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The Limits of Waiting: New Documentary Tells Stories of Missing People in Ukraine

September, 27: The capital’s Ukrayina Cinema hosted the premiere screening of our new documentary “Mezha ochikuvannia” (or The limits of waiting) –  it tells stories of two families affected by the undeclared military aggression of the Russian Federation.

It was a full house. Over 150 journalists, human rights activists, and representatives of international organizations and foreign embassies came to watch the film on its first night.


The 40-minute film features the family of a Crimean activist who was abducted on the eve of the annexation of Crimea, and a mother from Lutsk, whose two sons, volunteers of the Aidar battalion, went missing at the beginning of the armed conflict in the Ukraine’s east.

Both stories reflect the fate of many other Ukrainian families who have lost their homes, loved ones, and a sense of security since the conflict erupted in Ukraine.

The film’s production has been supported by Internews as part of our grant from the US Embassy. The film’s producers are Sergiy Bibik (script), Stanislav Tsekhmistrenko (director) and Viktor Zavalnyuk (cameraman).

“It was quite difficult to find heroes for our film” – Tsekhmistrenko says – “Many of the people we approached first refused to re-live their trauma and heart-breaking memories. In addition, they simply were afraid of harming their loved ones who still remain in custody. That’s why we are extremely grateful to these two families for agreeing to share their stories”. 

Many viewers were left crying as the stories of true love towards the closest ones broke hearts. They also posed difficult questions as to what must be done to help those whose whereabouts remain unknown, but who remain hopeful about getting help.

“It’s no news to read about the violations of human rights on occupied territories – but, unfortunately, we know little about these”, Internews’ Director Wayne Sharpe said during the presentation. “That’s why we believe it’s very important to break the silence and share the true stories, no matter how painful they are.  We very much hope that our new film will not only show respect for those who lost their lives, but it will also help mobilize and seek solutions to save and protect many other people who are still alive”.

See more photos here.