“Fragments of Ice” wins four awards at Docudays UA

Jun 19, 2024

The 21st edition of the international human rights documentary film festival Docudays UA was held in Kyiv from May 29th to June 9th, 2024. Among the winners of the competition was “Fragments of Ice” by Maria Stoianova, supported by ESFUF in December 2023.

With her film, Maria Stoianova explores the years 1986-1994 through her family’s VHS archive. Her father, a skater from the Ukrainian Ballet on Ice Ensemble, owned a video camera and filmed his family and his tours out of his country, providing a rare testimony on this period.

The film, which combines the personal story of a family and the evolution of Ukrainian society as a whole, received the Special Mention of the international competition and the main prize the Ukrainian competition, the Students’ Jury and the Union of the Ukrainian Film Critics’ Jury.

“Fragments of Ice” is co-produced by Ukrainian company Tabor and Norwegian company Indie Film.

Ukrainian producer Alina Gorlova, who produces the film together with Maksym Nakonechnyi, discussed the film’s creation and production process as well as its perspectives for meeting its audience, in Ukraine and abroad.

Maria Stoianova began conceptualizing the film some time ago, when she rediscovered the video material her father had filmed at the time of her childhood, coinciding with the period of the USSR collapse.


Director Maria Stoianova with her parents, who are also protagonists of the film.

Tabor then joined the project in 2019 and launched the production process. The producers immediately saw the potential of working only with family archives. Alina Gorlova explains: “it allows us to tell the story of the past from a unique personal perspective” especially at a time “when owning a camera was a luxury”.

This archive material also allows the filmmaker to “analyze historical events not through the lens of Soviet propaganda but through her personal family archives, which is a significant treasure”.

Indie Film had a first successful collaboration with Tabor on a previous film. They therefore decided to propose to join the project, which Karianne Berge, producer at Indie Film particularly liked.

The involvement of Indie Film, during the final stages of the film, “ultimately made the project come to fruition”. The co-production also enabled the project to apply, with success, to ESFUF finalisation support.

As Gorlova points out : “working with family archives also presents challenges. One inconvenience is the need to clear music rights. Family archives often include incidental music whose rights may be very expensive. Despite this challenge, including such music enhances the film by capturing the authentic spirit of the times portrayed in the archives.”

Producer Maksym Nakonechnyi with editor Maryna Maykovska at Docudays

 The production process of “Fragments of Ice” was quite long, and during this period the team has engaged in industry activities across many festivals: Gorlova states the intention is now to “return to these events with a completed film” and, after the film’s success at Docudays, “to premiere at major festivals in the countries featured in the film”.

After festival circulation, the producers plan to “distribute the film in the countries featured in the documentary”, among which Canada, Ukraine and Norway, where theatrical distribution is confirmed. The producers are handling sales themselves, establishing direct contacts with distributors in targeted countries.

The team aims to reach a wide socially engaged public, the film hopes to initiate a dialogue across generations.