For years, Asha Bukojemsky wanted to present cinema art from Ukraine in Southern California. The local independent curator has family roots there. From a distance, she watched Ukrainian filmmakers win European awards and developed plans for making their work better known in the United States. After Russia's invasion, Bukojemsky's ideas gained traction and she was able to put together funds to create a residency. The program is called Kyiv-to-LA. Over a period of six months, filmmakers and an art historian are traveling from Ukraine to Los Angeles, where they have living and work spaces, as well as opportunities to show their creations and connect with LA artists. "For some, it is simply to rest and research," Bukojemsky says. "For others, it's to do editing that they haven't been able to do because of the environment of war."
At the recent kick-off at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, more than 180 people showed up for a potluck and a table next to exhibition catalogs and postcards bent under Ukrainian and Californian specialties: pirogi and borscht next to vegan cookies and avocado toast.
The screening showed three short films by Yarema Malashchuck and Roman Khimei, two artists from Kyiv. After the screening, Malashchuck patiently answered every question. "This is now my duty as a Ukrainian culture worker," he says. "It's so far away from Kyiv, which means that people don't really understand. This is a good chance to spread the word and spread some Ukrainian art."