The documentary "From Where to Where" about the evacuation of Ukrainians won awards at four European film festivals
Over the past week, the documentary From Where to Where has won numerous awards at film festivals in Switzerland, France, and Germany. The film by Polish director Maciek Chamela depicts the evacuation of Ukrainians from the frontline areas at the beginning of the full-scale invasion. The film was produced by the Ukrainian film company 435 FILMS, founded by film producer Anna Palenchuk.
From Where to Where won the Best Documentary Award at the Zurich Film Festival. Every year, 14 "eye-opening" films are selected for the documentary program and compete for the Golden Eye award. This Swiss film festival is the second largest festival in the German-speaking world.
And the film From Where to Where received the Friedrich Ebert Foundation's Political Film Award, which recognizes films with a socially important context at FilmFest Hamburg, . This German film festival has been held since 1992 in Hamburg, where about 130 films are presented every year, gathering more than 45 thousand film lovers.
The jury, giving the award to the film, said the following: "One film stood out from the contenders. It was shot in the most difficult conditions, with one camera, in one narrow space. The view through the window shows shots similar to those we have all seen on TV, shots of destruction. But now we see them through the eyes of those whose world has just been destroyed. We look at their faces, listen to what they say, often they seem surprisingly indifferent, sometimes openly traumatized, always laconic and always touching. The genre of anti-war films is dominated by films where men are at war. This film is truly anti-war because it is told by the victims. It is a means against the addiction to war, it makes visible those whose lives have been turned upside down since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. This great movie deserves a big audience."
From Where to Where received another honor at the War on Screen International Film Festival in France - the Main International Jury Award. At another French film festival, Festival 2 Cinema de Valenciennese, the film received three awards: The Grand Prix, the Critics' Award, and the Students' Award. They were presented to the film's documentary protagonist Larysa Sosnovtseva, a refugee from Mariupol who lives in France.
From Where to Where had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2023, and has already received a number of awards, including: "Best Polish Film" and "Art House Film Association Award" at the Polish film festival Millennium Docs Against Gravity; "Main Jury Award" at the British film festival Sheffield DocFest; "Special Mention" at the Icelandic film festival IceDocs; "Best Documentary" at the Odesa International Film Festival; the North American premiere of the film took place at the Canadian film festival TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). The film is shortlisted for the European Film Awards by the European Film Academy.
The first days of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. People are faced with uncertainty, and here and now they decide to give up what they have and flee the war. When they board a dusty bus with foreign license plates, they are holding the most valuable thing they have left. The bus travels tens of thousands of kilometers, performing various functions for refugees: waiting rooms, hospitals, shelters, zones of trust and testimonies shared by people who met by chance. "From Where to Where is a collective portrait composed of the experiences of those who have a single goal: to find a safe place in the midst of war. In the bus, their temporary refuge, the importance of gender, age, skin color, physical condition, origin, identity, worldview and faith disappear. In the Polish and Ukrainian versions of the film's title, Skąd dokąd (From where to where), "from" and "where" (dokąd) are common questions asked when trying to pass through the many checkpoints located on the territory of Ukraine.