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Ukraine-US documentary wins Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Festival

The film “Porcelain War” depicts Ukrainian artists who decide to stay behind and fight amidst Russian fighter jets and missile strikes, proving that passion for living cannot be destroyed.
Porcelain War poster. Photo: Anya Stasenko and Slava Leontyev via Facebook
Ukraine-US documentary wins Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Festival

The Ukrainian-American documentary “Porcelain War” wins the US Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the independent movie festival Sundance on January 26, according to the festival’s website. This is the seventh movie filmed in Ukraine that was presented at the festival since Ukraine’s first participation in 2020.

The film tells the story of Ukrainian artists Slava, Anya, and Andrey, as they choose to stay behind and fight, contending with the soldiers they have become. Defiantly finding beauty amid destruction, they show that although it’s easy to make people afraid, it’s hard to destroy their passion for living.

Jury citation described the making of this film as the “ultimate pursuit of good” while simultaneously resisting totalitarian aggression and holding on to humanity.

“Porcelain War embodies the passion and fight, that only an artist can put back into the world when it’s crumbling around them”, says the Porcelain War official site.

The documentary was directed by Best Picture Oscar nominee Brendan Bellomo, as well as Ukrainian artist and former soldier of the Ukrainian Special Forces Slava Leontyev.

“I’m so eager to show people my Ukraine, to remind people that the future of the world is in the hands of each of them,” the co-director told on Sundance YouTube.

The Ukrainian-American documentary received praise from critics for its sensitive yet understandable portrayal of the war. Screen Daily called Porcelain War “a personal testament, almost like a moving scrapbook which begins to add memories previously unimagined”. As per The Wrap, the film “doesn’t seem nearly as fragile as Leontyev and Stasenko’s porcelain figures. It’s the audience that’s likely to shatter.”

The film is available for US audiences online through 29 January or in person on 26 January at Holiday Village Cinemas – 2 in Park City, Utah.

Earlier, a Sundance award-winning documentary “20 Days in Mariupol” received an Oscar nomination.

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