How film clubs can help integrate new Ukrainian arrivals into Irish society

An Táin Arts Centre in Dundalk has welcomed large numbers of Ukrainians in Ireland to several of their film club screenings

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, large numbers of Ukrainian families have started arriving in Ireland. While this has led to major social & cultural programmes on a national scale, more localised efforts have also been of vital importance – and local film clubs can play a significant role.

An Táin Arts Centre in Dundalk – one of access>CINEMA’s network members – has been partnering with Louth Local Development to present a programme of work to integrate the new Ukrainian arrivals into Irish society. 

The centre’s film club has been a central part of this programme. So far, they have had large numbers of Ukrainians in the audience for screenings of Mrs. Harris Goes to ParisElvisBlackbirdRoman Holiday and My Old School.

Yaroslava Paievska, Louth Local Development Officer, said: “It was a great pleasure for us Ukrainians to participate in different cultural events in An Táin Arts Centre. Ukrainians really enjoyed watching movies in An Táin and having a chat with Irish people about the film afterwards.”

An Táin Arts Centre Director Paul Hayes explained: “Part of our summer programme of films will include Pamfir, a Ukrainian film directed by Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk which focuses on reformed ex-smuggler Pamfir returning home to his village on the Ukrainian border after working abroad for several years. He’s determined to earn an honest living and set a good example for his beloved teenage son Nazar. Described as part drama, part thriller, part noir-inflected fairytale, we are really excited to see what our Irish and Ukrainian audiences make of it.”

An Táin has also put a significant focus on family films and events, alongside programming for adults. 

Paul noted: ‘In addition to working with access>CINEMA, we are particularly proud to welcome Mimirichi, a group of modern clowns who will be presenting their show Paperworld with us on June 9th. We have been working with three other Irish arts centres to bring this exciting company from Ukraine. We have had art classes for adults and children, gallery tours, workshops, films, and an interactive art piece examining the immigrant experience in our country. The Arts have always been at the forefront of social inclusion – I am glad we can continue this fine tradition.

Yaroslava added: “Ukrainian children had a nice time at family art classes on Saturdays. We also participated in a very creative event – The Uncommon Travel Area. This performance was created to bring attention to border crossing problems between Northern Ireland and the Republic Of Ireland. Ukrainians had a chance to create their graffiti wall where they wrote their impressions of Ireland”.