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Land of Dilemmas Fundraiser
Hosted by Larysa Kurylas and Steven Lann
Kensington, MD - April 3, 2009

Larysa Kurylas and Steven Lann were gracious to host a fundraising event for the Land of Dilemmas film project at their home in Kensington, MD in early April.

Filmmakers of Land of Dilemmas, Olha Onyshko and Sarah Farhat, found it to be very fun, informative and fruitful.  They screened a 20-minute segment that they have edited so far as well as the film trailer.  They also held a Q&A discussion afterwards.

More than 25 people attended and the event raised nearly $2,000!

Land of Dilemmas Fundraiser

Fundraising events like this one are beneficial in two ways.  First, the funds raised help the filmmakers in outsourcing some of the work and thereby it allows them to move faster with editing.  Secondly, the discussion held after this private screening allows Olha and Sarah to see how the audience is responding to their created work and helps to determine which themes are resonating better than others.  This enables the audience to become active participants in creating the film.    

The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation thanks Larysa Kurylas and Steven Lann for their hospitality and all those who attended and supported the Land of Dilemmas Project!

Film Project Follow-up:  Over the past several months, Sarah and Olha have been working non-stop on editing the film.  Plus, they have also “gone public” with several screenings and events.

The filmmakers have been holding presentations at the Foreign Service Institute for the officers in training for their future posts in Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States.  The film is being used as a discussion and educational piece! 

Land of Dilemmas

In mid-March they participated in a screening of Docs-in-Progress.  This is an organization that helps documentary filmmakers by organizing screenings of incomplete works so that the audience’s feedback helps to shape the film.  More than 50 people were present at the screening when they showed a 15-minute clip that deals with the Ukrainian-Polish relations.

We will keep you posted with updates! 



The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation is the official sponsor of the Land of Dilemmas Film Project.
The filmmakers, Olha Onyshko & Sarah Farhat, are both MFA candidates at American University’s School of Communcations in Washington, DC (see bios below).

Land of Dilemmas is a feature length documentary focusing on four heroic stories of World War II survivors from different ethnic and religious backgrounds: Polish, Jewish, Russian and Ukrainian.  The film seeks to capture the stories and lives of these ordinary individuals who did extraordinary things.   While there are somber moments in the film, the true aim of the documentary is teach lessons of hope and human understanding to its viewers.

Land of Dilemmas explores their choices and tries to understand why some people risked everything to save the lives not only of strangers, but also of members of an ethnic or religious group perceived to be their enemy.  The film provides hope to all by reminding the viewer that even under the worst circumstances, human beings are capable of compassion and understanding.  The survivors and those who helped them showed true kindness to neighbors and strangers alike regardless of race, ethnicity or religion.  The lessons provided through this film are vital for all to promote cultural understanding and prevent similar events in the future.

The goal of the film project is to build a community around the project as a first step towards reconciliation of Ukrainian, Polish and Jewish people who survived the horrors of war and hatred in the region only because of the compassion and courage of people who put humanity ahead of nationality, religion or ethnicity. 

From September 2008 to June 2009, the filmmakers will work on finishing this film.  They have already taken several trips to the region for research and they filmed in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Using some of the footage taken from the early trips, the filmmakers have already created an art installation which won best installation at the 2007 Visions Festival.  The same installation appeared in May-June 2008 at Artomatic, a month-long multimedia arts event in Washington, DC.

Your support is needed … for individuals and organizations, there are SIX WAYS YOU CAN HELP!

If you believe in the ideals we are trying to promote with this film. If you feel that those incredible stories should not be left unheard, please follow any of these suggestions:

DONATE: Make a tax-deductible donation to the US-Ukraine Foundation.  When making a donation, please put FILM PROJECT in the space that says NAME OF SPECIFIC PROGRAM.  You can also mail your check to the US-Ukraine Foundation at 1701 K Street NW, Suite 903• Washington, DC 20006, USA; specifically mentioning FILM PROJECT. Please include your name and address and a receipt will be mailed to you.

VOLUNTEER: Help to translate from Ukrainian, Russian or Polish into English one of the many incredible stories we have captured on tape.

ORGANIZE: Fundraise an event, party or reception to help generate the funds necessary to complete the movie.

REFER US: Refer us to individuals and organizations that might have the power and the financial means to back up this important endeavor.  We need additional organizational sponsors.

SHARE YOUR STORIES: Share with us your related stories or those of your family.

CONTACT US: We would love to hear your suggestions or comments E-mail: landofdilemmas@gmail.com

The Filmmakers:
Olha Onyshko has fifteen years of experience in broadcast journalism, communications, marketing and political campaigning. She has worked for non-profit organizations, political think tank, TV and Radio stations, corporations and international development agencies. Some of the past employers include Booz-Allen and Hamilton, McDonald’s, Voice of America, the World Bank, and USAID.

She is currently pursuing an MFA in Film and Electronic Media at American University in Washington DC. She has completed and worked on several documentary and narrative films. Her short documentary Where Do the Children Play won a Telly Award.

Sarah Farhat has been involved in filmmaking for the past six years. She has directed and produced five short films between documentary and fiction. Several of those films have been broadcasted on local and regional Arab Television networks.

She has also worked as a freelance editor and cinematographer on many independent projects. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Film and Electronic Media at American University in Washington DC where she was awarded a Hall of Nations Fellowship.

For more information, you can also visit the website www.landofdilemmas.org

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