Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

Film poster for "The Way of Generations."



Film Screening & Discussion. The Way of Generations, 2021
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. 

The Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University will screen and discuss the new historical drama The Way of Generations (2021) by director Mykhailo UkhmanYuri Shevchuk will introduce the program and lead the post-screening discussion.

The film is about the centuries-long struggle of the Ukrainian people for freedom. Сreated, produced, and co-written by Mykhailo Ukhman, a war journalist, writer, and volunteer. In this film, Ukhman focuses on the struggle fought by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in World War Two and the Ukrainian Armed Forces against Russian invaders today. The idea of the film came about in 2018 when Mykhailo met Hanna Abramovych-Zelena, former liaison officer for the legendary UIA (North) commander Klym Savur, during a visit to the region of Volyn. Abramovych-Zelena, now 93, shared how she was on a special assignment for the UIA when her neighbor turned her to the Russian secret police. Abramovych-Zelena, 16 at the time, was tortured, gang-raped, and sent to the GULAG. Another film character whose real-life experience inspired the film is UIA soldier Stepan Petrash who survived decades of Soviet camps after being captured by the Russians. Petrash shared how the UIA had fought against German and Soviet invaders.

Cut to the current all-out Russian war on Ukraine when Ukrainians, yet again, are faced with their mortal enemy in a war for their very survival. A young Ukrainian man, Nazar, whose ancestors fought in the UIA, decides this is not his war to fight and stays home while others go to the front.  While hiking in the forest, Nazar ends up camping overnight near the grave of a murdered UIA fighter; the fighter visits Nazar in his dream and confronts him about his decision to not fight in defense of his country. Nazar realizes that if the Russians are not thrown out of Ukraine his yet-unborn child will have no future. Nazar quits his job, leaves his pregnant girlfriend, and heads to the war.

The film features actors Larysa Rusnak, Oleksiy Palamarenko, Volodymyr Nikolaienko, Serhii Dovhyi, Anastasia Ponomarenko, Nazar Borushok, Kira Podolska, Svitlana Matviishyn.

Professional and amateur actors and real-life Ukrainian secret service men, special forces fighters and UAF soldiers took part in filming. Some scenes were filmed in Volyn where the UPA resistance was born; others were shot on-location in the Donbas area near the town of Volnovakha, which was razed by the Russian army.  Authenticity was important to the filmmakers, who have used actual battlefield tactics and weapons used by Ukrainian forces against the Russians in the film.

The film is in Ukrainian with English subtitles.

Mykhailo Ukhman, 37, Ukrainian journalist, film director, writer and producer, and founder of the Ukhman & Co., was born in the Province of Ternopil, Ukraine. He did his studies at the Ternopil National Pedagogical University School of Journalism. After the eruption of Russian aggression in the east of Ukraine in 2014, he went to the front as a war reporter. As a result, he published a book The People of Will that describes his war experience, combat operations, and Ukrainian soldiers. At the same time, he took part in the hostilities as a volunteer. In 2018, Mykhailo resumed his work as a writer and director and made two documentary shorts for the project “They Gained Eternal Life in Battle.” His feature documentary as producer, co-writer, and the author of the idea A Little Lower than the Sky is a story about the Ukrainian fighters who defended the Donetsk Airport. Since the full-scale Russian aggression outbreak, Mr. Ukhman went to the eastern front as a volunteer and war reporter. These days, he is busy filming events taking place on the front with the view of using the footage in his next film.

The Way of Generations (2021) Trailer