This movie is my true story. We were fourth year students at the faculty of documentary film directing and we led a typical student's life. And suddenly the Maidan have begun, starting its changes not only for us but for Ukraine and for all World. From the beginning we've realized documenting the events taking place, both out of the documentary obligation, as well as a sense of the importance of what takes place there. Life moved to the Maidan, where we spent days and nights with the camera.
With the length of the documentary footage material shot, increasingly I felt the duality of my role: on the one hand, I was the director, interested in the creation of a credible and interesting document, on the other hand – a participant in the events in which I wanted to take still greater and fuller participation.
We were looking for main character for our movie. The protagonist who would lead us by a dancing, then already fighting Maidan towards some new reality emerging in front of us. I noticed that Liuba often points the lens at me and although I was uncomfortable, I let her do as her friend. In this way I became a heroine of the film, while continuing to direct it. Yet a major part of the script was written by the life itself.
On the Maidan I met my beloved man, journalist.
Here, together with fellow citizens, initially I cherished great hopes, extinguished soon by the brutality of the authorities and special forces, the disappointment resulting from that, outrage and rebellion, expressed in smoking tires and throwing Molotov cocktails. Quite often then I forgot about the camera and threw myself into the events. I just wanted to be and fight there. When the victory came, bloody paid by the lives of the of "Heavenly Hundreds" fighters, an euphoria and the time of the revolutionary reforms came, also at our university.
Soon, it was suppressed by the annexation of the Crimea and the armed conflict in the east of the country. My boyfriend often drove there to narrate those events directly. He agreed once, though unwillingly, to take me along; so I found myself in Donetsk overrun by separatists. The prevailing mood there was filled with hatred, suspicion and aggression.
Filming was synonymous to espionage, dialogue proved to be completely impossible.
To find myselves among people who share my views, I decided to get away for quite a risky outing to the military post, located under the fire from separatist forces. I remained there for about a week, sharing the life of a soldier with the recent opponents of the Maidan, currently fighting for the unity and indivisibility of Ukraine.
For the sake of my safety it was decided for me to be sent back to Donetsk. However I did not get there. Betrayed by a taxi driver into the hands of separatists I have landed in captivity, where under suspicion of espionage I was subjected to long interrogations, isolation and threats of torture and death.
When I was finally released, my boyfriend greeted me at the station with tears in his eyes. Then for three months he did not allow me to leave Kiev. But when the combat intensified and I started to recieve messages about the death of friends, more and more I felt that this is also my war. I wanted to be there, to see and to record with the camera what is really going on.
After strenuous efforts I was taken by a friend to the village of Pisky, one of the hottest points on the map of Donetsk province, located near the airport, which was the target of fierce fighting.
I had an opportunity to see that the soldiers of "Right Sector" are not, as shown by the Russian propaganda, fascists, extreme nationalists, blood thirsty beasts and child-killers, but ordinary guys, to whom the destiny and future of Ukraine are not indifferent.
Under fire, doing reconnaissance at the Donetsk airport, looking like decorations for a horror movie, moving in a tank, in real life-threatening situation, patrolling the area from a former coal-mine tower, in the conditions of night firing and the penetrating chill, I experienced a sense of brotherhood and kinship of souls with these people, some of whom were not to live long.
Surreal contrast to the busy life of the front was the Christmas trip to France. From that remote point of view the affairs of Ukraine seemed to be just an illusion.
Return and re-trip for the New Year to Pisky brought me back to reality. Successive contact with the senseless aggression of separatists has strengthened in me a sense of being on the fair side of the conflict, and the brotherhood with the soldiers, fighting for Ukraine.
For me, spending time with them is something more than just making a movie. My boyfriend says that I unnecessarily get involved, play with the fire and break the rules. He is probably quite right, but I cannot act otherwise. Conviction forces me to engage in full awareness of the consequences and willingness to pay, even a very high price.