David Lean Cinema to stage Ukrainian emergency fund-raiser

There is a special charity preview of Olga at the David Lean Cinema tomorrow evening, the result of a partnership between 606 Distribution and the BFI, with the support of the UK Cinema Association.

With each ticket sold, a donation will be made to DEC, the Disasters Emergency Committee, to support refugees from Ukraine, to save, protect and rebuild lives.

More than 5million people have fled Ukraine since the invasion by Russia, leaving behind jobs, belongings and loved ones. Homes have been destroyed or are unsafe to live in. Critical infrastructure such as health facilities, water supplies and schools have also been damaged or destroyed.

At Ukraine’s borders with Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova, huge numbers of people are arriving with only what they can carry. In many places there are long waits to cross and limited facilities waiting for them on the other side.

In the film, Olga is an aspiring gymnast (played by real-life Ukrainian gymnast Anastasia Budiashkina) exiled in Switzerland who dreams of Olympic gold. She feels isolated away from her family, but channels her energies into training.

When her mother joins a protest movement, she becomes increasingly worried and when the Swiss team competes against the Russians and Ukrainians in the European championships, her anxieties come to a head.

Olga won a writing award last year at the Cannes Film Festival and we are thrilled to show it at the David Lean Cinema to support families and displaced people in Ukraine,” said David Lavelli, the cinema’s publicity manager.

“The film will be shown in French and Ukrainian with English subtitles and we encourage everyone to see it while they can.”

Although Ukraine gained independence in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country has spent the following 30 years undecided whether its future lies eastwards, or westwards.

When in 2013, the then President Victor Yanukovych did not sign the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement and instead pursued closer ties with Russia, uprisings broke out on the streets of Kyiv and Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square). It is this uprising that forms the backdrop to Olga.

Donations to the DEC to help families in Ukraine can only be made when buying tickets on http://www.davidleancinema.org.uk/event/olga and no donations will be accepted in person.

Customers can add a donation on the ticket number selection page on the website.

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