War Mothers: Unbreakable, the second short documentary in the War Mothers project by Australian filmmakers Stefan Bugryn and Steven Zelko, has been accepted into the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
War Mothers: Unbreakable follows 18 year old Yana Zinkewych who, when war came to her country Ukraine in 2014, created a local chapter of an ancient order of battle medics to assist the sick and injured soldiers returning to from the front to little or no care.
Three years into the conflict, her organisation grew from a handful of dedicated followers, to a battalion of veterans, but early one frosty winter’s morning Yana’s life and work came to a crashing halt as she found herself lying in a ditch, the remnants of her car resting on top of her.
This instalment of the series follows on from an initial film (War Mothers) that won Best Short and Best Director: Short at the 2018 Melbourne Documentary Film Festival.
Director Stefan Bugryn, compelled by his Ukrainian heritage, left his job sitting behind a desk in Australia in 2016 to travel to the frontlines of Eastern Ukraine, where, over a few months, he lived with the volunteers and mothers caught up in the fighting. The first instalment focuses on three Ukrainian women as they struggle with the tragedies the war has brought them.
The second instalment continues the theme of how war affects motherhood, with a singular focus on Yana’s extraordinary story of resilience, dealing not only with the ongoing war in her country, but the life-changing events of her accident.
“When I came across Yana Zinkewych’s story, I was awestruck, as if the words I read could not be true. How could all of this have happened in the life of a 18 year old girl?” Stefan says.
“But it really did; the unbelievable was actually true. Yana did change the war in Ukraine with her paramedic battalion, despite her inexperience, and saved over 200 lives, before the accident even happened.”
You can keep up to date the War Mothers: Unbreakable screening here.