The documentary Vynnychenko without Bromine won the first prize in the nomination “Immigrant’s Bread of Affliction” at the International Festival of Television and Radio Programs Kaliny Mosty held in the Polish town of Ketrzyn. The television and radio programs reflecting the European integration process, the spiritual revival of national minorities and their cultural achievements and values, the ways to resolve the problems of today’s ethnic communities, the exchange of experience concerning the creation and work of social television were the main themes in the competition, which was held for a second time. This year the participants competed in eight nominations: “The European Prospects of Ukraine,” “Small Homelands,” “Euro-2012 is Our Common Endeavor,” “Ukrainian Culture in the European Format,” “Native Tongue as the Nation’s Code,” “Commemorating Ancestors,” “The Immigrant’s Bread of Affliction,” and “Ukrainians Died for Europe.” The television jury comprised representatives from Poland, Ukraine and Belarus.
The film Vynnychenko without Bromine, dedicated to the 60th anniversary of his death in March 1951, is a part of the series “Ukrainian Dream” that is being produced by the Creative Union of Documentary Makers of the First National Television Channel. It’s interesting that before the abovementioned anniversary of Vynnychenko’s death Den published an article called “Vynnychenko without Bromine,” which was no accident.
The article was written by Den regular contributor Yurii Shapoval, Ph.D. in History, who also wrote the script for the film based on the materials used in the article. The producer of the film is Iryna Shatokhina. The Day called Yurii Shapoval and was the first to inform him about his victory at the Polish festival. Yurii told us how the film was created and what Vynnychenko’s figure represents in Poland: “Ukraine has given absolutely unconventional people to the world – ones that we have to look closely at. Volodymyr Vynnychenko, with his novel The Solar Machine, his plays that were staged all over Europe and even his way of life and its geography is perfect example of this. Unfortunately, few people know about Vynnychenko’s life as an immigrant. That is why the director Iryna Shatokhina and I wanted to tell his unknown immigrant’s story but ‘without bromine,’ without exaggeration and varnishing his image. I think this guaranteed the success of the film. Moreover, this topic is very close to Poland as Poles are spread all over the world even more than Ukrainians. This immigrant’s paradigm of a Polish and Ukrainian reality is probably close to many people, especially since we are talking about such an extraordinary figure as the first prime-minister of independent Ukraine Volodymyr Vynnychenko.
“When we worked on the film we thoroughly selected the materials and tried to find something unknown. We started with Volodymyr Vynnychenko’s diaries and relied on them all the time. His peculiarity in this genre was the extreme frankness towards himself. That is why we could see his inner world, feel that intellectual aura that he had during his whole life. Working on the film we wanted to avoid the standard interpretation of Volodymyr Vynnychenko’s image.
“We also involved experts, specialists researching the specific facets of his talent, in particular Professor Hryhorii Hrabovych from Harvard University, Professor Volodymyr Panchenko from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, and Assistant Director of the Literature Institute at the National Ukrainian Academy of Sciences Serhii Halchenko. We also invited Yurii Shcherbak who is not only a writer of political essays and a diplomat, but also a politician. He played this role in the film. “This way we created a mosaic of Volodymyr Vynnychenko’s image.
“We were honest when working on the film.”