A private screening has been arranged in Toronto on December 8. There has been interest in several other showings in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario. Stay tuned.
Toronto: September 12, 16 & 17
Tuesday, September 12 was the premiere screening of our documentary. The film was shown in the beautiful Spadina Theatre at Alliance Française on Spadina Road in Toronto. About 125 people attended and we received a (blush) tremendous reception. The standing ovation, and reviews people have sent us (see below) have been wonderful and moving. The film obviously reached people, either through its story, Bill’s life, and/or evoking people’s memories of Bill, of Sudbury, or of similar stories in their own lives.
After the film, we held a reception in the Alliance’s Gallery, catered (food & service donated) by our favourite restaurant, Bloom in Bloor West Village, and its sister restaurant, Focaccia. A great time, and we are VERY appreciative of Bloom. Always great food & great service!
We had two additional showings at the Bloor West Village Toronto Ukrainian Festival, screened in the newly renovated Runnymede Library. Saturday about 50 people came (standing room only), and about half that number on Sunday.
More photos from Toronto at bottom of page.
Edmonton, October 27
In 1988, Bill & Anna established the Kuryliw Family Research Assistantship in Honour of Ivan Franko at what is now the Kule Folklore Centre at the University of Alberta, so we were really happy to show the film in Edmonton on October 27 at the St. John’s Institute.
Sudbury, November 11,12
Bill lived in, loved, and contributed to the city of Sudbury for almost 70 years. When he and Anna moved to Toronto in 1995, members of Sudbury Regional Council gave him a tribute (some of which is in the film.) At that meeting, Bill said goodbye to his beloved city. In the short clip below, he said, “If you will celebrate something, please write to me in Toronto, and I will come to show my heart that Sudbury is worth it to stay.”
He never was able to return, so taking this film – and his story – to Sudbury was one of our priorities.
We showed the film at two venues: on Saturday, at the first Junction North International Documentary Film Festival. and Sunday at the Ukrainian Seniors’ Centre. Following the Saturday showing, former Sudbury Mayor, Councillor & MPP Jim Gordon (featured in the film & trailer) spoke extensively about Bill’s contributions.
The reviews are in!
In all immodesty, we wanted to share a few of the many wonderful comments we’ve received. (As well, at the bottom of the page, we’ve printed one lengthier and emotional response to seeing Bill captured on film.)
- A fantastic movie. I say this as a movie man who has seen thousands of similar films, in particular, at the Molodist Film Festival [Kyiv], which I have visited annually for almost 20 years. I think that this film must be submitted to the festival administration.
- I cannot begin to tell you what impact your documentary had on me. I can’t get it out of my mind.
- Can’t find the words of praise I would like to heap upon both your heads. The film was a joy to experience.
- There are no words that can adequately express my heartfelt gratitude for the extraordinary celebration on Tuesday night! Thank you for blessing my life with your journey… a journey that has hugely inspired and empowered me!
Funny, touching and heartwarming.
- Not a dry eye in the house Well done!
- What a beautiful tribute…A history of a family but also a history of an individual who created and enriched a number of communities.
- Immigrant stories are so powerful, and it’s obvious that Bill’s was quite a unique voice. What shone through was how much he was loved by all who knew him.
- It was a pleasure to learn about his unique presence, love of Franko poems and all things Ukrainian. His dedication to “the Cause” was very worth recording in film and narrative for not only his grandchildren, but for all generations of Ukrainians. He set a high standard for a life worth living and for exemplary citizenship.
- A beautifully sensitive film.
- The poetry: both the story of the place it took in your father’s heart and the interlacing of verses throughout the film…. One has to admit that your subject was no ordinary guy.
- What a beautiful tribute to your Wasyl and by extension to all the other Ukrainian (and non-Ukrainian) immigrant who came as he did with nothing and went on to build their communities and thereby enrich the whole country.
A personal response
We were very moved by this note sent by a former Sudbury resident, who knew Bill well while growing up:
Dear Oksana and John:
Just a short note to offer my congratulations on a truly “Magical Evening”.
Oksana, you captured your Father in such a beautiful way. When your film reached the part that showed his picture with that whack of white hair and that colourful wide tie, I was transformed back to another time!
Suddenly, I was a young boy on a Sunday afternoon at Richard Lake at “Camp Zaporizhya”. I can still see your Dad coming over the hill behind the washroom building on the hill. That bronzed skin, huge smile, white
hair and a basket full of blueberries in each hand. Barefoot but so happy!! He’d walk down to the white house, find your Mother, chat, leave his blueberries with her and then off to the lake for that famous European side stroke. That memory is embedded in me! What a wonderful caring, kind, nice man.
I am so pleased to have known him and was able to call him my friend.
Also I’d like to say that your Mother was a gem! Did not say a lot, but worked as hard as anyone I knew. Behind every good man is an extra ordinary woman.
Oksana, the magic continued as the evening wore on. Again, “Thank You.”
People I haven’t seen in 20, 30, 40 years! What a gift.
I spoke to [name] yesterday and told her how at home and how warm your evening made me feel. Thank you for the wonderful reunion.
Finally, Oksana your film will in 50, 100 or even 200 years from today be viewed by great-great-great grandchildren. Maybe his story will inspire just one (but maybe more) people to read “Ivan Franko’s” works and discover this Ukrainian Icon, and in that small way, “you” through your work will have kept your parents legacy alive!
With my respect and affection.