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.)

Heading into the
Toronto premiere

    • 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!
    • “Raise your hands if
      if you’re from Sudbury”

      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.
    • It made me rethink the meaning of the word “success”.
    • Wasyl Kuryliw was a fascinating character, larger than life, and this film provides an affectionate, and sometimes humorous look at many facets of his personality – as a Ukrainian Canadian, as an entrepreneur, as a Sudbury patriot, as a family man, as an expressive and passionate soul.
      – Andriy Nahachewsky, former Director, Kule Foklore Centre
    • This film is truly of epic proportions, epitomizing the social and economic challenges faced by the second wave of Ukrainian immigrants who settled in Canada’s urban centers during the years between the two World Wars.
      – Yuri Shymko, former MP & MPP

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:

At Inco “Pensioner Days”

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

At Camp Zaporizhya

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.”

Bill’s side stroke

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.