Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Film Screening & Discussion. Boney Piles
Reserve Your Seat



Important Note

Registration required. Please note that all attendees must follow Columbia’s COVID-19 Policies and Guidelines. Columbia University is committed to protecting the health and safety of its community.  To that end, all visiting alumni and guests must meet the University requirement of full vaccination status in order to attend in-person events.  Vaccination cards may be checked upon entry to all venues. 

Please join the Ukrainian Film Club at Columbia University and the Harriman Institute for an unofficial US premier of the feature documentary Boney Piles, 2021. Introduction and discussion led by Professor Yuri Shevchuk.

Taras Tomenko’s new documentary is about the Russian aggression against Ukraine that started in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and the attack of the Russian regular army on the Donbas region presented by the Kremlin propaganda and its amplifiers in the West as a civil war. Already then, thousands of Ukrainian civilians, including children, were being brutalized by Russia on an everyday basis, while Western governments expressed concern and did little to punish the aggressor, while some Russia experts advocated against arming Ukraine so as not to “provoke Putin.”

Nastia was six when three missiles fired by the Russian army hit her house on New Year’s Eve. She survived but lost her father, childhood, and faith in life. To the likes of her, the war has become something of a commonplace, like the landscape outside the window. Yet Nastia has dreams. She dreams of a new house and a dog, and she writes letters to Santa, asking him to bring her father back. The method of documentary surveillance of characters and non-intrusion into their personal space made it possible to show the drama of childrens’ lives on the front line of the current war.

The film is Russian and Surzhyk with English subtitles.

Taras Tomenko, a well known Ukrainian film director and scriptwriter, was born in 1976 in Kyiv, Ukraine. He was trained at the Ivan Karpenko-Kary National University of Theatre, Cinema, and Television as a documentary film director and at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv as a Ukrainian philologist. In 2001, he won the Berlinale Panorama Award for his documentary short The Shooting Gallery. Tomenko is a member of the European Film Academy. The Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University has screened most all of Tomenko’s films on Columbia’s campus. Harvard, Stanford, the University of Toronto, and other North American venues have also screened his films. The unofficial US premier of his feature narrative The House Called Slovo, An Unfinished Novel, 2021, was held at Columbia University in April 2022.


Boney Piles (2021) Trailer