Ukraine for Christmas? Let’s go!
Sounds like an unusual place for a non-Ukrainian to go for the holidays but I can’t wait to join and document this critical time for Ukraine – especially as ongoing disinformation about the state of Christianity in Ukraine continues. This will be my third Ukraine trek since the full-scale invasion in February 2022 and I expect to see even more of the moms and children featured in Back to Bucha at the December screenings TBD.
As we are seeing at our USA screenings, moms, kids, dads, and grandparents alike are being moved by those in the film. This includes 10-year-old Lily at the October 1st Boston screening at St. Andrew’s who stood up and recited a poem about Ukraine to the packed audience – and then joined in the Q&A to ask how she could help and connect with kids in Bucha.
Though Lily stole the show I was honored to be joined by Oleksandra Romantsova after the film for an address and panel discussion with two stars from the film. She is the Executive Director of the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties and was awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. Liubymyr Janov, the head of Bucha’s Youth Council and Fr. Roman Nebozhuk, Archpriest of the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Kyiv, joined us live from Ukraine via Zoom. We are grateful to all those who helped to host this event, prepare food, supply desserts and clean. Special thanks are extended to Vsevelod Petriv, Jane Yavarow, and Maria Saxe. To top it all off the event began with a wonderful performance by Valeriia Vovk whose music was used in the documentary.
Back to Bucha’s fall tour actually began the previous day at the beautiful Claremont Opera House on a very big screen! We premiered the new 30-minute version of the film at the “Stand With Ukraine” event put together by the Sugar River Rotary. Valeriia also performed, this time on a grand piano on a grand stage – an extraordinary scene. The new shorter version of the film really gets to the essence of the documentary – moms and kids coming back home. Once again we are grateful to all those who helped host this event, serve food, hold raffles, clean, etc. A very special thanks to Sophia Sushailo and Sugar River Rotary President Charlene Lovett for treating us so well.
Donations were also record setting for one of our screening events with proceeds going to Ya Buchanec for an after-school center that was robbed by the Russian military during Bucha’s occupation.
While I’m not sure we can top these New England screenings, I am excited to screen the film for our friends in Ukraine as we begin filming the third film in our Trek to Bucha trilogy. This one focused on the truth about Christianity and religious freedom in Ukraine.