Close Relations


I was born in 1963 in the city of Lvov, Ukraine. This is also where I grew up. Still during Soviet times, I moved to Moscow to study. I had just started my career as a director when the Soviet Union broke apart. I became a Russian rather than Ukrainian citizen simply because I happened to live in Moscow. At the time, it seemed the obvious choice and I didn’t loose much sleep over it. As children of the Soviet Union, we couldn’t imagine a reality in which proper borders would strictly separate the former Soviet republics.

By contrast, the vast majority of my family has always lived in Ukraine. They are scattered across the country:

Some live in my native Lvov, Ukraine’s Westernmost city near the Polish border. Some live in Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula. Others have their home in Odessa on the Black Sea and have close ties into the Donetsk region which is now part of the separatist areas.

The Maidan uprising of 2013/2014 marked the onset of dramatic change in Ukraine, which of course has affected my family as well. Nobody could imagine that members of the same family will find themselves on the different sides of barricades and become enemies. I will travel to Lvov, to the Crimean peninsula, to Odessa and the Donbass area to tell their story and provide a multifaceted image of Ukraine today.

The film will be easily accessible for viewers because I am telling the stories of ordinary people in the pursuit of happiness. They are going to learn about their lives in a country with a complicated history which is now trying to move closer to Europe. This move was the decision of a large majority of Ukrainians – but has plunged the country into a bloody war.
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