Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




The Living – Film Screening & Discussion

This event was held virtually on Zoom and streamed via YouTube Live.

Please join the Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University and the Harriman Institute for an online screening and discussion of the documentary film The Living (2008) in commemoration of the 87th anniversary of the Holodomor Famine-Genocide in Ukraine in 1932-1933. Professor Yuri Shevchuk will moderate a conversation and Q&A with director Serhiy Bukovsky and producer Victoria Bondar who will discuss how their film was made, its reception around the world, and more.

The Living intertwines two narratives: eyewitness testimonies by the survivors of the Great Famine, and the dramatic story of the Welsh journalist Gareth Vaughan Jones, one of the few Westerners who travelled to the Soviet Union and wrote about the genocide of Ukrainian peasants. The film celebrates the invincibility of the human spirit faced with the Soviet machine of mass murder. The US premiere of The Living took place on November 21, 2008 at Columbia University as the focal part of the international conference “The Holodomor in Film,” jointly organized by the Ukrainian Studies Program and the Harriman Institute. The Living was shown at numerous film festivals around the world.

Serhiy Bukovsky is perhaps the most important documentary film director in Ukraine today. Winner of the prestigious Taras Shevchenko National Prize, he is known internationally for his films Spell Your Name (2006) and The Living (2008). His works document the most momentous events that define the identity of the Ukrainian nation, its historical memory, and consciousness. Bukovsky was among the first to challenge Soviet ideological orthodoxies while most of his peers followed them, to pose uncomfortable questions and provoke an entire nation into a painful re-examination of its past. His TV series War, a Ukrainian Account was the first alternative narrative of the untold Ukrainian experience in World War II based on facts. His film Spell Your Name is an account of the Nazi extermination of Ukrainian Jews, based on the oral testimonies of the Holocaust survivors, gathered at the USC Shoah Foundation. His latest film is the three-part documentary V. Sylvestrov about the brilliant Ukrainian composer Valentyn Sylvestrov.

Victoria Bondar is a producer, script writer, PR specialist, and instructor at the Sergey Bukovsky Film Programme in Kyiv, which she established with Bukovsky in 2014. After graduating with a degree in journalism from Kyiv State University, Bondar worked as a reporter, on-air host, and story editor at the Cinema Department of the Ukrainian State Broadcasting Company. Subsequently she was Editor-in-Chief at the Ukrainin Studio of Documentary Films (1987-1993), a PR manager at the Representative Office of Motorola in Ukraine (1994-2003), and was a project manager and associate producer for Bukovsky’s 2006 documentary Spell Your Name, made in association with the USC Shoah Foundation and produced by Steven Spielberg and Victor Pinchuk. She was also producer and script writer for The Living (2008).



Event Video