It is now three years since Euromaidan won. Three months of protests in Ukraine’s capital that started in November 2013 as an opposition to then President Yanukovych’s refusal to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement ended in a massacre of over 100 activists by government snipers, and the successful ousting of a corrupt kleptocratic regime. Dubbed “The Revolution of Dignity,” the public uprising sent Yanukovych fleeing to Russia and the establishment of a new, western-oriented government, and was followed by Russia’s covert invasion of Crimea and Donbas.
As Ukraine’s struggle for independence, internal and external, is ongoing, recall the determination, hopes, and dreams which drove the Euromaidan protesters to withstand sniper fire and the attacks of the riot police backed by a kleptocratic and authoritarian regime, on their little island of freedom in the center of Kyiv. Here we offer a selection of videos about Euromaidan which you can watch online.
1. Heaven’s Hundred
“Heaven’s Hundred” is the first film from the series of documentaries “The winter that changed us,” a film project of Babylon’13 and 1+1 production. The term “Heaven’s Hundred” appeared just after the worst fighting on Independence Square and refers to the 107 protesters killed during the clashes, most having been shot by government snipers. “Hundred” is the English translation of “Sotnia,” an old Kozak word determining a military division that roughly numbered a hundred. The Euromaidan Movement was organized into many Sotnias: first of all, the Self-Defense Sotnias, but also an Art Sotnia, a Clean Sotnia, a Women’s Sotnia etc. The Heaven’s Hundred, or Heaven’s Sotnia, is made up of all those people that died for freedom during Euromaidan. The film shows how it happened that in just three days nearly 100 people were killed in downtown Kyiv. Available with English, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish subtitles, which were translated by us, Euromaidan Press, like the rest of the films in the series (you need to turn them on).
2. The First Death
The second film from the series of documentaries “Winter that changed us.” This is the story of those who died for freedom and for their own state. This time the story focuses on Serhiy Nihoyan, the Armenian who was killed in the center of the Ukraine’s capital in late January.
3. Hrushevskyi Cocktails
The third film of the series “The winter that changed us” is called “Hrushevskyi Cocktails.” The name comes as a variation of Molotov Cocktails. They were the protesters’ most potent weapons against armed Berkut forces on Hrushevskyi street in Kyiv. After students were beaten at the very start of Euromaidan and many thousands came out to their defense in Kyiv, few could imagine that the government would resort to violence again. However, the government ignoring hundreds of thousands of protesters on the streets and suppressing them with direct and indirect methods led to the appearance of Molotov cocktails in Kyiv’s capital. According to rumors, the first who threw a Molotov cocktail was an artist-architect, giving evidence that the Revolution of dignity was a cultural revolution also.
While working on the film about the residence of Viktor Yanukovych, the film’s director Yuliya Shashkov repeatedly visited Mezhyhirya. The authors of the film draw parallels between life in luxurious Mezhyhirya and simple Yenakiyevo, where the house of Yanukovych’s father stands in ruins,
The directors of “Self Defence,” the fifth film of “The winter that changed us all,” shows the ability of people to self-organize in the most difficult times. The way that a chaotic groups of people on Mykhailivska ploshcha were able to transform into groups that performed the role of the police is something that surprised and impressed many visitors of Maidan.
6. Generation Maidan: A Year of Revolution & War
It’s easy to be confused about what’s happening in Ukraine because so much has happened in the last year and a half. To understand all the tumultuous events it’s important to realize that it’s all part of one drama. The war in Donbas may be dominating the headlines today, but it’s really a backlash to the Euromaidan revolution. That’s when a new generation of Ukrainians demanded a change in their country, for which they were willing to sacrifice their lives.
The documentary Generation Maidan, by eight-time Emmy winner Andrew Tkach, captures their story. You can see it online for $1 on Vimeo here, or for free on the YouTube channel of Messy Media, or in Ukrainian here.
Generation Maidan has real-time footage of all the action, from the peaceful protests in Kyiv that grew into a self-governing liberated zone, to the dogged determination of Ukrainian protestors who withstood sniper attacks by government forces and emerged victorious. Read more about the film here; below is a trailer with selected scenes.[vimeo 132325157 w=640 h=360]
7. The Female Faces of Revolution
Another documentary made by 1+1 which tells the story of the women of Maidan.
The blurb says: “A wife who stood in the line of fire together with her husband. A girl who fell in love with a regular young man, and lost a hero. A woman who turned into a warrior. A mother who ended up on the opposite side of the barricade to her son. A mother who raised a conscious son but ended up raising a hero. A hero of the Heaven’s Hundred… Each of them looked death in the eyes, but found strength within themselves to continue living. Maidan changed their lives forever.”
Sergei Loznitsa’s picture Maidan chronicles the three months of the Euromaidan revolution, from December 2013 to February 2014. The two-hour film is a gallery of long shots, which change gradually. The drama is created by the events themselves, with the camera only capturing the reality. The film shows the revolutionary events in Kyiv in quiet close-ups, with no comments, statements or value judgments. The footage with flying flags, burning barricades, and unarmed people speak for themselves, according to the jury’s evaluation.
This documentary won the grand prize at the Nuremberg International Human Rights Festival. Read more>>
9. Winter on Fire
This film, produced by Russian-born American director Evgeny Afineevsky, fell short of winning an Oscar in 2016, but nonetheless presents an electrifying story about the dramatic events as they unfolded to make history in the streets of Kyiv, giving rise to a civil rights movement that successfully ousted a corrupt political regime. in Kyiv. Afineevsky assembled a people’s crew of no less than 28 cinematographers as well as participants and witnesses to chronicle the dramatic events as they unfolded to make history in the streets of Kyiv, giving rise to a civil rights movement that successfully ousted a corrupt political regime.
“Winter on Fire” premiered at the Venice Film Festival to much acclaim and has already received numerous international awards, including a People’s Choice Award and two prestigious awards presented by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko on the anniversary of the EuroMaidan Revolution. Not surprisingly, “Winter on Fire” may be a contender for an Oscar nomination, appearing on several critics’ short-lists of best documentaries of 2015. It’s available for streaming on Netflix, in over 130 countries. A trailer is available below. Read more about the film>>>
10. All things ablaze
“This movie is not about the revolutions which transformed Ukraine this winter. It is not really about that. It is best described as a universal example of a special type of rebellions – ones that end in bloodshed,” the creators write about their movie.
In the fall the movie received a prize at the German movie festival DOK Leipzig as an “outstanding Eastern-European film.”
The description on the festival’s website says: “There is a scene at the heart of the film whose length takes it to the limits of endurance but makes its symbolism almost palpable: protesters joyfully and forcefully demolish a huge bust of Lenin, taking victory photos (not quite sure about what precisely Lenin has to do with their hatred) while an old Soviet character hugs his beloved colossal stone fragment and refuses to let go until he almost collapses. The Maidan as a battlefield. Quelle horreur!”
The jury said the movie was convincing, consistent and always at the heart of the events, shoulder-to-shoulder with the main characters: “The film does not intend to reflect the content of the events, but the experience of being witness to a fight having gone awry and ending in despair, helplessness and death.” Watch it on Journeyman. Trailer is below:
[vimeo 93469311 w=640 h=360]
11. 20 testimonies about the turning point of the Maidan
On 20 February 2014, the most bloody confrontation between the riot police and the protesters took place in central Kyiv, during which government snipers killed 47 activists.
The Ukrainian online television station, Ukrlife.TV, together with civic organizations EuroMaidan SOS and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Group, created a documentary film illustrating the tragic day of confrontation between the authoritarian power and the people. It’s based on 20 testimonies of the participants of the events. More about the film>>>