Citizen Filmmakers: Stefan Bugryn and Steven Zelko

Thursday, April 25, 2019
Deutsches Haus (420 West 116th St at Amsterdam Ave)

Please join the Ukrainian Film Club at Columbia University for a special event featuring the Australian film director Stefan Bugryn and producer Steven Zelko, with a discussion moderated by Yuri Shevchuk.

The Melbourne-based filmmakers will show the first part of their documentary project War Mothers about the grassroots response to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, and discuss their experience shooting the events both on the war front and in the Ukrainian rear. Bugryn and Zelko's documentary short War Mothers: Unbreakable, the most recent installment in their "War Mothers" project, is competing at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.

War Mothers (2017) is the story of three women, Halyna, Svitlana, and Yulia, living in the town of Zaporizhia along the eastern front of the ongoing war in Ukraine. All three women are mothers who have felt the impact of the war firsthand and have decided not to stay quiet amidst the tragedy being dealt to them, their country and its people. They are mothers of war, they are War Mothers.

'Highly poetic & moving' - Time Out Australia

'Heartbreaking...not to be missed' - FilmDude

To read the story behind the film:

For additional coverage:


Stefan Bugryn is an Australian director and producer based in Melbourne, Australia. Since 2012, his shorts have screened locally and internationally at festivals such as the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, FilmQuest, and Middle Coast Film Festival. In 2018, Bugryn won Best Director: Short Film Category and Best Short Film at the 2018 Melbourne Documentary Film Festival for the first instalment of his War Mothers documentary project. The premiere of this film was officially backed and supported by Time Out Australia.


Steven Zelko has been making films for the past ten years. He has worked in both fiction and non-fiction, education, music, and drama, and has shot everything from a feature film about aliens, to a family program about saving marriages for the Victorian government, to an Iron Maiden performance. Zelko grew up the son of Yugoslavian migrants who settled in Melbourne in the 1960’s. He was an active member of that community until the Bosnian war in the early 1990’s, a war which cost him the life of his grandfather. He currently spends part of his time working for LaTrobe University production department, assisting students with disabilities.