Illia Yehorov


Documenting Ukraine Grants

The Sowing / Посівна

The Sowing is a documentary film project about Ukrainian grain, and Ukrainian land as the center of gravity for the soul and the primordial basis of life for Ukrainians. The focus is on the people who work on the land daily, and their loved ones.
This is the story of the family of Hennadii, a man who is Belarusian by origin but Ukrainian at heart; an agricultural entrepreneur, who enlisted in the Territorial Defense at the beginning of the war, in order to patrol his village in Odesa region, and who begins to sow crops despite ever-present danger. Hennadii feels a responsibility towards his employees, builds shelters for them and stockpiles food, and generally cares for them as if they were his own children. Every day Hennadii travels 100-150 kilometers across roads and fields, and he works 14-15 hours per day around 300 days per year. He works to provide for and protect his family, and he shields them from the war as best he can.
At the moment of the invasion his wife Maryna was in Belarus, having traveled there to look after her dying father. Every day she heard Russian bombers flying overhead in the direction of Ukraine, and almost every day she fought with her Belarusian relatives, who live under the influence of Russian propaganda. She keeps in touch with her husband and children through daily Viber calls, but these calls aren’t enough to overcome the distance and the front line dividing the family.
The film also follows two of Hennadii and Maryna’s children, 10-year-old Klim and 27-year-old Marharyta. Klim moved from Odesa to be with his father in relative safety in the village in February. In the village, Klim spends his time attending online school, playing guitar, and coming closer to nature and the earth, as his father has been doing his whole life. Marharyta was born in Belarus like her parents. Because of the war, she switched entirely to speaking Ukrainian, the only one in the family to do so. There is a chance that she will teach her younger brother to do the same, because they talk often. 
All of these local Ukrainian characters and their fate are hugely important in the broader context of Ukrainian grain, the Ukrainian economy that runs on it, and the overall global production crisis that arises due to the impossibility of exporting foodstuffs at the normal scale from the world’s breadbasket. Everything that Ukrainians are growing—under a hail of bullets and bombs, under the threat of their harvest being burned down or stolen, under the danger of farm equipment being destroyed by mines and invaders—impacts not only Ukraine’s victory, but stability across the planet and the lives of millions of people in other countries.

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