Writer & Director: Ostap Kostyuk
A four-year-long project documenting three generations of Ukrainian Carpathian shepherds in their struggle to keep the age-old trade alive in the face of contemporary changes.
The film follows three men of different generations living in the Ukrainian Carpathians: Ivan is an 82-year-old retired shepherd who lives a lonely life, having recently buried his wife. At the same time, nine-year-old Ivanko is just beginning his life and studying at the county boarding school, while 39-year-old Vasyl is raising young lambs on his farm. But when spring comes, all three men will head for the mountains following the shepherd’s calling that is becoming ever more difficult to sustain in the contemporary world.
The title - “living fire” - is the name that highland shepherds give to their central campfire—a protective fire whose flame must remain lit for the entire four-month herding season. The age-old ritual of lighting the “living fire” was maintained in the Hutsul region until the middle of the 20th century.
It is a film about pitiless daily labor that knows no weekends, a harmonious world that we’ve lost in our search for comfort, and the childhood that is left behind when one takes on the role of an adult…
Still from The Living Fire
Rights Now! Events from Docudays UA
1. Guardians of peace and humanity: Are international institutions still effective?
Since the beginning of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine in 2014, the UN has been one of the key platforms to discuss human rights violations in the temporarily occupied territories of Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Because the United Nations were established to maintain peace and security in the world.
On 24 February 2022, the Russian Federation launched a full-scale invasion and started a war in Ukraine. We have all witnessed shelling and bombing of civilians, of a maternity hospital, children’s hospitals and other civilian infrastructure, robberies, physical violence and many other absolutely ruthless and inhuman acts which constitute military crimes and violate the laws and rules of warfare.
Ukrainian non-governmental and governmental organizations have started documenting Russian crimes and continue to collect evidence. The first investigations into Russia’s military crimes have already started thanks to a number of international organizations. When and under what circumstances will Ukraine get a chance to punish the perpetrators? And is it possible to really hold the Russian military and political leadership accountable? The question of the effective functioning of international institutions, especially in the circumstances of Russia’s war against Ukraine, is getting ever more urgent. Because more and more evil is going unpunished.
Are international institutions still active when a permanent member state of the UN Security Council which has the right to veto decisions commits actions which contradict the Charter and the key principles of the UN? How many more people have to die and how many countries have to be affected to convince the leaders to change the existing state of affairs?
We plan to invite Mykola Hnatovsky, a member of the Expert Advisory Board of the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine (since December 2021), the International Expert Council on Crimes Committed during an Armed Conflict, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (since August 2021), and the Interdepartmental Commission for the Application and Implementation of the Norms of the International Humanitarian Law in Ukraine (since 2015).
2.Russia’s nuclear terrorism: What kind of threat does the seizure of nuclear power plants pose to the world?
Russian troops seized the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant soon after the invasion began. Later, the Russian invaders shelled the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant. As of now, both Chornobyl and Zaporizhia NPPs are controlled by the Russian military. The employees of both stations are held hostage. It is not clear whether they are able to do their jobs properly and monitor the radiation levels.
Russia’s actions at the Chornobyl and Zaporizhia NPPs led the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine to register a number of criminal cases with charges of “ecocide.” In addition, Ukraine is asking IAEA to appeal to NATO with a request to close access to the airspace above its nuclear facilities.
While international organizations are monitoring and expressing “concern,” the issue of international nuclear security is hanging in the air. What are the threats posed by the seizure of the Chornobyl and Zaporizhia NPPs? Are there any international mechanisms to prevent such situations? What kind of damage has already been caused to the environment of Ukraine and the neighboring countries as a result of Russia’s criminal actions? Is there a need to strengthen the international mechanisms of the security of nuclear facilities and facilities with high environmental risks?
We plan to invite Oleksandr Stepanenko, an environmentalist, the executive director of the environmental NGO Green World, and a member of the Board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHRRU) between 2006 and 2013.
A call to the audience who are going to watch our events:
The actions of Russia as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, its blatant violations of the Charter and principles of the UN make us question the effectiveness of international institutions. International mechanisms have to be reconsidered! Appeal to your governments and demand to close the sky above Ukraine!
A call to the audience who are going to watch our events:
Russia, which is a member of the UN Security Council and IAEA but does not fulfill its commitments, must be expelled. International mechanisms have to be reconsidered.
Appeal to your governments and demand to close the sky above Ukraine!
Event format: Engaging an expert via online platforms (Zoom, Skype, etc.) to have a conversation with them within the topic in question. Length: 30-45 min.