Amazing Chicago: two screenings and a panel discussion
Dec 7, 2011 Posted in: Blog/News 0

The Chicago Cultural Center where the screening on Thursday took place.


We have finally found a cure for post-princess depression (see previous blog entry). We went to Chicago. Arriving to the wind city, we were swept away by the energy and efficiency of an amazing group of people who came together to organize a series of screenings as well as a panel discussion.

Have you heard of Vera Eliashevsky? Well, you should. Vera, also known as superwoman, can conduct a high level conference call to increase her products’ sales margin while applying perfect lipstick and making delicious french toast for her guests… all at the same time! We were very lucky that Vera was at the heart of organizing our trip to Chicago and welcomed us as guests at her beautiful home.

We started the Chicago tour with a screening at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. We were invited there by Prof. Volodymyr Chumachenko and had a good discussion with faculty members and students, almost none of whom had any personal connections with the region of Galicia but were very interested in the subject matter.

The next evening, we had a large screening in Chicago in one of the city’s most beautiful venues: the Chicago Cultural Center that used to be Chicago’s Public Library. The building is famous for its two beautiful glass domes, one of which is said to be the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world. The showing took place at the Claudia Cassidy Theater where the 300 seats were almost full.

The screening was organized by the The Kyiv and Warsaw Committees of Chicago Sister Cities International, headed respectively by Vera Eliashevsky and Thaddeus Makarewicz. Here, we have to point out something that really struck us: our Chicago poster had side by side logos that included the Star of David, the Ukrainian Trident and the Polish White Eagle. It’s the first time that we’ve personally seen those three signs side by side and we still can’t forgive ourselves for not taking a copy of that poster back with us as we believe one day it will be worth a lot of money!

The audience of Chicago was very generous and emotionally involved. Towards the end of the film, people were laughing very hard in all the places we expected them to and even in places that we didn’t think people would find funny. The emotions even spilled over during the discussion and there was a moment where we thought that people might actually start a fight. We think that the film does bring up a lot of painful memories and sometimes people need to let all those emotions out that were boiling inside of them for quite a long time. But as things calmed down, we got very hopeful, seeing that most of the audience members were able to accept each other’s pain and continue the discussion around those very sensitive topics.

On Friday evening, the conversation continued at the Ukrainian National Museum where a panel discussion was organized by the Museum’s Young Professionals Group. Panel members included Prof. Myron Kuropas, Mr. Stanley Balzekas and Rev. Myron Panchuk and the panel was moderated by Daria Hankewych. We discussed many themes, among which was the mythology around heroes and the importance of memory, identity and the representation of history.

On a final note, we have to admit that our Chicago schedule was even crazier than the one in Ukraine – and believe us, Ukraine was hard to beat. One morning for example, we had to wake up at 4.30 am in order to make it to a radio interview at 7 am and still manage to get a tour of the Ukrainian village with Vera before hand.

The Tiffany dome at the Chicago Cultural Center

With Vera Eliashevsky (Chair Kyiv-Chicago Committee) and Thaddeus Makarewicz (Chair Warsaw-Chicago Committee)

At the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with our organizing team and our hosts from the Slavic Department. Left to Right: Marika Klimchak, Vera Eliashevsky, Prof. Michael Finke, Olha Onyshko, Prof. Volodymyr Chumachenko, Raisa Bratkiv, Prof. Emeritus Dmytro Shtohryn , Prof. Richard Tempest and Prof. George Gasyna.

The audience at the Ukrainian National Museum Panel Discussion

Left to right: Daria Hankewych, Ksenia Hankewych, Prof. Myron Kuropas, Mr. Stanley Balzekas, Olha Onyshko, Sarah Farhat and Rev. Rev. Myron Panchuk

We sneaked out during the showing (we had seen the film before) and got a glimpse of the city by night

Afer the panel discussion, we were invited to have a drink at the top of the John Hancock Center that has the most spectacular view of Chicago!

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