Vancouver film screening to support Ukrainian humanitarian efforts

Questions and Answers: The Ukrainian-Canadian actor Adrian Petriw about his legacy, friends and family who take up the case, and how the West can not “block” the carnage

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YVR Screen Scene for Ukraine

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When: March 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Where: VIFF Center, 1181 Seymour St., Vancouver.

Tickets: $ 25 at

A special screening of Maidan, a 2014 documentary on the uprising against then-President Viktor Yanukovych, is the main event of a gala supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

Ukrainian-Canadian actress Adrian Petriw and podcaster Sabrina Rani Furminger are hosting the evening, which also features a performance by bandura musician Ruta Yawney and a reception after the screening. All money raised from ticket sales will be donated to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and Canada-Ukraine Foundation.

And from March 21 to April 4, YVR Screen Scene will also host an online auction featuring memorabilia, autographed collectibles and filmmaking services.

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We spoke with Petriw, who can be heard in the series The Dragon Prince and The Guava Juice Show and seen in Turner and Hooch, about the event.

Q: Have you been to Ukraine? Or do you have family there?

ONE: I have not been there. I have family there. My grandparents were refugees from World War II. They spent a few years in camps for the displaced. My father was born in a DP camp in West Germany. They had relatives in Tofino. They ended up moving to Toronto. But we grew up in the full culture and with the traditions.

At the time, because Ukraine was not independent, the diaspora, especially in Canada, became extremely important in maintaining it because things like the language were strongly suppressed in the Soviet Union. It sought to eradicate Ukrainianism in the same way that Putin is right now. So we grew up all the way into it. We still have family over there on both sides, because when my grandparents left, they had family who could not leave or could not get out. I have cousins ​​who have fled to Poland, I have a cousin who is in the reserves and now struggling – as far as I understand. We have not heard from him for a while. And on my mother’s side, we have family in Odesa.

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Q: How much are you aware of what is happening? Can you turn it off?

ONE: I’m not turning it off. The can not turn it off. It’s a privileged position to say, “Well, tonight I just want to sit back and watch The Office” or something. It does not give up. I’m afraid that when we start blocking it, it will become what happened in Syria. In the West, we’re starting to get this collective pat on the back where we say, “Oh, that’s one of the places where it happens.” Which was not the case three weeks ago.

I have close friends who are leaving in a few weeks to fight. These are Ukrainian-Canadians who leave comfortable jobs. I have other friends who have to check in on their parents every single day because their parents are older and live 20 miles from where there are tough fights. This can not become normal.

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Ukrainian-Canadian actor Adrian Petriw co-hosts a fundraiser for Ukraine on March 30 at the VIFF Center.
Ukrainian-Canadian actor Adrian Petriw co-hosts a fundraiser for Ukraine on March 30 at the VIFF Center. Photo by Courtesy, Adrian Petriw

Q: Do you have relatives in Russia?

ONE: No. I have heard many stories, both online and anecdotal, from people whose relatives do not believe them. This is a major problem. There is a narrative that we would like to believe is true, but is not that it’s just Putin. It is not all Russians, but a large part of their culture is imperialist and believes in ideas such as the dissolution of the Soviet Union was a great tragedy, and the ultimate goal is to realize its resurrection.

Q: What else can people in the film and TV industry do?

ONE: A big part of that is spreading awareness. I have almost exclusively used my social media for this. I have shared pictures, sometimes they are tragic – I try to be aware of it, I do not want anyone to randomly scroll through and see something eerie. But I do this to keep these images alive and keep people indignant. What we have seen, what we have learned with COVID, what is going on in the states politically, is that the first war to be won is the information war. And if you lose it, the rest is just as much.

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