Ukraine is a country close to my heart, it’s a country I have lived in that is home to family and close friends. My family have been directly affected by the invasion, friends have had to suffer through a brutal assault on a city i’ve come to love over the years. Ukraine stood up to the attack with a strength rooted in decades of Russian oppression. I’m committed to telling the story of people like you and I, who stood up in the face of staggering odds and fought for their freedom.
The Sky is Blue, The Fields are Yellow is a film project looking at the war in Ukraine; before, during, and eventually after. It is a story told through the eyes of 10 people with additional contributions from others we met along the way.
It’s stressful, tragic, darkly funny at times, real and most importantly, relatable at a human level.
At the start of February 2022, the world was talking war. I never believed a full-scale invasion would happen, and I believed the media was whipping up a terrifying storm of something too improbable to comprehend. So I ventured out to Kyiv. I sat down with ten people from various walks of life and asked them what they thought of the then-current situation and its potential to escalate.
Everything changed on the 24th of February when Russia launched their full-scale invasion. What was supposed to be a short video piece about inflammatory media rhetoric, turned into a far more important project. One that has and will continue to follow the lives and perspectives of ten principle people, as they experience events in their country now at war.
Since those first interviews before the war began, I have returned to Ukraine, most recently in late May, to start re-interviewing the people who have remained in Kyiv and meeting and interviewing other Ukrainians.
The Maidan, Kyiv
Inside a residential building in Irpin
Others have left, are in exile in Germany, or are planning to return. Seeing the changes that this war has made to lives is the focus; How Yana, apolitical when we first spoke, found her voice and identity as a Ukrainian, now speaking out passionately against the Russian aggression. Markiyan reported on the situation in Kyiv, for the Italian press, during the main assault on the city. Now he has joined the army and is training to fight. Artyom, who spoke about his father in the army and the need to fight if the time came, tried to join local fighters under shell and rocket fire as Russians tried to take Kyiv.
We are currently failing to watch and attest to history as it unfolds - events that will have lasting effects on us all, whether we know it or not. The situation, as felt by those in Ukraine, rarely reaches the front pages anymore.
This film is an on-the-ground perspective and testament to the most critical conflict of our time - a relatable and human perspective that puts people first.
This project has two main deliverables;
1. A short film about the before and during stages, 90% of which is already shot. The preliminary delivery date for the short film is March 2023.
2. A feature-length documentary covering all three stages; before, during and after the war. Following up with the original 10 people when the war has come to an end and also looking at the aftermath around Ukraine
Next Steps, what will we do with the funds raised?
So far this project has been entirely self funded, money raised for this project will go towards the following;
Translation - We will get the interviews conducted in Ukrainian and Russian translated and transcribed into English. Once I have all the transcripts, I can build the narrative before the rushes are sent to the editor.
Post Production (Short film) - We will be putting money towards a Ukrainian editor to work on the short film and pay for a sound mix and colour grade.
Music - I’m in the process of sourcing Kyiv-based musicians to contribute to a soundtrack for the film. On my last night in Kyiv in June, I came across Dima, a career musician my friends and I found playing the piano, outside, to the backing track of air raid sirens. We plan to record some music with him on my return to Kyiv.
Travel & Production - Masha, one of the ten characters, left Ukraine for Berlin in the first
days of the invasion. I intend to travel to Berlin to conduct a follow-up interview with her.
I will also be returning to Ukraine at the end of October to record
music, conduct follow-up interviews with all interviewees and interview potential editors.
Further trips to Ukraine will be carried out over winter and into the new year.
The team at Fomo support this project and very kindly donated a camera kit for us to use on our most recent trip out to Ukraine.
Sam and Jamie have our immense gratitude for making sure we had everything we needed to film.
Coffee & TV
Coffee & TV is supporting the project in the post-production stage. We’re incredibly fortunate to have Tash Hicks on board to colour grade the final films. Her work is incredible, examples of which can be seen in the promo video for this project and pcitured below.