By Steve Richards
My first Ukraine documentary, Trek to Bucha, was shot in April 2022 during the full-scale invasion’s early days. In January 2023 I returned to film Back to Bucha, revisiting those I had met plus several ladies and moms in Kyiv and Bucha who had moved back with their families since the initial evacuations. Why? To build their lives and raise their children in their own homes, in their own country. The film also features Ukraine’s diverse Christian community and the young men of Ukraine. It captures the inspirational - and the realities - of their lives during wartime.
The film officially premiered at the Claremont Opera House in New Hampshire on September 30, 2023 with screenings so far held from Austin to Boston, Florida to Pennsylvania. Audiences laugh and cry with the interviewees witnessing Ukraine’s Spirit throughout.
Our goal? To take this uplifting film to Americans to raise awareness, entertain, and inspire - all while raising funds for Ukrainian causes. In particular, we want to shine a light on the misinformation and disinformation campaigns related to de-satanization and de-nazification assertions by Putin and Russian leaders including chief priest Kiril. From now through Election Day 2024 we plan to canvas the battleground states, reaching out to groups and venues of all kinds. For instance on December 15, 2023 we have a weekend of screenings for our Florida premiere at the Lake Worth Playhouse in conjunction with Lake Worth’s Episcopal church just five miles from Mar-a-Lago. These are our first theatrical screenings in which we bring together churches, theaters, and community organizations to support Ukraine.
But first I head to Ukraine on Christmas Day to screen the film for the film’s stars and others as they enter another winter with a fragile energy grid sure to be targeted. This includes a gala Bucha Premiere on January 5th. before returning to the USA January 10th. We will also begin work on the next film as we document Ukraine’s Christmas and New Year festivities at this perilous time. Should make for some great footage!
But it’s not just screenings. Our outreach includes email campaigns to members of the international press, politicians, and perhaps most importantly, church and community leaders throughout the USA. PBS and other broadcast outreach are also part of what we are working on.
Our goal is to raise $9,500 over the coming weeks to cover the holiday screenings and the new video shoots. We’ve also budgeted $30,000 including $10,000 already incurred on our summer outreach tour to Evangelical and other churches in the South, Texas, and Northeast. This amounts to a total of $39,500 of which we’ve already raised just over $10,000.
Lastly, part of the rationale for going to Ukraine during the holidays is to offer a bit of support and reassurance from friends in the USA. You are part of this group.
Would you like to support these efforts? Simply donate using the link below. And remember, 50% of all screening revenues go to Ukrainian causes.