“Big stories of small businesses”: Ukrainian filmmakers to present movies about successful entrepreneurs in eastern Ukraine

Oct 27, 2017

Oleksandr Patiaka carrying products to his canteen. Photo credit: Maksym Liukov

Ukrainian filmmakers are filming short motivation movies about entrepreneurs from eastern Ukraine for a video contest called “Big Stories of Small Businesses” run by the United Nations Development Programme in Ukraine (UNDP) and the Molodiya Social Advertising Festival.

According to the contest’s rules, filmmakers are to film videos about the success stories of entrepreneurs who won a grant from UNDP to launch or develop a business in eastern Ukraine.

Oleksandr Patiaka, 50, is from Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast. He won UNDP grant of USD 8,000 to launch a student canteen in his native city. “The Blueberry” canteen opened in February 2017, and now around 200 students and young people attend it every day. People choose “The Blueberry” for its good service, quality products and modern interior. Oleksandr admits that initially it was difficult to find a professional team for his canteen. Nevertheless, the staff was formed, and now five persons work there. The entrepreneur plans to re-format his business and host canteen in a daytime and a creative space for public speaking by talented people and startupers in the evening.

“I'm sure other entrepreneurs who've decided to launch their own business have gone through and overcome the fears and hesitations they faced. Indeed, this is a long and difficult process. However, if you are a master of your business and have a good devoted team, then don’t wait, just do it! I wasn’t afraid to launch my own business, I was aware of difficulties,” Oleksandr said.

To participate in the video contest, the applicants had to have filming experience. This year, the jury of experts selected 14 film crews who received USD 560 each to create a video story.

The contestants went to different areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to meet entrepreneurs and film their stories.

“This is the second time I've participated in this fantastic contest, and once again I chose an entrepreneur from Mariupol. He opened a student canteen called “The Blueberry,'" said Maksym Liukov, a participant in the video contest. But I aimed to create a film different to the one I made last year.”

The filmmaker researched his character and created an original screenplay to tell an interesting and fair story about him. Maskym promises his film will be warm-hearted and funny.

“We shot an animation specifically for this video because our hero likes to show cartoons to the visitors in his canteen. There was a funny story while we were filming the story. I pre-booked online a recording studio to record the voices for the movie. However, when we went there, it turned out that the studio was in the city of Sumy (there is the street with the same name in Mariupol as well). Fortunately, kind people from the police orchestra helped us with the recording," Liukov said.

The contest aims to highlight the positive image of Ukraine’s eastern regions and inspire people to launch their own businesses.

The premier screenings and award ceremony for the best films will take place on Nov. 24 in the Kyiv cinema (19, Velyka Vasylkivska, Kyiv). The winners will share a prize fund of UAH 55,000.

1st place – UAH 25,000 (USD 930)  

2nd place – UAH 15,000 (USD 560)

3rd place – UAH 10,000 (USD 370)

Special award – UAH 5,000 (USD 185)

Background information:

UNDP has provided some 550 grants to launch or develop businesses in Donetsk, Luhansk and other regions of Ukraine. The motivation campaign to boost entrepreneurship among conflict-affected populations is being implemented by the UNDP’s Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, with the financial support of the government of Poland.

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