Quarantine Pushes Human Rights Documentary Event to Become Ukraine's First Online Film Festival
11 April, 2020

As a result of Ukraine’s cancellation of all public events due to the coronavirus quarantine, documentary film festival Docudays UA will be held entirely online for the first time in its 17-year history. This will make it Ukraine's first online film festival.

The festival will run from April 24 to May 3, and will still encompass a host of events, such as 45 streams of human rights event RIGHTS NOW! as well as documentary film-making master class DOCU / class. And each evening, viewers will be able to watch a new episode from the series “The Village”, from French producer Claire Simon. More than 50 films will also be available – entirely for free – until May 10, on the DOCU / SPACE platform.

In fact, the entire festival will be provided free of charge, though a pay-what-you-want system will also be implemented per film, or charitable viewers will be able to donate directly to the festival itself.

“This is a decision full of conclusions and experiments, as we’re going to be the first Ukrainian film festival to be held online. We want for Docudays UA-2020 to become, for our viewers, a source of support and a unique experience. This year, all of Ukraine will be able to join the festival, and all the film showing and online streams will be free,” said the Docudays UA organizers on their Facebook page.

The festival plans to publish the full program and list of the festival’s streams in the upcoming week.

In a comment to hromadske, the organizers explained that people who had already ordered tickets or passes for the event will be eligible for different rewards and benefits in the future, including full refunds.

“Everyone will be able to choose [the option] most comfortable for them. We’re sending this information personally to every pass and accreditation holder, and we’ll soon publish a detailed FAQ on our site,” read the comment.

Growing up is one of the core themes of this year’s Docudays UA, and the festival will focus on three core components:

  • A public scream on the website of the human rights discussion program RIGHTS NOW!, lectures and meetings in DOCU / class, as well as conversations about life and film with producers of films presented at Docudays, as well as film critics.

  • The virtual film theater DOCU / SPACE, where viewers will be able to see over 50 films in both competitive and noncompetitive categories, most of which will be accessible from April 24 to May 10.

  • Exclusive online events for accredited industry pass holders of DOCU / O, including: Ukrainian Doc Preview, a presentation of actual Ukrainian documentary films during their making, with film industry specialists in the audience, implemented in partnership with the Ukrainian institutes; as well as Meet Professionals – a cycle of online meeting with international experts in documentary film-making.

Viewers will also be able to register for conversations hosted by The Human Library. And teenagers from different corners of Ukraine will be able to take part in an online studio of documentary films, where – under the mentorship of documentary producers – they’ll be able to create their own personal documentary films about life under quarantine, for DOCU / CAMP.

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The festival will also host all of its usual competition programs – DOCU / MIR, DOCU / UKRAINE, and DOCU / SHORT. Traditionally, each competition will be judged separately according to genre, by both Ukrainian and international experts, documentary filmmakers, human rights defenders, and others. One of the dozens of nominated films can win the RIGHT NOW! Achievement – presented to a creative documentary that explores the modern world and debate about human dignity, freedom and equality.