Film, video, theater, and audio about the Holodomor:
Here you will find a listing of feature length films dealing with aspects of the Holodomor; documentaries, and audio series that have been originally released in English. Direct access to video viewing is presented, if available. Also listed are a few Holodomor related works that have been created for the stage as theater or opera. For more extended descriptions of a few recent films, see the subject category: Holodomor films and documentaries on the News/Events pages on this website. For further information about releases in Ukraine, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University.
Feature films: historical drama
~ Mr. Jones (Motion picture : 2019), directed by Agnieszka Holland ; written by Andrea Chalupa. 114 min. Avail as DVD ; watch options. Cast: James Norton, Vanessa Kirby and Peter Sarsgaard.
A thriller drawn from the real life of a young Welsh diplomatic attache/turned reporter named Gareth Jones who takes a second investigative trip to the USSR in the winter of 1932-33. He encounters the hell of starvation during a stealthy visit to Ukraine; while in Moscow he faces the threats of a Kremlin intent on concealing its genocidal actions and the opportunistic NYT journalist, Walter Duranty who willingly parrots Stalin’s propaganda. Holds many a lesson on the challenges of seeing, upholding, and sharing the truth.
~ Bitter Harvest (Motion picture : 2017), directed by George Mendeluk; written by Richard Bachynsky-Hoover, et al. 103 min. Lionsgate. Avail as DVD ; watch options. Cast: Max Irons, Samantha Barks, Barry Pepper, Terence Stamp, and Tamar Hassan.
Set in 1930s Ukraine, the distributor writes: “this action-filled epic follows a young artist as he battles famine, imprisonment, and torture to save his childhood love and free his country.” It might be added that through the course of that action, this drama portrays the many aspects of genocide – beyond the deadly famine itself, that were directed at the people of Ukraine and their cultural, spiritual, social and intellectual existence. See also a review and more about Bitter Harvest on the NEWS/EVENTS pages of this website.
~ Holod – 33: Famine – 33, directed by Oles Yanchuk; originally released as a motion picture in 1991. Based on the novel Yellow Prince, by Ukrainian writer Vasyl Barka after immigrating to the US; looks at the Famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine through the experiences of a single family. Unsparing, graphic, particularly pt.3; not for younger viewers. With English subtitles: Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3.
Documentaries: Full length
~ Genocide Revealed, directed by Yurij Luhovy (additional credits: Zorianna Hrycenko, Adriana Luhovy, Istan Rozumny, Graham Greene, Jill Hennessy, and Lubomir Mykytiuk). 75 min. Quebec, MML Inc. 2011. Trailer and Review by historian and educator Cheryl Madden.
Engrossing feature length English language documentary on the 1932-1933 Famine Genocide in Soviet Ukraine. Utilizes the latest archival evidence, academic commentary and eyewitness accounts to affirm the Holodomor as genocide. Winner of 12 US and international awards. Also available in French and Ukrainian. Purchase DVD . Other viewing options. Also available: Genocide Revealed: Educational Release DVD, . 26 min. and 52 min. editions on a single DVD. Purchase this DVD. See HOLODOMOR RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS on this website for more info.
~ The Living (Ukr: “Zhyvi”), directed by Serhiy Bukovsky (additional credits: Victoria Bodnar and Mark Edwards), Ukraine, 2008. In Ukrainian with subtitles.
Skillfully weaves a dramatic real life narrative of the young Welsh journalist, Gareth Jones – who tried to alert the world in 1933 to the devastating famine he witnesses in Ukraine, with the recollections of several elderly Holodomor survivors. The faith and resilience of the “living” poignantly counterbalance the harrowing legacy of their past experience. An outstanding, award-winning documentary. Bukovsky previously directed Spell Your Name, about the Holocaust in Ukraine.
~ Harvest of Despair: the 1932-33 Man-made Famine in Ukraine; directed by Slavko Nowytski; additional credits: Yurij Luhovy and Peter Blow); originally released 1984. Toronto, The Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre (UCRDC). 56 min. Linked here to the best quality youTube version.
Powerful award-winner and first feature length documentary on the topic, and still the best overall presentation on the history of and reaction to the Famine in world context. Note that some of the still photos and video clips are from the widely documented 1920s famine because visual as well as written documentation was strictly forbidden during the Holodomor. Summary about the film, its directors and awards available on the UCRDC website. Final film script.
~ Soviet Story, directed by Edvins Snore. 2008.
Begins with the 1932-33 Famine Genocide, as the film dramatically portrays Stalin’s murderous regime, its early complicity with the Nazis, and the impact of this legacy today. Not for younger viewers. Check online for other purchase and access options.
~ Holodomor. Cookie, an animated film created and directed by Olena Maksymova, with a Ukrainian traditional lullaby and music by Andrew Caden. 6 min. latest release 2021.
Based on the “story of my grandmother as a young child about the day when she lost her mom” says the film’s director, and “their love and empathy toward each other during very difficult times.”
~ Covering the Holodomor: Memory Eternal; by Jeremy Maron. Canadian Museum for Human Rights. . 13 min. free online video.
Brief documentary subtitled: “Misinformation and deception play a crucial role in mass atrocities such as the Holodomor.”
~ Holodomor: Voices of Survivors, by Ariadna Ochrymovych, Markian Radomskyj. Black Sea Media. 2015. 30 min.
Effectively interweaves an overall narrative with brief excerpts from the recollections of 25 Ukrainian Canadian survivors along with haunting illustrations and authentic Holodomor photographs (with a few 1920s photos, as acknowledged in the credits). A very good introduction to this subject. To purchase: email: email@example.com ; View free: Preview version (3 min.); Short version (9 min.)
~ In Memory of Konstantyn Bokan (English version). in cooperation with the Ucrainica Research Institute. 2013. 9:25 min.
In this brief YouTube video, the author constructs a vignette based on an extremely rare discovery of family photos taken by an amateur photographer during the Holodomor. The result is a glimpse into the life of a real family during the Holodomor through the eyes of one of the teenaged sons. Supplemented by many other photographs of the period, it provides a composite of the experiences related by hundreds of survivors. (See also: The Nikolai Bokan collection, in the Holodomor Photo Directory.)
~ Stalin’s Secret Genocide, written and directed by Andrea Chalupa. Produced by the Canada-Ukraine FOundation and the Holodomor National Awareness Tour. 2017. 16 min.
“A documentary video introducing the story of the Holodomor and its cover-up by the Soviet Regime of 1932 – 1933 as told by seven leading historians, Anne Applebaum, Andrea Graziosi, Alexander Motyl, Norman Naimark, Serhii Plokhy, Timothy Snyder, and Frank Sysyn.” Purchase.
~ Ukrainer series on the Holodomor. Created in cooperation with the Ukrainian Holodomor Museum, with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Fund.
Articles with embedded videos varying in length from 10-20 min. The accompanying text is interspersed with authentic photos, illustrations, and images of original “primary” documents, as well as brief clips of commentaries from historians and other experts. Half of the series consists of survivor interviews, which are listed with SURVIVOR ACCOUNTS AND MEMOIRS on this website.
~~“What is the Holodomor?” Oct 28, 2020.
Article focuses on collectivization and the difficulty of obtaining appropriate statistics.
~~“Common Lies about the Holodomor” Nov 1, 2020.
~~“How Does the Holodomor Influence Ukraine Today” Nov 2, 2020.
Basis of post-genocidal traits of the descendents of the survivors discussed.
~~“The World on the Holodomor: Tragedy in a Global Context” Nov 9, 2020.
On propaganda and varieties of media and world reaction.
~ When We Starve, directed by Borys Buniak, MD. 2018. 15 min.
“This short documentary sheds some light on the psychologic, physiologic and religious effects of starvation on a population.” Uniquely and effectively describes the processes and consequences of forced, genocidal starvation in our contemporary context of plenty. Vimeo.
Theater and Opera
~ Children of the Dnipro (drama for the theater) and “Holodomor“ (short documentary), by Rhode Island playwright, director and theater educator David Eliet. Children of the Dnipro (as performed in 2008) is an exceptionally effective presentation on the real life impact of the famine, handled with intelligence, grace and humanity. Author contact: https://sites.google.com/site/davideliet
~ The Grain Store; drama for the theater by Natal’ia Vorozhbit; performed by Great Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company in 2009.
“A grim subject, but this extraordinary play by Natal’ia Vorozhbit tackles it, in Sasha Dugdale’s translation, with passion, intelligence and cunning.” The full review by Michael Billington, appeared in the Guardian, September 29, 2009.
~ Holodomor (opera), by Virko Baley; libretto by Bohdan Boychuk (based on his play Holod/Hunger—Fated to Love). Premiered at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on January 26, 2013 and performed in concert version at John Jay College in in New York on February 5, 2013. One act opera. A thoughtful summary and review by Susan Broday is available in the American Record Guide. May/Jun2013, Vol. 76 Issue 3, p22-23.
~ Holodomor: Murder by Starvation (one act play), written and performed by Fr. Edward Danylo Evanko. Former star of opera and Broadway, Fr. Evanko was ordained a Ukrainian Catholic priest in 2005.