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The Documentary: Music of Survival, the Story of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus

The story of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus is one of courage and true grit – a vivid chronicle that celebrates the human spirit. This is the triumphant story of the original 17 members of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus who survived World War II as a musical ensemble. The film brings out the deepest roots of a fragile tradition, celebrating the resiliency of a music culture that has survived centuries. Set against the backdrop of the war itself, the story reveals the ways that music and musicians are used and abused by political regimes.

It provides an educational, informative and compelling perspective – the personal stories of the last two survivors inter cut with the collective history of the bandura throughout the ages. Interwoven with contemporary musical performances, the film illustrates the bandurist as bard, as seer, as spiritual emissary for the soul of the Ukrainian people, then and now, in Ukraine and beyond.

Orest Sushko is a member of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus, following in the footsteps of his father Makar Sushko, the first Canadian member of the Chorus in 1949 – and grandfather Paul Stepowy, a bandura craftsman and honorary patron of the Chorus. As an Emmy award winning Re-recording mixer in both film and television, Orest has worked extensively in Hollywood on numerous feature films. He has collaborated with a broad range of directors from David Cronenberg to Barry Sonnenfeld to Guillermo del Toro – television series including Orphan Black and Frontier to documentaries for David Suzuki, The North Face, The Patagonia and Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea.

For more information, please visit: to view the trailer and highlights of the film’s premiere.

Remember to bring your passport or driver's license.

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