Great Strides Made at Ukraine Reform Conference
The Ukraine Reform Conference in Toronto has concluded. More than 800 representatives of the EU, NATO and G7 countries came to participate, discuss and set new goals for the future. The last day of the conference was dedicated to culture and cinema. One of the pieces on show was a movie musical
It turns out that the musical has real Canadian roots. A film of the same name, based on the opera by immigrant Yaroslav Barnych, was first released in 1956. It was filmed by Ukrainians, also immigrants, living in Canada. Back then the film was low budget. Mykola Latyshko, 92, recalled how they produced the full-length movie.
“We did not have the opportunity to shoot mountains and nature. We shot it in parts – most of it on a stage using decorations,” Latyshko said.
The screening of the Ukrainian musical was symbolic. Now, after signing an agreement between Canada and Ukraine on the joint production of films, Ukrainian cinema gains access to the Western market. And Hollywood isn’t far away.
“This agreement opens the film industry to business. This is an opportunity to participate in the Toronto International Film Festival, an opportunity to get closer to Hollywood. This is an opportunity to co-finance projects. We already know of several Canadian companies that are interested in shooting series at the Odesa Film Studio and the Dovzhenko Film Studio,” Ukrainian Minister of Culture Yevhen Nyshchuk said.
The three days dealing with Ukrainian reforms in Canada were full of events. If earlier conferences in London and Copenhagen were devoted exclusively to reforms, this conference had a new investment angle.
“Most importantly, it showed a three-dimensional Ukraine and its three-dimensional cooperation with Canada and other countries. Often a conference gives such a flat perception – what has or has not been done can be perceived only through politics or through documents. This time the participants saw cultural, culinary, cinematic and musical aspects of Ukraine. So that dry data is perceived differently,” Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine Roman Washchuk said.
In the Ukrainian House, reforms were discussed not by theorists, but by real practitioners. The elders and heads of amalgamated communities came to Toronto. Their decentralization is directly related to investment. Today in Ukraine there are more than 900 amalgamated villages with a population of about 9 million Ukrainians.
“People need assistance every day. And here is our latest question – we submitted a business plan to our Starostynskyi District and entered the top 20 in the ‘Incredible Villages of Ukraine’ project. And we hope that we will have bins for sorting garbage as Canada has if our project passes,” Iryna Nedobuha, the head of the Blahovishchenka, Novokamianka, and Komysh-Zorianska amalgamated communities said.
“The decentralization reform is the only reform that can be felt and touched. These are square meters of new roads, roofs, new heating systems in kindergartens, and courses for learning a foreign language. This is what impacts people every day,” Novopskov village head Vadym Hoiev said.
Three days of the conference and negotiations beyond its panel discussions brought about a number of new agreements. One of them was the simplification of the visa regime. Ukrainians coming to Canada to work and study will be the first to feel this.
“Major news in this field is that Canada has offered us to consider joining the so-called Trust and Travel program, which means a much easier procedure for Ukrainians who want to travel to Canada. We see this as another step towards a future visa-free regime for Ukrainians,” Ukrainian Ambassador to Ukraine Andriy Shevchenko said.
The fourth international conference on Ukraine will be held in 2020. Ukrainian reforms will be discussed in Vilnius.