Director: Katya Soldak
Category: History, Politics, Sociopolitical, Personal POV, Russia, Ukraine

Production: Katya Soldak: Ante Media, Inc. / U.S.A. 2020
Language: Ukrainian, Russian, English.

Subtitles: English
Length: 85 minutes

Ukrainian-American journalist Katya Soldak, of Forbes Magazine, now living in New York City, tells the story of Ukraine, her country of origin, as it exits the USSR, works through two revolutions, and endures a war with Russia—all through the eyes of her family and friends in Kharkiv, a large Ukrainian city just 18 miles from the Russian border.    

”The Long Breakup” is a feature-length documentary about Ukraine’s struggle to escape Russia’s embrace, leave its Soviet past behind and become an independent nation. Ukrainian-American journalist Katya Soldak of Forbes Magazine, now living in New York City, tells the story of her country of origin as it exits the USSR, works through two revolutions, and endures a war—all through the eyes of her family and friends in Kharkiv, a large city near the Russian border.
The documentary takes viewers on an intimate journey that illustrates how big geopolitical changes affect people on a personal level and explores what happens when a nation must fight for the right to choose its future. The tale offers insight into the experience of an immigrant watching her native country go through crises from afar, but, most importantly, it is a personal story about life in the former Soviet republic and the struggle for freedom forming a backdrop to so many lives.
Filmed over the course of a decade, The Long Breakup features an original soundtrack as well as music from Ukrainian and Soviet artists. The film is intended for global audiences with general interests and those interested in the USSR and post-Soviet developments.

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Festivals & Awards:

  • ZagrebDox International Documentary Film Festival, Croatia 2022
  • Moldox International Documentary Film Festival for Social Change, Moldova 2022
  • UNAFF United Nations Association Film Festival, California, USA 2022
  • GPFF Global Peace Film Festival, Florida, USA 2022
  • DocLands Documentary Film Festival, California, USA 2022
  • MSPIFF Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, USA 2022
  • Fort Myers Film Festival, Florida, USA 2022
  • NewFilmmakers NY Film Festival, USA 2021
  • Eastern Oregon Film Festival, USA 2020
  • Excellence Award: Docs Without Borders Film Festival, USA 2020

Director's statement:
When I went to Ukraine in 2005, after the Orange Revolution, to make a film, I thought it would be a short documentary about a post-soviet country that found its new path towards a democratic future. However, the story didn't add up: that bright future didn't happen, the characters didn't evolve, Ukraine and its people slipped into stagnation. Despite that, I became very intrigued by Ukraine, its history and complex identity. <>
As a Ukrainian who grew up in the USSR, having lived in an independent Ukraine for a decade before moving to the US, I realized I had a very vague idea about Ukraine and its story. So, I kept coming back: to follow up, to do more interviews, to look for clues and deeper understanding of why this rich country with such potential is stuck in economic decline and a post-soviet mentality. Why the statues of Lenin and communist leaders are still standing in central squares? Why people still appreciate soviet symbols and hold on to old habits? <>
I've lived through some of those historic moments: communism, Gorbachev's perestroika, the fall of the Berlin wall, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the beginning of Ukrainian independence. When life took me overseas, my Ukrainian family continued living through tumultuous times: revolutions, fear of separatism, war. Through my story and my family's story I'm opening up a window into the personal lives of ordinary people who were forced to live through a series of historic cataclysms, showing how they handled daily challenges and what they thought and felt in the moment. <>
The Long Breakup is my attempt to take the viewer on an intimate journey, and show how big geopolitical changes -- the ones most only hear about in the news -- affect ordinary people on a personal level.

Movie Reviews:
* « This film just tells the story of the relationship between Ukraine and Russia or Ukraine and the USSR, historically, in such a simple but such a human way that it should be required watching.
It really will open the eyes of our viewers to what is happening, and in a sense, why it's happening. » 'The Long Breakup' gives context to conflict in Ukraine / John Rash / Star Tribune
* « “The Long Breakup” passionately, honestly and suspensefully chronicles how a woman of mixed ethnicity became a truly independent spirit and forged her own identity. » What does it mean to be Ukrainian enough? / Adriana Klisch / The Ukrainian Weekly