Supported project


May 7, 2024

  • Director: Helena Maksyom
  • Scriptwriter: Helena Maksyom
  • Countries: Ukraine / Netherlands
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Country of shooting: Ukraine
  • Language: Ukrainian
  • Duration: 90 min


When Ukrainian filmmaker Helena Maksyom experiences the brutality of the Russian full-scale invasion firsthand, she feels she has no choice but to take up arms and join the military. During her first steps as a soldier, she keeps filming to not lose humanity while she watches her friends die or fight to keep their sanity.
Focusing on life just behind the frontline, Helena is both a witness and protagonist in a documentary that follows the transformation of average civilians into combat veterans. Amongst the pain, destruction and moral ambiguity, there are genuine moments of joy, love and human decency. She refuses to let go of her hope in humanity and deep down inside, she is also still a girl who wants to dance and be a mom.



Ukrainian producer
PE Jeanne Maksymenko-Dovhych

Jeanne Maksymenko-Dovhych

Producer from a contributing country
Een van de jongens (the Netherlands)

Renko Douze


European Solidarity Fund for Ukrainian Films – Date of the decision : May 7th 2024


    Helena Maksyom graduated with honors from The National Aviation University in
    Kyiv, master’s degree “Ecology and Environmental protection. She has worked as a
    journalist, translator, writer, project manager, cinematographer and film director.
    Her feature documentary debut as a director Everything will not be fine (2020)
    premiered in competition at IDFA and won several international awards.

    Helena has also worked on several short documentaries for Goethe Institut Ukraine
    and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. She is a graduate of EsoDoc 2021. She won of
    the HBO Max Award and Current Time TV Award at East Doc Platform Pitch 2023.
    Since the full scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, she has been
    volunteering near the front lines in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Chernihiv regions and since
    April 2022 has been an active-duty member of the Ukrainian National Guard
    serving as a combat medic in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions. Helena
    Maksyom is a recipient of the medal for military service to Ukraine and has been
    recently promoted to second lieutenant commanding an infantry platoon. While in
    the arme she has kept on filming for her new feature length documentary The
    Soldier’s Journey.


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