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Christina Tynkevych, director

“I was born in Kyiv, and I lived in different spots of Sviatoshyno district all my childhood. I left Kyiv and lived in London for six years in my youth. I studied film production. And after that, I had been living in Paris for a year and was engaged in arthouse film distribution.

My grandparents were the ordinary representatives of the Soviet intelligentsia. They were engineers, military representatives. My parents met at the institute of the national economy “Narhosp,” all my relatives lived in ordinary buildings of the 70th. I am not from a creative family, and I never let myself even think about the creative profession. After school, I entered the international relations faculty as I really loved history and politics. I knew languages well. But after a year of studying, it felt like a continuation of school and just wasting time on lectures. My romantic image of a Ukrainian diplomatist crashed due to the reality of bureaucracy, and I understood that I didn’t want to make it my life’s work.

When I was a teenager, I started taking photos and making videos and felts that it is something I want to connect my life with.

I am grateful to my parents that they didn’t make me finish university and advised me to know the value of time. When I was a sophomore, I left international relations and entered the University of the Arts in London (and then Westminster university) to study film production. In the beginning, I really liked the short form, and I saw myself in advertising, but in university, I met a mentor who showed me the world of documentary. It was Joram ten Brink (documentary director and producer, well-known for the movie “The Act of Killing”). Thanks to him, I took my first steps in the direction of a documentary that brought me to films based on games afterward. This year I am finishing postproduction of my future-length artistic debut “How’s Katia?”

Now I live in Olimpiyska. I feel comfortable in the city center. I lived a few years at Rusanivka (Kyiv residential area located on the left bank of the city), which I really love. Contrastively to other districts of Kyiv, this place has consistent building development with no random buildings. In addition, it is an island separated by the channel, kind of a microworld.

I returned because I want to make movies in Ukraine and about Ukraine. Staying abroad, I would have to tell stories about unfamiliar for me people.

When you create a character, you should understand the mentality and feel cultural subtlety in details and nuances. And we have a colossal number of untold stories. Our industry is only at the beginning of its way, and creating films here, you feel involved in an important process. I need to stay in the country, be inside the industry, apply for financing.

The movie I am finishing now is a social drama. Muddling in it for three years, I felt a big impulse to shoot an easy film…The general condition of Kyiv after the quarantine year seems to me rather fallen, and I would really want to create an atmosphere of a very cozy city, a cinematographic and romantic city. Where young people live, love, create.

I like observing people from the window. Who is this person, where did this person come from, and where is this person going? Inside any megalopolis, you can build many different lives and bubbles and create your microworld and communication structure. We live in one space, but they may be very different.

The city may be different. It depends on inner self-perception.

Of course, the image of clogging irritates me the same as it irritates others, but I found myself thinking that it is a kind of Kyiv's nature that we cannot escape from. Foreigners who come here don’t even take it as ugliness but a trait. The USSR period contributed to the destruction of Ukrainian culture and becoming an independent county. We had to recreate this culture. We replicate many things and try to do it “…just like…”. But I think that it is a temporary period. Just like in art, you come to your style through following, so I try to look at everything from a new side for me and try to love it somehow. Everything we have is to accept the city with all flaws as it is also a living organization.

Kyiv is a home for me that you don’t choose. There is a flat where you grew and a flat that you build for yourself. Thus, Kyiv is the first option. The family flat is filled with memories and coziness, but a tap in the bathroom is leaking, and you don’t like wallpapers in your bedroom.

I was raised in an independent Ukraine when I was a child. I was at Orange Revolution with my parents. I was born at the beginning of the 90th and matured together with the country. The nature of patriotism, love for the homeland, national identification always interested me. Experiencing life outside of Ukraine, all these questions accumulate only more because of immigration, and you lose a feeling of home. You move, change, and you can’t feel accepted. And living in different places and cities you absorb elements of an unfamiliar culture and, accordingly, you become a stranger in your country.

I have two documentary movies that I try to hunt down what is homeland and nationality in the 21st century and a modern globalized world, firstly for myself. As a result, I concluded that I don’t owe my country anything for being born here.

But I owe this country for living here. Nowadays, when world boundaries are very conditional, everyone can choose where to live. But when selecting the place you feel comfortable at, you should care about it, love it and be responsible for it.”

Christina Tynkevych, director.


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