Invisible Battalion + Q&A
Invisible Battalion consists of six stories of servicewomen told by three Ukrainian film directors: Iryna Tsilyk, Svitlana Lischynska and Alina Gorlova. The film’s protagonists are different by their life experience, age, military and civil professions, but all of them united by this war.
In 2016 a sociological survey on the war revealed a number of problems: Ukrainian legislation didn’t allow women to be assigned to combat positions, so they were enlisted as cooks, seamstresses, cleaners, accountants etc. while taking part in military combat operations as snipers, grenade launcher operators, reconnaissance soldiers, artillerists etc. This was done on semi-legal grounds. Thus, the majority of women who were at Donbas war were not enlisted officially and subsequently had no access to social or military benefits, military awards, social status, or career opportunities in the Armed Forces. The contribution of women to the defence of the country was and still is invisible to society. A powerful advocacy campaign for gender equality in the Armed Forces of Ukraine was initiated and thus the film was born.
Run Time: 1 hr 29 mins
Lucy Ash is an awarding-winning broadcast journalist with more than 20 years’ experience as a BBC correspondent, presenter and senior producer. Her most recent work includes Ukraine’s Frontline Bakery, a radio documentary and film about a new bakery in the town of Marinka, in Eastern Ukraine which is bringing some comfort and sustenance to local people amidst the trauma of war. (Radio 4 , World Service and BBC World TV) and The Red and the White, a three part radio series on the Allied Intervention in North Russia at the end of WW1 and a half hour film (BBC World Service and BBC Russian)
Maria Berlinska (producer) is a founder of the Ukrainian Centre for Aerial Reconnaissance in Kyiv and has been volunteering for the Ukrainian Army since the start of the conflict (both by flying drones at the frontline and training others to operate drones in Kyiv). In addition, Maria set up an Institute for Gender Programmes and initiated a sociological study about women who serve in the ongoing war (you can find their report here: http://www.uwf.org.ua/
Olesya Khromeychuk teaches Modern European History at King’s College London and researches the participation and representation of women in military formations during the Second World War and in the ongoing conflict in the Donbas region of Ukraine. She is the author of ‘Undetermined’ Ukrainians. Post-War Narratives of the Waffen SS ‘Galicia’ Division (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2013)