tow/Toe

Atsushi Kuwayama, Portugal


Mounting the stairs becomes a story of love, friendship and a promising dinner executed with charm, style, heart and humor.


Special Mention


Above the Styx

Maria Stoianova, Ukraine


For a fine example of how a collective of emerging filmmakers come together and manage to create one whole story from multiple viewpoints of society.




Main Prize


The Cleaners

Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck, Brazil, Germany


For encouraging discussion about privacy, freedom of choice and human rights protection in the world where the internet and social media take up ever more of our private space, and we ourselves become a part of the global network. Where is the balance between the desire to protect the society from cruel content which incited hate and the freedom of choice and self-expression? Will the internet of the future be an instrument in the hands of dictators and global corporations, or a territory of boundless democracy and individual freedoms? Who has the right to define what should be “ignored” and what should be “deleted”? The film raises many questions to which the humanity has yet to find the answers.


Special Mention


Still Recording

Ghiath Ayoub, Saeed Al Batal, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, France, Germany


For the human stories hidden behind military news reports. For the courage of the people who did not flee from armed conflict, but picked up a camera instead of weapons and showed the real events happening in Syria to the entire world. Despite all the horrors of the war, they still have strength, not just to live and maintain their dignity, but also to give others the feeling of peacetime life. It’s a reminder to every one of us: nobody can be sure that they are safe from war - we have to take the responsibility for preserving peace.


When Lambs Become Lions

Jon Kasbe, USA


The director has succeeded in combining the personal dramas of ordinary people and the global environmental disasters which concern everyone. Corruption, the violation of socio-economic rights, the damaging effects on the planet’s environment are all intertwined in the storyline and paint a whole picture - not just of Kenya, but also of the whole modern world, where states sometimes leave people no choice and force them to face difficult moral dilemmas.




I Grew Up As You Slept

Marcin Sauter, Poland


For boundless love and tenderness between worlds and generations!




Reserve Askania

Andriy Lytvynenko, Ukraine


Fresh reminder about our nature. The rhythmical and sensual narrative of the film can fascinate and move the audiences with any background, and the protagonists win you over with their sincerity and dedication to their work.




White Mama

Zosya Rodkevich, Evgeniya Ostanina, Russia


Traditionally, films at Docudays UA competed in DOCU/WORLDDOCU/SHORT and DOCU/UKRAINEcompetitions. This year, the festival launched the RIGHTS NOW! award, for which ten films from all the Docudays UA programs were nominated. Each competition program was judged by its own jury which included international and Ukrainian experts, documentary filmmakers and human rights advocates.


In addition, the film Before Father Gets Back by the Georgian filmmaker Mari Gulbiani received the special award from the festival’s media partner Current Time TV – $3,000. The audience also picked their favorite film, White Mama by Zosya Rodkevich and Evgeniya Ostanina. Of the seven projects presented at Ukrainian Doc Preview, the Head of Industry at the International Documentary Film Festival Beldocs gave the prize to the film Roses. Film-Cabaret by Iryna Stetsenko. The prize is an opportunity to participate in the festival’s professional platform Beldocs in Progress International, where the filmmaker will have a chance to present her project to the wider international industry.


15th International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Docudays UA


Dates: March 23 – 30, 2018 (Kyiv), October – December 2018 (Ukrainian regions)


Organizers: Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union; NGO South; Charitable organization “Charity and Health Fund”; Center for Modern Information Technology and Visual Arts.


Locations: Zhovten Cinema, Ukraine Cinema, IZONE Creative Space, Triptych: Global Arts Workshop, Port Creative Hub, National Dovzhenko Center, Rus Hotel.


This year, Docudays UA opened with the documentary film A Woman Captured by the director Bernadett Tuza-Ritter. Its closing event took place on March 29 at the Dovzhenko Center, which hosted the award ceremony. Instead of the traditional screening of the festival winner, the closing ceremony was concluded with a film performance by Dovzhenko Center. The sensational film discovery Documents of the Epoch combined in the same work unique footage of Kyiv and Odesa of the early 20th century with film chronicles of Ukrainian history from the World War I until the late 1920s.


The festival week involved 62 films, 36 countries, 230 participants and incredibly intense programs of the DOCU/PRO industry platform, the DOCU/CLASS workshop, and the RIGHTS NOW! human rights program.


This year, the Docudays UA jury determined winners in four main nominations: DOCU/LIFE, DOCU/RIGHTS, DOCU/SHORT and DOCU/UKRAINE. For the first time in its history, the festival had a feature-length national competition. In addition, the competition films fought for a special Student Jury Award. Traditionally, the festival organizers awarded their favorite contestant with the Andriy Matrosov Award. The Docudays UA audience also picked their winner.


In addition, at the closing ceremony, the independent international news service Current Time also gave a special award to one of the festival competition participants. The $5,000 prize was given to the film No Obvious Signs by the director Alina Gorlova, “for the subtle revelation of the protagonist's inner disaster.”


The festival has more and more awards every year, and we are very glad about that. This time, we also presented a new award from an organization which co-founded our festival, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union. The award was given to Oksana Yakubova, the protagonist of the film No Obvious Signs, “for her willpower, courage and unfailing affirmation of the idea of equality between women and men with her own example.


In this year’s festival topic, EQUAL EQUALITIES, we used irony intentionally. It is a suggestion for the society to measure equal equalities, discuss the possibility of achieving equality in our time and in our circumstances. Are we prepared to accept only those rules which we like and ignore the needs of others? What consequences await the society in which people or groups of people try to establish their equal equalities?


To disrupt the stereotypes which are abundant in our society, we created six special programs which allow us to look at the most widespread inequalities from different perspectives:









The SIMPLE FEMALE EQUALITY program undermines the stereotypes about the destinies and roles of women in the contemporary society, which are abundant in our society. What defines us, our desires, thoughts or feelings, our relations with our social environment and the world, our future? We asked ourselves and others all these questions as we watched and discussed the QUEERALITY program. SENIOR EQUALITY was the program in which we discussed what the count of years means within one life, one family, and the whole world. Because the “fragility” of the topic is actually only about the stereotypes which we construct around age. The program NEO-INEQUALITY allows us to look at the everyday life of intolerance and its agents without unjustified generalizations. With the films in this year’s program EQUALITY SYNDROME, we wanted to overcome the indifference to people with physical disabilities, especially those who were born with the Down syndrome or have psychiatric disorders. What happens if you invite fifty directors to document religious rituals in different corners of the world? The festival’s HOLY EQUALITY special program discusses this question.


Some difficult, but fascinating attempts to dive into the stories of children and teenagers from across the world were included into the traditional DOCU/YOUTH selection. And this year’s DOCU/BEST program had five films about struggle: about one father’s fifty kilometers, about the daily routine of the Philippines’ largest maternity ward, about the body and its vulnerability, about rescuing bombing survivors, and about the most anticipated Ukrainian documentary of the year.


The retrospective of the films by Arunas Matelis, the Lithuanian documentalist, and producer, was a special event at this year’s festival. Docudays UA 2018 featured two of his feature-length films and a collection of short films that were awarded at the festivals in Amsterdam, Cannes, Leipzig, and Warsaw. Each of his works is a drastic immersion into the whirlpool of human emotions.


In addition, Docudays UA demonstrated the newest film by the legend of documentary cinema, Frederick Wiseman. ”Can public libraries undertake the new functions of informational, cultural, educational and community centers? How can their buildings and resources be useful to the community of the neighborhood, city or town where they are located? Can a library be truly inclusive and offer events for very different social groups? What is the role of libraries in the contemporary society?”. These and other related questions were discussed with practicians and experts from the library and cultural circles, as well as with representatives of library support projects, at our discussion in Port Creative Hub.


The demonstration of the project Wounds 360° was a special event at this year’s Docudays UA. For the first time, the festival will demonstrate films made using the virtual reality technology. These were three stories of soldiers who fought in the East of Ukraine and got severely wounded. The project was implemented by the Hromadske.UA together with Joseph Sywenkyj. The American documentary photographer answered five questions about films created with virtual reality technology.


Ukraine’s Leninfall is perhaps the most sensational of symbolic purges in the contemporary world, although not the only one. Swiss photojournalist Niels Ackermann and French journalist Sébastien Gobert traveled extensively across Ukraine in the wake of the Revolution of Dignity in search of the fragments of the crumbling Soviet past. Myroslava Hartmond, a contributor to their joint book of the same name, Looking for Lenin, and the managing director of the Triptych: Global Arts Workshop gallery in Kyiv, presented the photo exhibition at Docudays UA 2018. The exhibition was also presented in the context of this year’s theme of equality. The project was supported by the Swiss Embassy in Ukraine and the Journées francophonie 2018 programme.


LIVING LIBRARY also traditionally worked at the festival. Every year, the Library offers unique experiences and frank conversations about othering, politics, family, work, relationships. It is a space where the books are real people who encounter prejudice in the society. The DOC/SADOC for children between 3 and 14 also continued its work at Docudays UA. It prepared educational activities and interesting conversations for our youngest audience.


The theme of equality, which is crucial for this year’s Docudays UA, is related to many social challenges. That is why the festival prepared an intense program of human rights events, which was interesting not only for law experts, but also for everyone willing to debate, to act, and to ask sensitive questions about the “invisible layers” of everyday life.


Documentary cinema is capable not only of recording important shifts in the society but also of catalyzing change by itself. How do you create a film with such potential? How do you help it get through to the audience? The Docudays UA program included an industry platform whose events were dedicated not just to a theoretical search for answers to these questions, but also to the practical development of documentary filmmaking which would effectively promote positive change in the Ukrainian society and beyond.


DOCU/PRO includes a number of events which may be interesting not only for cinema professionals but also for ordinary lovers of documentary films. From lectures and creative meetings with famous directors and cinema figures, to masterclasses for producers and pitches for film projects – the industry platform program will bring together Ukrainian filmmakers, activists and the festival’s international guests. The participants also had a chance to exchange experiences and establish new connections at another platform of the Docudays UA industry section, the DOCU/CLASS.


In addition, within the national Ukrainian competition CIVIL PITCH: Civil Activism Films, the expert jury awarded documentary filmmakers and civic activists. As a result of the pitching on March 28, during Docudays UA 2018, the jury chose four winning projects among the program participants.







directors: Matthias Krepp, Angelika Spangel



Great cinema is able to unfold the hidden aspects of human life, by projecting light where there are shadows. Starting from the hurdle of filming the main protagonists, the film finds the right approach to letting their testimonies resonate, and the strength of the found footage clearly shows the madness of war and the need to foster hate in order to create an enemy. The thoughtful construction puts the audience in the position of filling the gaps, giving shape to a moving and deep portrait of a complex world that finally becomes a universal experience.





director: Alina Gorlova



A real portrait of a person who has gone through war and is trying to return to life. It is about the female face of war and about the traumas which affect everybody equally. The distance between the audience and the film’s protagonist is well-kept – there is no pity, falseness or excessive heroisation. The film is about the problems faced by those who return and those who wait for them at home.




Main Award



director Dmytro Lavrinenko



One might think of it as chaotic, but a form is a form only if it is convincing. Many avant-gardists have put their camera on the ground and taken up a direct, more primitive way of looking at themselves and the world around them. Zhenya does that, too, assisted by a filmmaker whose editing skills just rock. The result lifts a seemingly naïve and simply hilarious, at times tragic account of life (of the 'man in the world' type) onto another level – a reflection of history, a transition in time.


Special Mention



directors Tania Khodakivska, Oleksandr Stekolenko



Offering blissful cinematic moments and unexpected constellations (of fingers & textiles, gestures & cultural landscapes) this universal film about death (and beyond) impressed us with its sheer handcrafted mastery. And it touched us – by its calm lust for life.




Main Award



director: Renato Borrayo Serrano



Sharp tongues, cunningly edited. With an irony that is warm and respectful, and at the same time revealing a hilarious, outrageous backdrop of jingoism and Russophile chauvinism, a young father documents the state of the world into which his baby is born: family ties unite that which ideologies separate. At least in film.


Special Mention



director Piotr Armianovski



A small house, a young woman, a hot summer, and strange sounds – sounds of war. Gradually we participate in a reflection on life in the middle of nowhere, albeit in a country whose existence (together with Europe’s constitution) is at stake. Life is an utterly personal matter, especially on the fragile Eastern borders of Ukraine.


Special Mention



director: Marcin Sauter



Anchored by the belief in the purity and poetry of documentary cinema, this visually strong and well-balanced mediation between (and meditation on) the realities of life and the metaphors of decay depicts the ruins of the Aral Sea: a post-utopian scenery, inhabited by solitaires whose struggle is outshined by joy.




Main Prize



director Simon Lereng Wilmont

Denmark, Finland, Sweden


For the clear eyes of a child which are happy about the simple things, despite the melancholy in the shadow of war.


Special Mention



directors Tania Khodakivska, Oleksandr Stekolenko



For being a daring experiment without borders and a journey without limits.





directors Yaroslav Pilunsky, Yulia Shashkova, Yuriy Gruzinov






director Piotr Armianovski



For the extent of love which knows no limits.


XIV International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Docudays UA


Dates: March 24 — 31, 2017 (Kyiv), October – December 2017 (regions of Ukraine).

Organizers: Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, NGO Pivden, CO “Charity and Health Found”, and the NGO Centre for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts.

Locations: Cinema House, Kinopanorama cinema, Kyiv cinema.


Docudays UA-2017 is featuring 94 films from 47 countries. 170 participants, 76 of whom represent foreign countries, are attending the festival.


This year’s main theme and film program, FOUR DEGREES, tells about the first messengers of the global warming in the movie “ThuleTuwalu”, dangerous consequences of cattle farming industry in “Cowspiracy”, social strictures of Mongolian provinces in “Behemoth”, about daring protest actions by The Yes Men laboratory, and about environmental that is always political, in “When the Two Worlds Collide”.


Docudays UA opens with the movie about famous environmental activists’ duo, "The Yes Men Are Revolting" (directors Laura Nix, Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonnano)Sean Devlin will personally attend the festival and present the movie. He is one of the most experienced members of the Yes Lab team, which is responsible for organization of various projects by The Yes Men. 


This year’s Docudays UA closing movie was “Liberation Day” by Ugis Olte and Morten Traavik, which is dedicated to the first rock concert in the history of North Korea.


The films at Docudays UA will traditionally take part in competitions: DOCU/LIFE, DOCU/RIGHTS and DOCU/SHORT. For the second time, the festival also features the national competition DOCU/UKRAINE. Each competition program is rated by a particular jury board, comprising international and Ukrainian experts and documentalists. The student jury and the viewer audience will also choose their winners.


The non-competition section of this year’s Docudays UA consisted of 10 programs. As always, DOCU/HITS presented movies awarded at international film festivals, one of which is Oscar-nominated “I Am Not Your Negro” by Raoul Peck.


Besides, the special program MASTERS presented movies by prominent documentary filmmakers – Serhiy Bukovsky, Audris Stonys, Miroslaw Yanek, Pawel Lozinski, and Michael Glawogger.


Courage, freedom, and beauty – these were the main motives of the film program THREE THINGS I DON'T KNOW ABOUT HER. Women directors are drawing attention to phenomena that often remain unnoticed due to prevailing stereotypes and prejudices regarding women’s role and place in the society.


Fresh view on science was offered by HOMO SCIENCE film program: Werner Herzog’s popular science essay about the Internet, an eccentric slime mold research, and an example of anti-scientific movie followed by a discussion with scientists concerning the myths on genetically modified organisms.


DOCU/ART unites Swiss experimenter musicians who produce sounds for their art on dumpsites; Chinese Van Goghs, who are creating copies for many years without ever seeing the original; and a documentary on post-Apocalypse.


What does the space we inhabit mean for us? How is it formed, who controls it, and how can we change it? In all the movies featured at CITY IMAGE program, we saw the space of protest – be it collective or individual, political struggle for one’s rights, a community’s demand to be heard, or the desire to stay at one’s native place.


Touching stories about growing up were traditionally included in DOCU/YOUTH program for family audience.


This year’s geographical focus was on Scandinavian countries! ICE DOC presented an epic picture about workers, a story of interaction with “forces of nature” in human life, and a tale about the way from imprisonment for adultery to freedom.


Program about consumption GENERATION C. told what humans will eat in 30 years, and what bugs taste like. How ordinary jeans threaten the humankind? How to find “a worm of communism” in the cabbage?


We also welcome our guests to the LIVING LIBRARY. Every year, it comprises unique experiences and important conversations about othering, politics, work and personal relations. This is the space where real people, whose perception in the society is prejudiced, embody books.


This year, Docudays UA invited to a special screening of Askold Kurov’s documentary The Trial: The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov. And presentation of the DVD "Chornobyl [In]Visible", in cooperation with Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center, was followed by a discussion with experts.


For the first time Docudays UA was launching industrial section DOCU/PRO. Its purposes are to connect young documentary filmmakers with the leading international players on the field of documentary film production, to share experiences of movie promotion on different stages of production, to teach them to present their film projects at pitching sessions, to help them find international partners and deepen their knowledge of film production process in general.


Results of the final stages of three long-term workshops were announced during the closing ceremony – DocWorks: UA/UKWarscape, and Youth about Ukraine. During the closing ceremony the results of WARSCAPE international competition were announced as well. The award of 5.000 USD won the “Double trap” (director Valeria Treshchova and producer Viktoria Gusenok). Also the international programm DocWorks: UA/UK has announced the results. The winning project “UNDERWATER” (dir. Oksana Kazmina and producer Ljosha Chashchyn) received 3.000 GBP. "(N)OSTALGIA" (director Vicki Thornton Written and producer Marion Guthdirector) has received a prize (50 000 hryvnia) for the best pitching from KWA SOUND PRODUCTION company. 


Docudays UA traditionally welcomed everyone to documentary movies workshop DOCU/CLASS. It will host various discussions and meetings with prominent directors, producers, photographers, dedicated to the role of documentary in formation and debunking of myths, to international experience of human rights festivals, to role of women in filmmaking industry. Among the guests of DOCU/CLASS are human rights activist, founder of One World Festival Igor Blazhevich, journalist and film promotion expert Thessa Mooij, photographer James Whitlow Delano, film editor Monika Willy (co-worked with Michael Haneke and Michael Glawogger), as well as film directors Pawel Lozinski and Sergey Bukovsky.


While parents were watching documentaries, Docudays UA offered to the youngest kids a real environmental Imaginarium in the space of DOC/SADOC. Its intense program of active and entertaining activities proves that taking care of the environment can be fun and exciting.


From 25 to 31 of March on the third floor of Cinema House two photo exhibitions – #EverydayClimateChange and #Ecooko. EverydayClimateChange is a volunteer activist project, aimed on demonstration of the evidence of climate changes that occur every day on all the continents. This is an Instagram account shared by dozens of professional photographers from all over the world, who testify with their posts for Instagram photo competition #Ecooko that the problem of climate change is real. This project inspired the festival team to launch Instagram photo competition #Ecooko in order to find out what is going on with environment in Ukraine nowadays. The photo exhibitions will feature select photographs of EverydayClimateChange projects, along with the best works from #ECOOKO: show the country's environment competition. The winners were also announced for Instagram competition #ECOOKO: show the country's environment during closing ceremony. A prize from the WWF in Ukraine was given to Oleksandr Stepanenko. Prizes from the Green School educational project were received by: Oksana Vashchuk, Serhiy Handusenko, Oleg and Dariya Promahovy. Oleg and Dariya Promahovy received prizes from the Docudays UA team.


Also we had the Environmental Actions at Docudays UA-2017: 


Compola: For the whole period of Docudays UA festival, composter for organic waste from “Babylon” restaurant will be installed at the inner court of the Cinema House. After the festival closing, the composter will “relocate” to the “Kyiv-Mohyla collegium” gymnasium in Kyiv, which has applied for the installation of composter, but did not have enough funds to buy it.


12 containers for waste sorting into paper, package, glass, and other waste will be installed at the festival in cooperation with “Ukraine without Waste” initiative. The Docudays UA catalogues and program booklets were printed on FSC certified paper, and the festival guide was produced with 100% recycled paper.


Souvenir merchandise of the festival includes: upcycling bags made of last year’s banners; eco shopping bags from “Svoya Tara”; pencils and notebooks from recycled paper; and festival bags produced with upcycling method by ReSew sewing cooperative.


The action “DO NOT THROW AWAY! UTILIZE!”: free collection of used lightbulbs, batteries, thermometers etc will be held on 26 of March, from 11 AM until 5 PM, on the first floor of Cinema House.


On the occasion of the Earth Day, on March 25, 12 AM, Docudays UA invites everyone to the workshop on bicycling in the city and lecture on cyclists’ rights from the Kyiv Cyclists’ Association. Besides, the festival has special offers for viewers who will arrive to the festival by bicycle.


From now on, the festival’s human rights program has its own name. RIGHTS NOW! is a wordplay, which in English could mean “give us our rights now” “or “give them to us immediately”. This year, we have prepared events that will be interesting to civic rights experts and environmental activists, as well as to everyone who is dealing with “invisible wounds” of the environment day to day.


The activists of Kyiv Cyclists’ Association have prepared a couple of events for this year’s program. On 25th of March, during the Earth Hour, a KCA trainer told about safe travels by bicycle around the city. On the same day, during the event “#KyivMoveYourPedals: Do Cyclists Have Right on The City?”, there were a discussion of the advantages of environmentally friendly two-wheelers and of the ways cyclists can protect their rights. This year’s program included a bunch of urbanistic events: “City for All” from CEDOS expert center and the civic rights campaign “Fight for Right”; “Emptiness in public spaces” from self-organized initiative De Ne De; “Greenroots activism”, where participants from different parts of the country shared their experience.


The issue of climate change is widely associated with environmental pollution and disappearance of plants and animal species. However, social aspect of this process is somewhat overlooked. Discussion “Human rights and climate change” by International Charity Organization “Ecology-Law-Human” was dedicated to the dangers for people and risks of human rights abuse людей related to climate change. This linkage is not evident, which leads to difficulties in its fixation at national and international levels, in official bills and laws. Recognition of this linkage would open new opportunities to human rights protection through climate regulations and agreements and vice versa – for environmental protection through instruments and mechanisms of human rights protection at different levels. Continuing the topic of current Instagram competition #Ecooko, we invite our viewers to discussion with environmental activists, an Instagram blogger, and curator of the photo exhibition about the ways we can actually influence the environment and about usage of social networks for activism. GENERATION C. film program and subsequent discussion with environmentalists will help to understand the functioning of consumption sphere and its impact on the environment. We are inviting on the open event “Consumer society and climate change”, organized in cooperation with Heinrich Boll Foundation’s Office in Ukraine. For detailed information about the events, please follow the link


Exclusive documentary premieres, discussions with experts, and workshops from the stars of world documentaries – Docudays UA was preparing seven days of unique events and screenings. One of them also was the morning coffee, during which you will have a chance to talk to all the directors of the competition programs, as well as human rights experts of the festival.






Main Prize

All This Panic

dir. Jenny Gage



Deliberate well thought through camerawork serves the subject matter and the desired atmosphere. Daring use of colors together with sensual use of depth of field made this film particularly efficient. The filmmakers are thinking outside of the box at the same time as the directorial approach creates unparalleled intimacy. It is transparent that creators are coming from contemporary art. The film unveils the secret life of teenage girls who usually go out of their way to keep their inner life closed to adults. It is the opinion of the jury that by giving these girls a voice the filmmakers are creating a bold platform for young women. Girls all over the world deserve to be heard - it is a crucial human rights issue that also resonates here in Ukraine.


Honourable mention

Gogita’s New Life

dir. Levan Koguashvili

Georgia, Croatia, Ukraine


The director's decision to get close enough to share Gogita's and his wife's experience while respecting their quiet intimacy. This in combination with a remarkably beautiful frame and a consistent rhythm in the editing, bounds the story together in a completely engaging way.




Main Prize

When Paul Came Over the Sea – Journal of an Encounter

dir. Jakob Preuss



DOCU/RIGHTS jury has been unanimous in decision that the main award goes to Jakob Preuss for the honest, meticulous, serious and responsible way dealing with one of the most critical issues we face today in Europe - the question of mass scale migration and how we as Europeans should and will respond on migration, what will be the consequence of our decision on other people's lives and what will be the consequence for our comfort and security. Film features captivating, charismatic main character, Cameroonian Paul who is passing through dramatic dangers and huge uncertainties, but not in a single moment lose his dignity, nobleness, determination, patience, confidence, trust in himself, in life, in human effort as well as trust in other people and in God. Not in a split of second film stops to follow and treat his main character in a very dignifying way. Film captures numerous dramatic situations, which we watch with full suspense - will Paul survive perilous journey over Mediterranean, will he be captured on the way from Spain to Paris and further on to Germany, will he succeed to find a place to sleep or he will remain exposed on streets, will he be deported after he has made the whole journey from Cameroon to north Germany, or he will settle down. Film presents very patiently and skilfully told story. It has been a pleasure to watch how smoothly, naturally and effectively film director moves from documentary footages to animation sequences and then back to documentary scenes.  But what makes this film additionally powerful is the parallel story and parallel dilemma it is opening and dealing with, the question what one, filmmaker, rescuers on the boat in Mediterranean, policeman in Spain, friend in Paris, social worker, accidental bystander at local bus stop, citizen of Germany and of European Union, what one should, could and will do when Paul, another human being from other country, from other continent is coming over the sea and enters into one's own world? What you do when you are encountering human being that has juts survived - while many have not - real human tragedy? What you do when you are faced with trembling being that is shattered in its human core because it has experienced and survived death? Do you remain professional, the one who keeps distance, who continue your regular job, who follow the rules and remain safe in his own comfort zone? Or you get out of your comfort zone, take a risk, enter into unknown, do what you normally do not do in order to try to help? The filmmaker, Jakob Preuss has done both. He has remained fully dedicated professional and has made beautiful. Also very relevant film for our European - and not only European - discussions about migrants in a moment when we are making epoch-making decisions will we opt for populism, ignorance and selfish ruthlessness, or we will take the risk of responsibility and humanism. At ther same time, Jakob has made a different choice. He has not remained neutral, distanced, professional observer but he has taken the risk of stepping out of his comfort zone in order to try to help Paul. He has entered in his film and has even taken his very orderly, stable, solid, rules and order obeying German parents into the film by bringing Paul into their apartment and their lives. Paul and his family have done what Angela Merkel and Germany have done - they have taken the risk of leaving comfort zone in order to take responsibility and to save lives.  Film does not give us final answer how Paul's story has ended, has he been deported or has he settled in Germany, and rightly we did not get the answer. It is still unknown how German Willkome experiment will end. But after seeing film we as audience wish Paul to stay in Germany, we wish him to succeed to persuade authorities that he can only help if he can continue his job of assisting elderly Germans, we wish him to make Germany and Europe stronger with his dignity, determination, confidence and trust - and we wish Angela Merkel and Germany to succeed with risk they have taken by accepting Paul and Syrians in order to save lives and in order to save humanity.


Honourable mention

The Return

dir. Zahavi Sanjavi





Main prize

I’m Not From Here

dir. Maite Alberdi, Giedrė Žickyte

Lithuania, Chile


In just 26 minutes, two talented directors create a multi-layered and emotionally complex world, skilfully and artistically captured through their lens. Facing the end of her life, the protagonist and her fellow residents live with humor, sadness and often prideful moments, despite the march of time taking them closer to inevitable death.


Special mention


dir. Nikola Ilić



For a charming view into a brutal society.




Main prize


dir. Anastasia Maksymchuk



An unusual portrait of volunteer activists, working without stats support, the struggle against cruelty and the strength of ordinary citizens takes the forefront. The small-scale story shows a broader picture of the battle between good and evil.


Special mention

The Fall of Lenin

dir. Svitlana Shymko



A witty and formally ambitious study on the changing ideologies of a society.



5 October

dir. Martin Kollar

Slovakia, Czech Republic




dir. Clare Weiskopf



For an extremely high degree of sensitivity and bravery in researching the eternal dilemma of humanity - the balance between personal freedom and responsibility before one's children.




Born To Be Free

dir. Gayane Petrosyan

UK, Russia


XIII International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Docudays UA


Dates: March 25 — April 1, 2016 (Kyiv), October 2016 – December 2016 (regions of Ukraine).

Organizers: Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, NGO Pivden, Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation, and the NGO Centre for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts.

Locations: Cinema House, Kinopanorama cinema, Kyiv cinema, Cinema "Lira", PinchukArtCentre.


Opening film of Docudays UA was Under the Sun by Russian director Vitaly Mansky. Opening ceremony was hosted by Marichka Padalko, host of the 1+1 TV channel, and journalist Michael Shchur. And as the finale of Docudays UA-2016 was shown documentary film Mariupolis by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius. The awards ceremony was held on March 31th in Cinema House. Hosts of the ceremony: festival moderators Marina Stepanska and Oleksandr Vynogradov.


We have chosen the theme BEYOUND ILLUSIONS because we feel like the whole world is trying to break though illusions to some new civilization order. Countries and nations are leaving many of their illusions nowadays.


Festival traditionally consisted of competition and non-competition programs. Competition program was divided into three groups – DOCU/LIFE, DOCU/RIGHT, DOCU/SHORT. Each of them was judged by separate jury. Also this year we have announced competition for Ukrainian documentaries DOCU/UKRAINE. Additionally, student jury and viewers also voted for their favourite films.


Non-competition program include winning films from other famous film festivals. Thematically, it was divided into sections: DOCU/BEST, DOCU/TECHNO, DOCU/YOUNG, DOCU/ART, WAYFARERS, RE-ACTION, BEYOND ILLUSIONS, TRUE/FALSE PRESENTS, HIGH FIVE FROM DENMARK, THE GUARDIAN DOCS and SPECIAL SCREENINGS.


DOCU/BEST traditionally gathered exceptional festival favourites. The films from the program BEYOUND ILLUSIONS intentionally broke into our comfort zone and propose an alternative perspective on the delusions that drive our perception of everyday life. Festival's program WAYFARERS dedicated to one of the most actual topics in the world — migration. Heroes of festival's films in program RE-ACTION treid to find answers on “What pushes people to resist and do their actions become grounds for systemic changes?”


The topic of this year’s DOCU/ART program was ‘Illusions of Genre’. These films not only told the stories of artistic people, but were also experimental in the realm of non-fiction cinema. The DOCU/TECHNO program screened documentaries that show our surroundings through the lens of new technologies. This year the festival also aimed to appeal to a younger audience, and as a result as a new program was created: DOCU/YOUNG. This was a program films for teenagers, comprised of a collection of short films and two full-length features.


This year’s topic of the program DOCU/ART was ‘Illusions of Genre’. These films not only told the stories of artistic people, but they are also experiments in the realm of nonfictional cinema. DOCU/TECHNO had screened documentaries that show our surroundings through the lens of these new technologies that have become the heroes of our time. This year we have extended the target age for our audience, and to mark this change we have even invented a new name for the program: DOCU/YOUNG. It is a program of documentary films for teenagers, which includes a collection of short films and two featuresFor the Docudays UA film festival Tue Steen Muller put together a special program HIGH FIVE FROM DENMARK where he combined the best  Danish films of different years to represent the evolution of documentary filmmaking in his country: from Jørgen Leth, the teacher of Lars von Trier, to the young directors who practice selfie-films. Also True/False Film Fest’s programmer Pamela Cohn selected three of the festival’s best films for this year’s program of Docudays UA - TRUE/FALSE PRESENTS.


Festival also presented photo project. The exhibition of photographs by Misha Friedman entitled Ukrainian Dream is another facet of thehypnotic whirlpool of this year’s Docudays UA, which offers us the chance to look at the symbol of Ukrainian reforms, our new police, from a refreshing perspective.


Third year in a row, the workshop of the documentary film DOCU/CLASS functioned during the festival: a lecture by Danish film director Jon Bang Carlsen “Reality Is a Question of Faith”, A lecture by Dina Barvinova, Marina Razbezhkina’s student - “Teenage Doc: The Experience of a Voronezh School”, question-answer talk with Pamela Cohn, filmcritic and program coordinator for the True/False Film Fest, “Danish Documentary: We Are Red, We Are White, We Are Danish Dynamite” by Tue Steen Muller. Georg Genoux, the director and the curator of documentary, social and therapeutic theater, and Natalia Vorozhbyt, a playwright, told about documentary theater as the only way out of the artistic ghetto into real life. Also It was a play Mykolaivka by the Theater of the Internally Displaced on Docudays UA.


Besides lectures, this year’s DOCU/CLASS program was full of useful professional information. The six presentations will tell you about different cinematic initiatives: documentary workshop by Serhiy Bukovsky, IDFA industry possibilities, The Lviv Film Commission, Dokumentor international web-platform,“The Film Revision of Donbas” - new publication by The Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center, and Docworks UA-UK - a new program for documentary projects at the development stage.


And finally, a cherry on top of this year’s DOCU/CLASS - Public Pitching of the Guardian Goes Ukraine Contest. Six projects, selected from among 97 applications, will compete for the financing and an opportunity to tell their story to the world.


Last year was the first time we offered a children DOC/SADOC program for the youngest festival guests. After the warm feedback from children and their parents we have decided keep this good tradition in 2016. DOC/SADOC is a space where parents can leave their children to professional teachers and let them join the exciting documentary world.


“Living library” traditionally functioned at the festival.


Simultaneously with the film screenings, festival offered a program of human rights events. This year we had prepared a program that might interest law and journalism professionals as well as everyone who faces bureaucracy and discrimination in their everyday lives. Those who face problems in their professional field might be interested in master class “Public information access as instrument for journalists and investigation film authors”. Non-government organization WITNESS specialists told about their experience of fixing human rights violations with cameras of the simple gadgets that could be used in court. The discussion held by editors of the popular science magazine “Kunsht” told you about other dimensions of technical progress and their possible influence on our life, relationships and ethics. Also there were discussions: “Beyond Berehynia: women’s role in the new police of Ukraine” will take place after the opening of “Ukrainian dream”, “Through the illusions with weapons of the weak”, “Migration or solidarity crisis in Ukraine and wider Europe”. The whole Human Rights educational program was included around 30 events.





Main PrizeTHY FATHER'S CHAIR (dir. Àlex Lora, Antonio Tibaldi)

For its superb and precise depiction of a hidden and claustrophobic world full of memory and pain, the directors beautifully realize a work of cinematic accomplishment that makes for one of the most expansively human portraits we’ve ever had the privilege to see. It is, simply put, a big film.

Special mention: VARTA1, LVIV, UKRAINE (dir. Yuriy Hrytsyna)

This thoroughly original vision introduced us to an incredibly exciting cinematic voice in the Ukrainian landscape. Displaying artistic courage, the director dared to choose an off-road narrative of an epic event whilst completely exploding the documentary form in a thrilling way.



Main PrizeCALL ME MARIANNA (dir. Karolina Bielawska)

For the humanity and the capacity to stand for your rights despite internal and external obstacles in spite of physical pain and everyone’s rejection.

Special mention: CENSORED VOICES (dir. Mor Loushy)

For the powerful and important archival work. For the musings over the difficult questions through the soldiers' doubts that unveil the ugly face of war.

Special mentionAMONG THE BELIEVERS (dir. Hemal Trivedi, Mohammed Ali Naqvi)

For showing the difficult contradictions inside the Muslim world and the ability of civic society to resist the inextricable circle of violence. For giving the word to each of the sides when it seems that the dialogue is impossible.



Main prizeEND OF THE WORLD (dir. Monika Pawluczuk)

A film of natural insight, this emotional, balanced, well structured film discusses loneliness, and longing, caring, affection, and courage in everyday city life, making a strong statement about making a difference through humanity and the art of listening. 

Special mention: SALAMANCA (dir. Ruslan Fedotow, Aleksandra Kulak)

A film built around powerful visual compositions that truly stay with you. This harmonical, poetical film contemplates the crucial moments when we reach the most difficult choices in your lives, circling from childhood to old age, with a unique view inside an isolated community.



Main prizePEOPLE WHO CAME TO POWER (dir. Oleksiy Radynski, Tomáš Rafa)

This film is at the same time raw, controversial, and understanding. It’s powerhouse film making with immediacy you can’t turn your head away from. It offers insights, and allows access into an enormously difficult situation of violence, conflict and illusion.

Special mentionREVE TA STOHNE ON TOUR (dir. Nadia Parfan)

This bittersweet, tragicomical and universal story about artistic struggle and friendship was our emotional favorite, showing a wonderful chemistry between the two protagonists, and building the atmosphere in a genuine and organic way. 



PANORAMA (dir. Yuriy Shylov)

For the prosperty of film art.



TEN SECONDS (dir. Yuliia Hontaruk) 

For creating the convincing sensation of fragility and vulnerability of life. For the ability to hear, love, and accept the people with their contradictions. For the masterful visualization of overwhelming despair and unbreakable optimism combined in the same people at the moment of tragic Mariupol shelling.



DAVID & ME (dir. Ray Klonsky, Mark Lamy)


XII International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Docudays UA 

Dates: March 20-27, 2015 (Kyiv), October 2015 – December 2015 (regions of Ukraine).

Organizers: Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, NGO Pivden, Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation, and the NGO Centre for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts.

Locations: Cinema House, Kinopanorama cinema, Kyiv cinema, PinchukArtCentre, Visual Culture Research Centre, Dim Mykoly Gallery.


Opening film of Docudays UA was The Donetsk People’s Republic, Or The Curious Tale of the Handmade Country by British director Antony Butts. Opening ceremony was hosted by Marichka Padalko, host of the 1+1 TV channel, and journalist Michael Shchur.  


Festival’s events were united by the theme of Propaganda because all Ukrainians have focused their attention on the war in the East. This war is called a hybrid war, since it has started long before the first shots were fired, using weapons of media and propaganda.


Festival traditionally consisted of competition and non-competition programs. Competition program was divided into three groups – DOCU/LIFE, DOCU/RIGHT, DOCU/SHORT. Each of them was judged by separate jury. Additionally, student jury and viewers also voted for their favourite films.


Non-competition program include winning films from other famous film festivals. Thematically, it was divided into 10 sections: DOCU/HITS, DOCU/UKRAINE, TEMPO IDFF PRESENTS, EX-YUGOSLAVIA: RECONCILIATION, DOCU/KIDS, DOCU/ART, DOCU/ENERGY, GEORGIA EFFECT, PROPAGANDA, ALIONA VAN DEN HORST RETROSPECTIVE and SPECIAL SCREENING from Cinema Politica.


DOCU/ENERGY showcased three interpretations of human and nature rights, challenges and opportunities that people have in their war with greedy energy corporations and with their own consumer habits. 

DOCU/UKRAINE consisted of the newest films from local authors. Program also included Ukrainian premiere of film-essay Vagrich and the Black Square about well-known conceptual artist Vagrich Bahchanyan made by Ukrainian-American director Andrei Zagdansky.

DOCU/HITS gathered five exceptional festival favourites.

DOCU/ART program consisted not only of films, but also of series of lectures and discussions. Additional screenings were taking place on premises of PinchukArtCentre. Here meetings with experts took place and the connection between documentary filmmaking and art was discussed.

Each year Docudays UA introduces Ukrainian viewers to other festivals from abroad. This year it was Sweden’s turn with the program TEMPO IDFF PRESENTS.

EX-YUGOSLAVIA: RECONCILIATION presented different views on difficult processes of return to peaceful life in this region.  

GEORGIA EFFECT (together with CineDOC Tbilisi) – gathered three films about Georgia that showed realities understandable and known to Ukrainians. Idols of the Soviet era rise up from the dead, while those in power and their reforms are disconnected from people’s real needs.

SPECIAL SCREENING from Cinema Politica introduced festival’s audience to organization that for the last twelve years screens independent political documentary films all over Canada.

 ALIONA VAN DEN HORST consisted of selection of films by famous Dutch director of Russian origin.


Festival also presented two photo exhibitions:  

Exhibition You See, My Brother? by Alexander Glyadelov. This exhibition consisted of approximately 60 photos, telling the story of revolution and war in Ukraine.

Exhibition Grozny. 9 cities is a common project of Olga Kravets, Maria Morina and Oksana Yushko, exploring some aspects of the war in Grozny.


Third year in a row, the workshop of the documentary film DOCU/CLASS functioned during the festival. Master classes were held by Aliona van der Horst; famous director of photography Lars Skree; Stephane Hueber-Blies and Michelle Mitchell with Transmedia storytelling for activist and human rights content; Anna Shpakova, Maria Morina and Oksana Yushko with Group projectGrozny. 9 cities”  – how to create and show a project that critically evaluates events in your own country; Artchil Khetagouri and Ileana Stanculescu Storytelling and Protagonists in Documentary Film; Ezra Winton and Svetla Turnin Documentary Activism: The Politics of Programming, Grassroots Screening Organization and Social Movements; Andrei Rus Film Diary and its Heritage; Martichka Bozhilova Bringing Our Localness to a Global Treatment in Documentary Film; Alexander Glyadyelov Conditions of Time; Askold Kurov (Non)political cinema; Ella Shtyka, Dmytro Tyazhlov LabDOCUTOLOKA. Training Pitching Session.


For the first time in its history Docudays UA extended the age framework for its guests and started the program of children’s events DOC/SADOC for children between 3 and 14 years old. For the youngest visitors festival team has prepared exciting developing lessons, interesting conversations and English language classes. For children between 8 and 14 years old a documentary filmmaking course was organized.


“Living library” traditionally functioned at the festival.  


Simultaneously with the film screenings, festival offered a program of human rights events. Festival is an influential human rights forum in Ukraine. This year it has attracted activists, film directors, civil society activists, journalists and everyone willing to attend discussions, roundtables, presentations, trainings and film screenings. The program of events included discussions about propaganda in times of war and human rights journalism, launch of anti-discrimination campaign, screening of the feature-length documentary Holodomor. The Forgotten Genocide (2013) by French director Bénédicte Banet, trainings about how to organize public actions and energy efficiency, Belarus Freedom Day, Crimean day.


Additionally, network of human rights media education film clubs DOCU/CLUB and online cinema DOCU/SPACE were launched during the festival Docudays UA.  





Main Prize: Together (dir. Denis Shabaev) 

For innovation, ability to inspire, and deep work with heroes. Film is made in discreet but distinct manner, with effective use of the method of storytelling from the child’s point of view. Heroes are presented here in dynamic manner – they are developing both as personalities and in their relations to other members of the group, while their own relations are filled with warmth and humor. The winning film can inspire all future filmmakers. It is a sign of real skill and talent to capture such a difficult topic with such an ease.   

Honourable mention: Deep Love (dir. Jan P. Matuszynski)   

For impressive on-screen portrayal of the internal struggle and conflict between the call of passion and need to take care of the others. In this film director managed to capture the difficult relationships between two people in love and to depict in detail the process of rehabilitation.



Main prize: God’s Will (dir. Beata Bubenec)  

Honourable mention: Miners Shot Down (dir. Rehad Desai) 

Honourable prize for the hero of the documentary film: Goat for a Vote (dir. Jeroen van Velzen)  

To Mariane



Main prize: Starting point (dir. Michał Szcześniak)

For a film that by cinematic means captures uncertainty of heroine and her peculiar relations with the significant other, which inspires her to find a new meaning of life for herself.  

Honourable mention: The PT teacher, Gold and the River (dir. Amanbek Azhymat)   

For wonderfully shot movie, telling a story of an unknown place, where heroes fight for survival in harsh circumstances with incredible lightness and humour. 

Honourable prize for the hero of the documentary film: The Doctor Leaves Last (dir. Svitlana Shymko)  

To charismatic and fearless heroine of the film, who is ready to serve to the end to the cause she believes wholeheartedly. 



Main prize: Goat for a Vote (dir. Jeroen van Velzen)

For multifacetedness, relevance and gender sensitivity.  

Honourable mention: Happily Ever After (dir. Tatjana Božić)

For openness before the viewer and sincerity with herself.



Maidan Everywhere (dir. Kateryna Gornostay)

For the winning spirit of freedom.



My Home (dir. Jiří Stejskal).


The 11th International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Docudays UA

Dates: March 21 – March 28, 2014 (Kyiv), October – December 2014 (regions of Ukraine)

Organizers: Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Kherson City Journalists Association Pivden, Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation, and the NGO Centre for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts.

Festival locations: Cinema House, Kinopanorama Cinema, and Kyiv Cinema.


Docudays UA decided to go without any Opening film, because our attention is entirely consumed by ongoing changes in this country. We called upon directors who filmed Ukrainian protests and asked them to contribute their best footages. Those episodes of future films about Euromaidan made up the revolutionary kaleidoscope requiring no comments. Opening film was the chronicle of Ukrainian protest: Euromaidan. Rough Cut.

Hosts of the opening ceremony: known Ukrainian journalists, Natalya Gumenyuk and Andriy Saychuk.

Opening ceremony’s special guest: Mariana Sadovska, an actress and singer.


The topic of the 11th Docudays UA was Ideoruption. This meant corruption that long time ago had become ideology and with time being had become part of Ukrainian mentality. The topic was an attempt to grasp the scale of corruption in Ukraine and abroad, and showed how solidarity amongst ordinary people could oppose ideoruption.

Traditionally, the festival presented competition and non-competition programs. Competition comprised three lines: DOCU/LIFE, DOCU/RIGHT and DOCU/SHORT, each of which was assessed by its own jury. Students jury and the audience also chose their favorites.


Non-competition program amalgamates prize winning films from world festivals, films on peaceful protests, best film selections and much more. The 2014 special programs were DOCU/BEST, DOCU/UKRAINE, HOT DOCS presents, DOCU/RIOT, DOCU/ART, ARTDOCFEST presents, and Andriy Zagdanskiy’s Retrospective. 


DOCU/UKRAINE program was an opportunity to get acquainted with artists of various generations, styles, genres, and tastes. From debutants with still imperfect skills yet already with their own artistic vision ―to favorites of numerous festivals ―to almost classics of domestic documentary filmmaking.

DOCU/RIOT selection was for searching for new recipes or simple answers to complex questions. Not for learning from mistakes made by others. The only thing we could learn for sure was that we were not alone. Looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, we’ve got a chance to see it if people looking for it, too, turn on their flashlights there.

DOCU/ART selection presented vibrant uncompromising movies where a human produces acts of will instead of likes. 

The special program DOCU/BEST offered a selection of award-winning movies from various international festivals. 

Three films from Canadian international documentary film festival HOT DOCS did not pretend to be a revolution in life or cinematography. Nevertheless, they added new options to our mind compass. Films of this selection told us that things that we deemed complicated or intolerable in our lives were a routine for others.

ARTDOCFEST program presented three films. In the Danish Ballroom Dancer, a spectacular film made for theaters and built under the laws of grand cinematography, a viewer could see a person in critical period of his life. Lithuanian Igrushki in a strictly artistic manner demonstrated the mutations possible with human beings under conditions of police state. The Czech-Russian Theory of Aeducation and Uliyana focused on how totalitarian reality of a Christian orphanage tried to but still is unable to break a little yet proud and freedom-loving creature.


The festival presented two photo projects:

- photo exhibition “Faces of Maidan” by Igor Gaidai at Camera Gallery (March 22-28);

- photo exhibition “Photo 51: Is corruption encrypted in the DNA of Russia?” by Mikhail Fridman at Kyiv Cinema House (March 22-28).


DOCU/CLASS documentary workshop presented such lecturers and topics: Ilona Bicevska “From local idea to international screen: Independent co-production in post-Soviet space?”; Misha Friedman: Analytical photojournalism; Andrei Zagdansky: A director’s inner film; Dmytro Tyazhlov: IndieLab 2013: Practical master class in documentary film’; Igor Gaidai: Personal projects in photography ; Simone Baumann: Producing political films: Motivations and risks, and the specifics of working in Eastern Europe; Oleksandr Techynskyi, Oleksiy Solodunov, and Dmytro Stoykov: Close Combat Documentary ; Chris McDonald: How to devise a successful strategy to promote a film at festivals?; Max Afanasyev, Oleksandr Yudin: Liquid Television; Boris Mitić:The Entire Doc Film Industry Explained in 5 Drawings; Uldis Sekulis: Creative documentary in made-for-TV format; Maczei Kuziemski: Role of traveling in documentary filmmaking; Nadia Parfan and Illya Gladshtein: Chornobyl and cinematography: from disaster chronicle to mutant kids.   


For the third time the festival presented Living Library – our traditional format of communication between viewers and guests and our living books – people experiencing biased treatment in our society: a policeman, a refugee, a Muslim, a gay, and a feminist.




Main prize: The Last Limousine (director Daria Khlestkina, Russia, 2014)

For a dignified, compassionate portrayal of state-factory workers lost in transition, but not in humanity. Perfectly casted, well crafted, and touching in its social, economic, and political absurdity.

Special mention: Crepuscule (director Valentyn Vasyanovych, Ukraine, 2014)

For a visually and emotionally superior depiction of human resilience, sensibility, and interdependence.

Special mention: Night Labor (directors David Redmon and Ashley Sabin, USA, Canada, 2013) 

For a provocative, atypical, allegorical description of industrial work and personal freedom.

Jury members: Boris Mitić, a Serbian documentary filmmaker, journalist; Chris McDonald, president of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival; Simone Baumann, a German producer, head of the documentary department of Saxonia Entertainment GmbH


Main prize: Mother’s Dream (director Valerie Gudenus, Switzerland, 2013)

For a highly sensitive, empathic, and artistic presentation of a controversial and socially resonant human rights problem, affecting the fates of women and children globally.

Special mention: No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka (director Callum Macrae, UK, 2013)

For the powerful use of video advocacy in global awareness-raising and opinion-shaping regarding the mass murders of civilians belonging to a Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.

Special mention: Captain and His Pirate (director Andy Wolff, Belgium, Germany, 2012)

For exceptional courage of the film crew and an outstanding presentation of international piracy phenomenon as presented by a victim and his prison guard.

Jury members: Andrzej Poczobut, a Belarussian journalist; Natalka Zubar, a Ukrainian human rights activist, journalist, screenwriter, director; Oksana Sarkisova, a Program Director at the Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival (Hungary).


Main prize: Liza, Go Home! (director Oksana Buraja, Lithuania, Estonia, 2012)

For filmmaker's poetic sensibility and respect for other humans’ secrets.

Special mention: Joanna (director Aneta Kopacz, Poland, 2013)

For filmmaker's ability to be both intimate and discreet.

Special mention: Mom (director Lidia Sheinina, Russia, 2013)

For ability of the filmmaker to find in the closed world of one apartment "things that quicken the heart".

Jury members: Andrei Zagdansky, a Ukrainian-American director and producer; Victoria Belopolskaya, film critic, а programming director of ArtDocFest, the most influential Russian festival for creative documentaries; Stéphanie Lamorré, a French documentary filmmaker, international independent writer, producer and director


Tucker and the Fox (director Arash Lahooti, Iran, 2013)

For an optimistic story about a life-long passion

Jury Membes: Viktor Kylymar, Oleksandr Shkrabak, Halia Vasylenko, Petro Vyalkov, Tetyana Chesalova.


Joanna (director Aneta Kopacz, Poland, 2013)



A Diary of a Journey (director Piotr Stasik, Poland, 2013)


The 10th Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival

Dates: March 22 – March 28, 2013 (Kyiv), October – December 2013 (regions of Ukraine)

Organizers: Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Kherson City Journalists Association Pivden, Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation, and the NGO Centre for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts with the support of the Renaissance International Foundation.


Festival locations: The Cinema House and "Kinopanorama"




Award-winning movie is Conversations on Serious Topics (Dir. Giedrė Beinoriūtė, Lithuania 

Films Noosfera (Dir. Artchil Khetagouri)  and Documentarian (Dir. Ivars Zviedris, Inese Kļava, Latvia) got special awards. Noosfera – is heartwarming and very private of Niko the eccentric, who brings his opinion on future of world and love as scientist and pedagogue, trying to apply his theory in his own life.Documentarian is a cheerful and smart movie about cinema which touches on the question of mutual connection of  filmmaker and a hero.

Jury: film director and producer, member of the European Documentary Network and the European film Academy Audrius Stonys, Lithuaniafounder director and chief editor of the Séance publishing house Lyubov Arkus, Russia, co-founder of the several  Film- and TV-Festival, tutor on training programs Tue Steen Müller, Denmark.



The winner is Pouters from Paul Fegan, Scotland.

ABC (Madli Lääne, Germany)’ for the film’s exceptionally accomplished storytelling  and Blossom with Tears (Huaqing Jin, China)  for an honest, uncompromising portrait of lost childhood  have received special awards.

Jury: director Oleksandr Balahura, Ukraine-Italyproducer and director Marianna Kaat, Estoniaproducer, screenwriter and teacher Krzysztof Kopczyński, Poland


The Girl from the South (Dir. José Luis García, Argentina) won competition. 

Special award for passionate optimism and upholding the ideals of humanism in life received film The Punk Syndrome.

Jury: human rights activist, expert in international relations and history, poet, translator and journalist Mridula Ghosh, India, human rights activist, representative of the National Human Rights Public Association Belarusian Helsinki Committee Pavel Levinau, Belarus.

Main prize from Students’ Jury received Documentarian movie For the love of its subject, the documentarian’s self-mastery and boldness in filmmaking in unexpected circumstances.


Docudays UA team honored with a special prize named after Andrii Matrosov Ukrainian debut Sirs and Misters from Olexander Techynsky who discovered in his work an unusual Ukraine.

Audience award determined with Facebook voting, received Beyond Wriezen from Daniel Abma.


For the second time Docudays UA held the Animation contest. Audience award received movie from Valerii Dets and Irina Stelmakh ( The organizers of festival honored animation from Kateryna Voznytsa and Anton Prykhodko (




The 9th Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival

Dates: March 23 – March 29, 2012 (Kyiv), October – December 2012 (regions of Ukraine)

Organizers: Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Kherson City Journalists Association Pivden, Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation, and the NGO Centre for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts with the support of the Renaissance International Foundation.

The Tragicomedy Diplomat about quaint world of African relations, directed by Mads Bryuhher from Denmark, opened Docudays UA.

'Dictatorship and authoritarianism' has become a dominant program among the special ones, which brought together three themed films Ukraine. Starting Pointby Sergey Bukovsky, Diary, Letters,Revolutions by Flavia Castro and Khodorkovsky by Cyril Tuschi.

On March 24 there was a presentation and opening of the 'Living Library' where everyone could communicate with 'living books' - people who are facing certain prejudice in society. Among them there were refugee, feminist, Muslim, lesbian, gay, Roma, Buddhist, foreign student, former prisoner, human rights activist and others.

Within the framework of Docudays UA in 'Kinopanorama' an educational program DOCU/CLASS was held at the first time - workshops of  famous documentary filmmakers: Marina Razbezhkina (Russia), Marshall Curry (USA), Givi Odishary (Georgia) and Emily James (UK).

This year's festival has also introduced innovations concerning Contest program. There are three contests: DOCU/LIFE, DOCU/RIGHT and first appeared Short Film Competition DOCU/SHORT, in which documentaries of no more than 45 minutes of running time.


Film Argentinean Lesson by Wojciech Staro (Poland) got the main prize.  
Special Mention 'For optimism' - Autumn Gold  by Jan Tenhaven (Germany).
Special Mention 'For incredible characters' - Gangster Project by Teboho Edkins (Germany).
This year jury included a certified specialist in aesthetics Nicolas Feodoroff, Russian film director, screenwriter and producer Marina Razbezhkina, publisherIvan Malkovich.

Film Body and Soul by Matthieu Bron has won in the competition  
Special Mention 'For very artistic, humorous and moving story of relationship between characters that belong to different generations' - Life in  Stills by Tamar Tal (Israel).
Special Mention 'For artistic power and civil courage in the study of the protest movement in modern Russia' - Tomorrow by Andrei Gryazev (Russia).
Jury: head of the NGO 'The Center for Legal and Political Studies' SIM '(Lviv) Lydia Topolevska, chief editor of the portal 'Telekritika' and the head of the NGO 'Telekritika' Natalia Ligacheva and Czech photographer Bohdan Holomichek. 

Film We will be happy one day by Pavel Wysoczanski got the main prize.
Special Mention 'For brave and unexpected story about reflection of the world history in life of an ordinary person' - Chronicle of  Oldrich S. by Rudolf Smid (Czech Republic).
Special Mention   'For human and fearless to the subject of facing death' - Outro by Yulia Panasenko (Russia).
The judges were Polish kinoekspert Krzysztof  Gierat, founder and director of the youth organization 'Avantis' Ilona Bichevska (Latvia) and director, special correspondent for Radio Liberty in Crimea Valery Balayan.

Students’ Jury Award
Film Lesha by Elena Demidova got the Main Prize.
Special Mention 'For the struggle with loneliness'- Ramin by Audrius Stonуs.
Special Mention 'For the recipe for young filmmakers'- How are you doing Rudolph Ming? by Roberts Rubins (Latvia)

Special Prize from the National Union of Ukrainian Cinematographers
How are you doing Rudolph Ming? by Roberts Rubins (Latvia)  

Andriy Matrosov Award 
Outro by Yulia Panasenko (Russia)




The 8th Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival


Dates: March 25 – March 31, 2011 (Kyiv), October – December 2011 (regions of Ukraine)

Organizers: Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Kherson City Journalists Association Pivden, Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation, and the NGO "Centre for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts with the support of the Renaissance International Foundation.


The favorite of many international festivals film The Other Chelsea – A Story from Donetsk by German director Jakob Preuss has opened the Docudays UA. March 25, Jakob Preuss invited Donetsk miners – heroes of his film.


This year Docudays UA joined the international campaign ‘The Empty Chair’ to support the human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.


Best documentaries from Ukraine and other countries in Europe and Asia on human rights within the Travelling Film Festival have been seen in 112 cities, towns and villages of 22 regions of Ukraine, including AR Crimea and Sevastopol.



Art Competition

Grand Prix

The Player by John Appel (the Netherlands, 2009)


Special Awards

Scena del crimine by Walter Stokman (the Netherlands, 2010)

In Case of Loss of Pressure by Sarah Moon Howe (Belgium, 2009)


Art Competition Jury: Manon Loizeau (France), Marcin Koszałka (Poland), Uldis Cekulis (Latvia), Miroslav Janek (Czech Republic), Alik Shpilyuk (Ukraine)


Human Rights Competition

Grand Prix

Justice for Sergei by Hans Hermans, Martin Maat (the Netherlands, 2010)


Special Awards

Pink Saris by Kim Longinotto (UK, India, 2010)

You Don’t Like the Truth: 4 Days Inside Guantanamo by Luc Cote, Patricio Henriquez (Canada, 2010)


Human Rights Competition Jury: Niels Jacob Harbitz (Norway), Tatsiana Reviaka (Belarus), Nina Tagankina (Russia), Giorgi Janelidze (Georgia), Halyna Bakhmatova (Ukraine).


Students’ Jury Award

Pink Saris by Kim Longinotto (UK, India, 2010)


Special Award

The Taste of a Cinnamon Roll by Mykyta Sitdikov (Ukraine, 2010)


Students’ Jury: Maksym Anisimov, Alyona Pavlenko, Maria Polishchuk, Oleksandr Roshchyn, Tetyana Zheleznikova.


Audience Award

Shanghai Banzai by Jūratė Samulionytė (Lithuania, 2010)


Andriy Matrosov Award

The Olympic Man by Viesturs Kairiss (Latvia, 2009)


Special Prize from the National Union of Ukrainian Cinematographers

Out of Reach by Jakub Stozek (Poland, 2010)


Special Prize from the Regional Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine

The Arrivals by Claudine Bories, Patrice Chagnard (France, 2009)




The 7th Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival


Dates: March 26 – April 2, 2010 (in Kyiv), October – December 2010 (regions of Ukraine)

Organizers: the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, the Kherson City Journalists Association ‘Pivden’, the Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation, and the Center for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts, with the support of the Renaissance International Foundation.


The symbol of the festival was the Dixieland jazz orchestra from Kherson. A short documentary was made especially for the festival opening; it ended with a performance by children on stage. The writer Larysa Denysenko and the TV presenter Anatoly Yarema conducted the opening ceremony. The famous journalist and social activist Maksym Butkevych joined the film directors to moderate discussions after the movies were screened.


The Andriy Matrosov Award was established in 2010; he tragically died on 16 February that year.

Moreover, the festival presented awards from the National Union of Ukrainian Cinematographers and a prize from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union.


As part of the Travelling Film Festival, the best human rights documentaries from Ukraine and other countries in Europe and Asia were screened in Vinnytsia, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kyiv, Kryvy Rih, Luhansk, Lviv, Odesa, Zhytomyr, Ternopil, Zaporizhzhya, Kharkiv, Poltava, Sumy, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Simferopol, Yevpatoria, Sevastopol and in 102 cities and towns around Ukraine.


22,300 spectators attended the festival in Kiev. 153,000 people viewed the human rights documentaries, 70% of whom were educated young people. The effect of viewing the films was amplified by meetings with famous human rights activists, cultural workers and artists, topical discussions and debates.



Art Competition

Grand Prix

Mum Died On Saturday in the Kitchen…by Maksym Vasyanovych (Ukraine, 2009)


Special diplomas

Long Distance Love by Magnus Gertten (Sweden, 2008)

The Living Room of the Nation by Jukka Kärkkäinen (Finland, 2009)

Cash and Marry by Atanas Georgiev (Austria, Croatia, Macedonia, US, 2008)


Human Rights Competition

Grand Prix

Burma VJ – Reporting from a Closed Country by Anders Østergaard (Denmark, 2008)


Special Awards

Nine to Five by Daniel Gal (Israel, 2009) 

Sanya and Sparrow by Andrey Gryazev (Russia, 2008)


Students’ Jury Award For virtuosity and irony

The Worst Company in the World by Regev Contes (Israel, 2009)


Andriy Matrosov Award

Cash and Marry by Atanas Georgiev (Austria, Croatia, Macedonia, US, 2008)


Special Prize of National Union of Ukrainian Cinematographers

A Long Way Home by Aleksandr Gorelik (Russia, 2008)


Special Prize of Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

Another Planet by Ferenc Moldovanyi (Hungary, 2008)


Audience Award

Football Father by Michał Jóswiak (Poland, 2008)




The 6th Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival


Dates: March 27 – April 2, 2009 (in Kyiv), October – December 2009 (regions of Ukraine)

Organizers: the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, the Kherson City Journalists Association ‘Pivden’, the Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation, and the Center for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts, with the support of the Renaissance International Foundation.


Journalist Andriy Kulykov became the anchor for the opening ceremony, where the world-famous Kyiv Modern Ballet Company performed. The festival also included photo exhibitions, exhibition of caricatures and presentations with the participation of famous Ukrainian writers, directors and public figures. The filmmakers invited participated in the ‘Document’ program on the Ukrainian 1+1 TV channel. Retrospectives of famous documentaries, master classes and an educational human rights campaign were held as part of the festival’s program. For the first time during the festival, a special program entitled ‘Documentary films against injustice’ was introduced; it included films on current human rights problems in Ukraine. Documentary films about child rights were a special focus of the festival. This initiative by the festival was held as part of the Global Film Festival on children’s rights, which was held by UNICEF to mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The traveling festival was held in 100 locations around Ukraine. The screenings were held not only in cinemas and houses of culture, but also in boarding schools, penitentiaries and police departments. Regional organizers held discussions with the participation of public figures, human rights activists, journalists and filmmakers. About 140,000 spectators saw the Travelling Film Festival program, and the festival attracted 17,800 spectators in Kyiv. A students’ jury worked there for the first time.




The 5th Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival


Dates: March 28 – April 4, 2008 (Kyiv), October—December 2008 (regions of Ukraine)

Organizers: the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU), the Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation, the Kherson City Journalists Association ‘Pivden’, and the Center for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts, with the support of the Renaissance International Foundation.


Films from more than fifty countries around the world were submitted to the festival, so the festival extended far beyond Ukraine. A new team, headed by the producer Andriy Matrosov, joined the festival organizers. The festival program was divided into two parts: human rights and creative contests. The jury evaluating the films’ artistic quality presided over the festival for the first time. As of this time, almost all the makers of the competing films visited Kyiv; after the screenings, they participated in discussions with the audience. A guest service was created; also, festival volunteers showed the guests the most interesting places in Kyiv. A commercial clip of the festival was shown by 5 TV Channel, who became a media sponsor of Docudays UA. The PR department started to operate: the Ukrainian mass media reported on the festival’s events, and posters appeared on the streets. Outstanding film producers, figures from the art world, and festival directors from other countries were invited to the jury. On the initiative of Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the support of the SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation), the Swiss Embassy and the Embassy of Canada in Ukraine, the ‘Right to Know’ program was initiated, which involves using films about human rights during training for all the staff of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs.


There were also opening and closing ceremonies; the opening was accompanied by a string band, and the closing took place at the Ivan Honchar Museum, a center of Ukrainian national culture. The folk band Burdon performed after the awards ceremonies. The screenings and special festival events during the year were seen by 118,500 spectators in 60 cities around the country.




The 4th Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival

‘Ukrainian Context’


Dates: March 29 – April 6, 2007 (in Kyiv), October—December 2007 (regions of Ukraine)

Organizers: the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UNHCR) and the Center for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts, with the support of the Renaissance International Foundation.


As was now the custom, the fourth festival took place in Kyiv’s Cinema House and lasted almost a week. In addition to the jury, which included human rights activists, there was a media jury. The program included more than 100 films from twenty countries. The festival also included retrospective screenings and master classes given by leading experts in documentary. In the regions of Ukraine, work started on the creation of a network of festival clubs for the Human Rights Documentary Film Festival. Ten films from Ukraine were included in the East Silver Documentary Film Market (Czech Republic). 6000 spectators visited the Festival in Kyiv, and about 50,000 spectators visited the Traveling Festival in 30 Ukrainian cities.




The 3rd Human Rights Documentary Film Festival

‘Ukrainian Context’


Dates: 21—26 May 2006 (in Kyiv), September-December 2006 (regions of Ukraine)

Locations: Kyiv, Sumy, Simferopol, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, Chernihiv.

Organizers: the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UNHCR) and the Center for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts, with the support of the Renaissance International Foundation.


The eleven films selected during the festival in Kiev entered the program of the ‘WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film’ International Film Festival which took place on 8—17 December, 2006 in Warsaw, Poland. ‘Ukrainian context’ actually became a platform where the best documentaries from Ukraine and other former Soviet countries were presented. The festival was accepted to the international Human Rights Film Network (HRFN). Apart from the ‘WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film’ film festival, the One World International Human Rights Film Festival in Prague also granted their recommendations to ‘Ukrainian Context’.

For the first time the festival was overseen by a jury, which included well-known human rights activists from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.




The 2nd Human Rights Documentary Film Festival

‘Ukrainian Context’


Dates: March 29 – April 4, 2005 (in Kyiv), May 2005 – February 2006 (regions of Ukraine)

Locations: Kyiv, Sumy, Lviv, Sevastopol, Odesa, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk.

Shows were held in theaters, clubs, art centers, schools, high schools and universities.

Organizers: the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UNHCR) and the Center for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts, with the support of the Renaissance International Foundation.




The Docudays on Human Rights Festival


Dates: November 17 – December 21, 2003

Locations: Kharkiv, Donetsk, Odesa, Lviv and Kyiv (an enhanced program, including feature films, was presented in Kyiv).

Organizers: the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UNHCR) and the Center for Modern Information Techniques and Visual Arts, with the support of the Renaissance International Foundation.


All the documentaries were divided into subject groups: human rights in general, the problem of refugees and migrants, the rights of women and children, liberty of conscience, and the programs ‘Un Certain Regard’ and ‘Fiction Films’. Roundtables on human rights were held as part of the festival.

 31 — 9 
June 2024