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A Real Look at the Russian Invasion of Ukrainian Territory; TOLOKA and UKRAINIANS IN EXILE at the 20th Edition of FICM

Laura García

As part of the Special International Screenings of the 20th edition of the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM), Toloka (2020, dir. Mikhail Ilenko) and Ukrainians in Exile (2022, dir. Janek Ambros), a look that documents the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory, were screened.

The show began with the participation of Ana Uskova representing the Embassy of Ukraine in Mexico. Uskova shared how her family and the Ukrainian people have lived through the Russian invasion, “My parents' house was destroyed by the bombs that fell on it, there is no safe place in Ukraine at the moment […] We are going to defend our country, our culture. We are going to rebuild the cities, the houses, it is the first thing that we are going to do when we win the war.”

The feature film Toloka begins with an introduction by its director Mikhail Ilenko who explains that Toloka is, “Toloka (a form of mutual assistance in Slavic villages; a tradition to support urgent work that is sometimes used on public infrastructures) is the secret weapon of the Ukrainians against any misfortune. Toloka has always managed to overcome misfortune."


Una mirada real de la invasión rusa al territorio ucraniano; TOLOKA y UKRAINIANS IN EXILE en la 20ª edición del FICM

The film’s director and screenwriter Mikhail Ilenko studied at the Moscow Film Institute. He is a member of the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine since 2017 and, in 2007, he received the Oleksandr Dovzhenko State Prize of Ukraine.

Director Janek Ambros, founder of Assembly Line Entertainment, spoke about the process of filming this documentary short film, shot in March 2022. "I wanted to tell what is being experienced [...] There is a lot of misinformation and conspiracies."

Ukrainians in Exile is narrated from Anya’s experience, as a Ukrainian refugee reflecting on the difficulties that migration represents: an act of survival and hope.

The American director, producer and writer’s filmography include Money, Fascism, and Some Sort of Acid (2022), the documentary Imminent Threat (2015), the short film Red, Blue, and Purple (2014), and The Originals (2005), among others.