Following a warm reception in New York, Toronto, Oslo, Amsterdam, The Hague and Eindhoven, Groningen also hosted a screening of films by Babylon’13 – Cinema of Civil Protest. Babylon’13 is a collective of Ukrainian filmmakers who have documented the recent uprising in Kyiv, the annexation of Crimea and separatism in Eastern Ukraine. Eyewitness Cristian Jereghi – in the Netherlands to promote BOB (Best of Online Activism) winner #babylon ’13 as one of its directors – was on hand to screen and discuss 15 documentary shorts. These films capture the Ukrainian revolution from the perspective of protesters, separatists and soldiers, among others – those who are shaping Ukraine’s destiny and writing the next chapter of its history. The screening was held on 28 May 2014 in the Library of the University of Groningen, and was followed up by helmet-painting workshop.
When the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, refused to sign an association agreement with the EU in November 2013, the first protesters took to the streets of Kyiv. In the months that followed, the demonstrations grew, as did the violence against those gathered on Maidan. Yanukovych finally fled Ukraine in February 2014, under mounting pressure due to public outrage at the deadly confrontations in Kyiv. It was a surprising yet long-awaited victory. Yet, bigger surprises were still to come: the annexation of Crimea, separatism in Eastern Ukraine and “war” with Russia. The historic events that unfolded on Maidan were quickly followed by those now changing the course not only of Ukraine’s history but quite possibly Europe – and the world. Watch the films that were shown at the screening online.