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Bristol students to premiere 'Voices of Ukraine' documentary

Two University of Bristol students, Jenny Barruol and Ella Lambert, will launch a new documentary Voices of Ukraine next Tuesday.

Jenny Barruol and Ella Lambert

By Eva Radhika Gurnani, News Editor

Two University of Bristol students, Jenny Barruol and Ella Lambert, will launch a new documentary Voices of Ukraine next Tuesday.

The film features interviews with nine Ukrainians, who share their individual accounts of the current conflict.

Some interviewees have fled from Mariupol, an area which recently suffered what has been described as genocide, while others are planning journeys back to their hometowns to reunite with loved ones.

As founder of the Pachamama Project, an NGO which makes and distributes reusable sanitary pads for refugees, Ella was keen to see how the project could provide aid to those displaced by the war. Earlier this year, she and Jenny visited refugee camps in Poland to coordinate this, and it was during this time that the idea for the film was born.

In conversation with Epigram, Ella recounted the documentary-making process.

'Back in February, when we heard about the beginning of the Ukraine war, I think it shocked everyone and it really affected me. A lot of us couldn’t switch off the news and I barely left my house that week.'

'Through Pachamama, we had so many of our volunteers contacting us asking how they could help.'

'With these situations, it’s just really difficult to know unless you go. I booked a trip for Easter to go with Jenny to do some distributions and media, and we ended up deciding to make a documentary.'

'We distributed sanitary products to 1000 people in the camps, and then saw the situation, which was just awful. We went out there to find out whether reusable pads could work in the camps in Poland, and found that 4000 people were sharing two washing machines and didn’t have anywhere to dry their stuff.'

'So, we set up a fund for disposable products and raised £7,000 with an organisation called Pads for Refugees.'

The Pachamama Project, in collaboration with another organisation on the ground in Poland, has since shipped 16,000 pads for 2,000 women in Ukraine.

When Epigram asks what the Voices of Ukraine aims to achieve, Ella states that she and Jenny want to give those n the camps 'the opportunity to tell their stories and their words'.

'We all read the headlines, but I think quite often we feel quite distant from the people behind them who are living these experiences.'

The premiere will be followed by a discussion with Iryna Zemlyana, an activist who is extremely well-known in Ukraine.

Zemlyana was living in Kiev the night before the war began, when she was notified by her contacts at CNN of what was about to occur. The following day, she received a call from the Ukranian government urging her to leave imminently, as she was on the second line of the Russian kill list.

The activist will speak to attendees of the premiere from hiding, giving invaluable insight and expertise on the war as a journalist and security specialist.

According to Ella, Zemlyana 'doesn’t know what has happened to her house and if it is still standing'. In this way, her talk will also come from a candid, personal perspective, relating her experience of going from a renowned public figure to a refugee.

This event is also a fundraiser for humanitarian relief, with part of the proceeds going to the Pachamama Project. The rest of funds raised will be split between the Institute of Mass Information, which supports Ukrainian journalism, and Eden Aid, which transports essential supplies and services to the Ukrainian border.

The premiere will take place on Tuesday 25 October at 6pm in Lecture Theatre BH.05 (in the new Humanities Building at the back of 7 Woodland Road).  Tickets cost £5 to attend in person or £3 to attend online and can be purchased here.

Tickets for the event can be found here