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Ukraine Films Play Fund-Raising Screenings in Japan

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Two feature films from Ukraine will this month be given special screenings in Tokyo, Japan, as part of a fund- and awareness-raising initiative about Russia’s war in Europe.

Both films “Atlantis” and “Reflection” were made by director Valentyn Vasyarovych. They played at the Venice film festival but have not been licensed to Japan or released commercially there.

However, under the banner of the Ukrainian Filmmaker Support Screening Association, former Tokyo International Film Festival programmer Yatabe Yoshi, has arranged special permission for the benefit screenings to go ahead. They take place March 29-31,2022 at the Euro Space and Euro Live venues.

Tickets will be sold via the Motion Gallery crowd funding platform, with profits beyond the cost of prints and sub-titling forwarded to the production companies and Ukrainian film support organizations.

” ‘Atlantis’ is a realistic parable that portrays the Ukraine’s conflict with Russia as a story of the dystopian world. The film is an important work that reminds us Ukraine has always been in a state of war since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. ‘Reflection’ (2021) is also a marvelous work with highly sophisticated aesthetic image that depicts the severity of the Ukraine’s conflict with Russia. These two are most essential films to be screened now,” said Yatabe.

While at TIFF, Yatabe struck up a close friendship with Vasyanovych, and programmed “Atlantis” in the festival’s 2019 main competition. He describes Vasyanovych as “representing modern Ukraine.”

Vasyanovych is a director, producer and cinematographer who was born in 1971 in Zhytomyr, Ukraine. He studied at the Karpenko-Kary National University of Theatre, Film and TV as a cinematographer in 1995 and a documentary filmmaker in 2000 and completed his studies at the Wajda School in Poland.

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Ukrainian director Valentyn Vasyarovych.
Courtesy of Free Stone Productions.

In 2012, he made his debut feature film “Business As Usual,” which earned a special mention at the Odesa International Film Festival. In 2014, he produced and shot “The Tribe” by director Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi. His 2019 effort “Atlantis” won the best film prize at Venice’s Orizzonti section. His 2021 picture “Reflection” played in main competition in Venice.

Other backers of the screenings include New Europe Film Sales, Best Friend Forever, Euro Space, Euro Live, Mermaid Film, sales and marketing firm Free Stone Productions, and the Tokyo International Film Festival.