Calling Ukraine
Jean Counet

Thursday Jul 21, 2016

The Roof of Trilok Fusion Center for the Arts
Clinton Hill
143 Waverly Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11205
G to Clinton/Washington

8:00PMDoors Open and reception sponsored by Stella Artois
8:30PMLive Music by Adesuwa
9:00PMFilms Begin
10:30PMQ&A with filmmakers


This Show Presented in Partnership With
Dutch Culture USA
International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)
Stella Artois

Calling Ukraine (Jean Counet | Netherlands | 12 min.)

Official Link:

A Skype conversation really brings home the daily struggles of a family living in war-torn eastern Ukraine. An elderly woman in Latvia calls her sister and daughter, who are trying to live normal lives while bombs explode in the background and electricity is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity. The video conversation is intercut with recent footage of residential areas that have been shot to pieces, and photos from a family album that speak of better times and crushed dreams. The sisters share memories of the Christmas cards they sent to one another in the Soviet era. “We wished each other happiness, love and a peaceful sky over our heads. Those words sounded so trivial then, now we’re really beginning to understand their meaning. Having a peaceful sky over your head is so important.” This is the kind of detail that makes war almost tangible. The sister talks about dogs whining so loudly that they start howling, about the paycheck from which “army tax” has been deducted, about grandchildren with nightmares that should be beyond their years, and about a rocket passing overhead while she's on her way to work. The agitated voice of the woman in Ukraine betrays her constant anxiety; her sister on the other end of the line is visibly powerless as she looks for words among the growing despair – a despair that touches us as well.


Dutch director, cinematographer, and photographer Jean Counet has already filmed and directed in many different countries, from his home in the Netherlands to Latvia to Taiwan. He is known for his minimalistic style and precise camera work. To date he has directed short and medium-length films, such as his documentary look inside a Latvian hospital Inhale Exhale (2011), Trulichka (2005) and La-bas (2003)

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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