90 min

In development

The Soldier's Journey

soldat·sʹka podorozh

Directing: Helena Maksyom


On the 24th of February 2022, I woke up to rockets falling not far from my apartment in a suburb of Kyiv. Little did I know that in less than 3 months I will be a combat medic in the most violent area of the front line.

At first, I decided to document my experiences of following volunteers who evacuate civilians from places like Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Bucha but after witnessing the aftermath of a Russian rocket attack in which lives of 50 people were obliterated in seconds at Kramatorsk train station, I decided to enlist in the National Guard of Ukraine.

I learned how to use a weapon, how to treat the wounded and how to survive in a battle. I am the only woman in my unit of 240 but I gained their respect and made some friends. My commander allows me to film but it is made clear that my job as a soldier comes first.

Most of the people in the unit have picked up weapons for the first time and we are soon sent to the frontline.

Focusing on life in the few moments of rest we get, I film the story of the citizen army made out of people who came from quiet lives and regular jobs. I am both a witness and protagonist in the transformation of average civilians into combat veterans.

My 20-year-old friend, Artem, whom I carried on my back as a pretend casualty during training, was hit by a shell fragment in the temple. He saved many lives but there is not much I can say at his funeral to his grandmother and the girl he married this summer on a 3-day leave.

Life in a war zone gives me an overwhelming clarity of who people really are and amongst all the pain, destruction and moral ambiguity, there are genuine moments of joy, love and human decency.

This film is a story of those who abhor inflicting violence upon other humans but who have no choice but to do so in order to preserve the lives of those they love. A story that is universal to all wars, that will show what happens to soldiers’ humanity, to those who are not on the frontline.
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more.