German Co-Productions @ AFI’s “Ukraine on Screen” Film Series

AFI Silver presents an eye-opening selection of highlights of recent Ukrainian cinema, both narrative and documentary. Included are four films that are German co-productions: UKRAINIAN SHERIFFS, DONBASS, MARIUPOLIS and VOLCANO.

While some screenings have a fundraising component, AFI’s main goal with the series is to showcase contemporary Ukrainian cinema as a way of keeping a spotlight on the situation there and promoting greater understanding of Ukrainian culture and recent history.

As AFI writes: “It’s hard to look away from the images of Ukraine we currently see on our TV screens and smartphones as each news cycle brings increasingly harrowing reports on Russia’s invasion and the ongoing war. In response to the current situation and in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, we present this selection of recent Ukrainian films which paints a complex portrait of a nation and its people.

Diverse in subject matter, tone and form, this small cross-section of the country’s vast cinematic output offers keen insight into modern life and the recent history of Ukraine, a filmic artistry born of a resilience shared by both the filmmakers and the Ukrainian citizens whose real-life stories and experiences are documented and depicted on screen.

Special thanks to former AFI Silver Programming Assistant and series consultant Darya Levchenko.

All tickets for this series are $8 and AFI Member passes will be accepted. The goal is in presenting this series to showcase contemporary Ukrainian cinema, and through this medium raise awareness and understanding of the Ukrainian people’s culture, daily life and recent history. For this reason, the series is offered at a reduced price to encourage attendance by the widest possible audience.”


Film Series:

Sat, 5/7, 12 pm; Tue, 5/10, 6:45 pm: UKRAINIAN SHERIFFS [UKRAYINSKI SHERYFY]
With a reported shortage of policemen in rural communities, one Ukrainian village found a creative solution. The feature documentary debut of Ukrainian filmmaker Roman Bondarchuk, UKRAINIAN SHERIFFS was selected as Ukraine’s official submission to the 2017 Academy Awards®.


Sat, 5/7, 9:30 pm; Mon, 5/9, 7 pm: DONBASS (2018) [DONBAS]
Called “a darkly satirical omnibus of scathing vignettes” by The Washington Post, DONBASS serves as a crucial interpretation of the Russo-Ukrainian war, but the film is not, ultimately, a tale of one region or one conflict. It is about a world lost in post-truth and fake identities.


Sun, 5/8, 3:45 pm; Wed, 5/11, 6:30 pm: MARIUPOLIS
Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius (1976–2022), killed by a Russian attack in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol on April 2, 2022, captured the escalating conflict in Ukraine in several powerful works, including MARIUPOLIS, which debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2016.


Tue, 5/10, 3:30 pm; Thurs, 5/12, 7 pm: VOLCANO (2018)
Full of striking visuals, Ukrainian documentarian Roman Bondarchuk’s debut narrative feature chronicles the Kafkaesque encounters of a government official stranded in the bleak badlands of Ukraine. Lukas works as an interpreter for the OSCE, and is stuck near Beryslav, just north of Crimea.