Andrii Derkach
Member of
Ukrainian Parliament
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Pokrov Film Festival

The history of the Pokrov International Orthodox Film Festival

Pokrov International Orthodox Film Festival was first established in October 2003, with the blessing of His Beatitude Vladimir, Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine.

The Festival is annually held during the feast day of The Protection of the Mother of God, aiming to promote Christian films. Best orthodox films are awarded with special prizes. The main Festival award is the icon of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary.

Since the very first day of the first festival, the President of Pokrov Film Festival, MP Andrii Derkach has been actively participating in all festival events.

Owing to his leadership and sufficient funding, the organising committee of the festival succeeded in organising a truly international event with a world-famous unmatched programme.

Pokrov festival annually hosts world premieres of films that subsequently become orthodox film classics.

Among them Pavel Lungin’s “The Island”, Andrii Kravchuk’s “Admiral”, Nikita Mikhalkov’s “12”, Vladimir Khotinenko’s “The Priest”, to name but a few. They became not only the highlights of the festival, but also joined the ranks of world’s best orthodox films.

The majority of films were broadcasted by “TRK Era” and were very popular with millions of pious Ukrainians.

Pokrov Film Festival is a unique cultural and ethical event, uniting not only orthodox Christians, but also people of various beliefs who enjoy heart-warming, awareness-raising, family films that promote love and faith in society and each family.

Since 2012, when the 10th Pokrov Film Festival was held, the event reached a new technical level, in combination with enhanced competition programme and the screenings of the cream of the crop orthodox films.

Since then all Opening ceremonies of the Festival are held in the National Opera of Ukraine, whilst the award ceremonies feature not only congratulations from guest speakers, but also themed theatrical and music productions. The winners are awarded with a variety of social and missionary prizes.

For instance, during the Opening of the 10th Pokrov festival the best actors and directors, best films in a variety of genres received awards, as well as creative teams that contributed to the development of orthodox films over the last decade. Fedor Bondarchuk and Tatiana Terekhova hosted the Opening ceremony, whilst the guest list included celebrity actors and directors: Vladimir Khotinenko, Pavel Lungin, Aleksandr and Andrii Proshkin, Andrii Kravchuk, Konstantin Khabenskiy, Kseniya Rappoport, Dmitriy Nazarov, Egor Pazenko, Yury Belyayev, to mention but a few.

In subsequent years during the Opening ceremony cash prizes were given to those in need – children from orphanages, famous actors and families of clergymen who died in the East of Ukraine.

Pokrov Film Festival has been held for thirteen years, and since then tens of thousands of spectators have seen over seven hundred orthodox films from fifteen countries all over the world. More than ten world premiers took place there. Overall, over seventy directors from different countries and continents received awards at the festival.

Regardless of the obstacles he faced, the President of the festival Andrii Derkach always found an opportunity to support it financially and supervise creative efforts of the festival team with great love for orthodox films.

Pokrov Film Festival is the only film festival in Ukraine that has been promoting family values, patriotism and educating the younger generation in the spirit of orthodox faith for over thirteen years.

Mr. Andrii Derkach is an old friend and ally of the Monastery of St. Jonas and Synodal Youth Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), my area of responsibility.

The Monastery and the Synodal Department hold large-scale cultural and educational events on a regular basis, as well as all-Ukrainian initiatives, aiming to develop and support social ministry in Ukraine.

For instance, for more than 10 years Kiev has been hosting Pokrov Orthodox Film Festival, a unique event in Ukraine. It has been headed from the very first day by Mr. Andrii Derkach, the President of the festival. Creative teams come to Kiev from many countries, providing a real communication and experience exchange forum for distinguished artists who strive to show the audience the beauty of the orthodox faith.

For many years “TRK Era” has been broadcasting various orthodox TV and radio programmes, where the priests discuss what walking with God means, answer the questions about spiritual life, tell the stories of the saints and relics, communicate Gospel interpretations. In addition, the radio programmes provide in-depth information about the activities of youth volunteer organisation “Compassionate Youth”, managed by the Synodal Youth Department of the UOC.

Mr. Derkach pays special attention to supporting the work of Synodal Youth Department of the UOC, particularly in terms of organisation of all-Ukrainian conferences, that once a year bring together clergymen and laity working in the sphere of youth ministry from all regions of the country. The participants exchange experience and ideas of the most successful projects, implemented in the spheres of youth engagement and management of helping our neighbours.

With the support of Andrii Derkach Synodal Youth Department of the UOC annually hosts a traditional Christmas show in the National Opera of Ukraine under the patronage of Vladimir, Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine. This initiative has also been implemented for more than a decade. On Christmas Day, which is January, 7 according to Julian calendar, used by the UOC, children arrive in the Kiev Opera theatre to hear the welcoming speech of the Head of the UOC, greetings and wishes from clergymen, and to see the festive show.

The Christmas show is primarily social event: chief guests come from orphanages in remote regions of Ukraine. The volunteers from Synodal Youth Department organise a full-scale celebration on this day, with guided tours around Kiev, walks, presents and a festive Christmas show in the National Opera.

A few years ago another project was implemented with the help of Mr. Derkach: a book by a famous priest, hegumen (abbot) of the Holy Monastery of Docheiariou on Mount Athos, archimandrite Gregory (Zumis) was translated and published in Ukraine. A collection of stories “People of the Church who I met” is filled with deep reflections on spiritual life and salvation and has been reprinted several times in Ukraine.

Bishop Iona

— Bishop Iona