Three-day Ukrainian benefit event to screen films and showcase artwork

Even though the Coachella Valley is a distant continent from Ukraine, there are still many ways people in the area can try to help this war-torn country.

A film and arts event starting on Friday offers a chance to support citizens, especially displaced children, in the form of a film festival and arts showcase.

In partnership with the Ukrainian State Film Agency, Artists for Ukraine will present a number of films from the Eastern European country, Q&A with filmmakers, photographic art, paintings, NFT and a live performance. The three-day event will take place at the Palm Springs Cultural Center located at 2300 E. Baristo Road in Palm Springs.

“It is a united front of individuals, primarily members of the entertainment industry from around the world, who provide humanitarian aid to Ukrainian children displaced by war while preserving Ukraine’s culture and sovereignty,” said organizer Michael Frydrych.

Proceeds from partnerships and auctions will go to aid Ukrainian children displaced by war, and 10% of profits will be allocated to animal charities and animal shelters in Ukraine, according to the Artists website. for Ukraine.

After a month of war in Ukraine, 4.3 million children – more than half of the country’s estimated child population of 7.5 million – have been displaced, according to UNICEF. More than 1.8 million children have left for neighboring countries and 2.5 million are displaced inside Ukraine.

Something for everyone

Frydrych, who was also co-chair of the ninth annual Palm Springs Jewish Film Festival, said a bit of everything is on offer at Artists for Ukraine.

The film festival portion of the three-day event will include a few premieres, such as Stanislav Kapralov’s “Egregor” closing night selection. In the film, an American detective travels to Ukraine to investigate the disappearance of his former mentor. After teaming up with his mentor’s daughter, they uncover a sinister plot involving an ancient cult. The film stars Valeria Karaman, Daniel Olbrychski and Omri Rose.

“Egregor” will screen at 7 p.m. Sunday, and there will be a post-screening Q&A with the producers and cast.

“Tevye’s Daughters” is “not your grandmother’s ‘fiddling on the roof’,” Frydrych explained. Tevye the milkman lives in a small village in Ukraine with his wife and five daughters. He believes that marriage is the only way for his daughters to escape poverty. Tevye accepts a proposal from a matchmaker, but her daughters have a different plan.

The film won Best Feature at the 2019 Rhode Island International Film Festival. It will screen at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

After the film, Jewish and international solo singer Svetlana Portnyansky will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. She won first prize at the Moscow International Pop-n-Rock Music Festival in 1991 and has since performed all over the world.

“She sold out all kinds of arenas,” Frydrych said. “She has a beautiful voice.”

Portnyansky will sing in several languages, including Ukrainian, Russian, Hebrew and Yiddish. Tickets for the concert are $35.

There’s even a children’s movie that younger residents of the valley can also enjoy. “Foxter & Max,” which premieres at 2 p.m. Saturday, is the story of a lonely kid who dreams of being a superhero and one day discovers that the graffiti dog he painted has become a superhero. smart dog. Unfortunately, the good times are short-lived once the town’s most dangerous criminal pursues them.

A still from the movie "Foxter and Max."

To cap off the three-day event, PS UNDERGROUND, which offers unique and themed dining experiences, will host a VIP wrap-up party starting at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday. The dress code is “California casual,” Frydrych said, and drinks and music will be offered. Tickets are $50 per person. PS UNDERGROUND is located at 1700 S. Camino Real Suite #2 in Palm Springs.

For more information on performers for Ukraine and to purchase tickets for individual events or a three-day screening pass, visit

Donations can also be made through PayPal at

Artists Program for Ukraine


“Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”: 10:30 a.m.; In a small Hutsul village in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine, a young man falls in love with the daughter of the man who killed his father. It is considered the most advertised Ukrainian film in history.

“Breaking Point: Ukraine’s War for Democracy”: 1:15 p.m.; This documentary looks at people transformed by a democratic revolution and those who abandon their normal lives to fight a Russian invasion.

“I work at the cemetery”: 4:00 p.m.; Sasha runs a business that installs headstones at a local cemetery. His many clients have all experienced personal dramas, but he is full of cynicism. Until his teenage daughter shows up to bring him back into her life.

“Tevye’s Daughters”: 6:30 p.m.; At the beginning of the 20th century, in the Jewish shtetl of Anatovka, Jews and Christians tried to live in peace and in respect of their religious beliefs. Tevye, the milkman, struggles to support his wife and five daughters. He knows that their only way out of poverty is through successful marriages.

Concert with Svetlana Portnyansky: 8:30 p.m.; Portnyansky has performed to audiences around the world. She will sing songs in Ukrainian, English, Hebrew and Yiddish.


“Bone piles (Terykony)”: 10:30 a.m.; This documentary focuses on children who suffered from Russian bombings and lost their parents and loved ones. One child in particular, 6-year-old Nastya, seeks help from psychologists to deal with her PTSD.

Foxter & Max: 2 p.m.; Artistic and lonely, Max discovers that the graffiti dog he painted has become an intelligent super-dog composed of nanobots. But soon both are hunted by the most dangerous criminal in town.

“Stop-Zemlia (Stop-Earth)”: 4:00 p.m.; Introverted high school girl Masha considers herself an outsider unless she hangs out with Yana and Senia who share her nonconformist status. As she tries to navigate her pre-graduation year, Masha falls in love, which forces her to step out of her comfort zone.

“Bad Roads”: 7 p.m.; Short stories take place along the roads of Donbass during the war.


“Atlantis”: 10:30 a.m.; In the near future, a soldier suffering from PTSD befriends a young volunteer in hopes of restoring peaceful energy to a war-torn society.

“The Inglorious Serfs”: 1 p.m.; The film imagines what would have happened if Taras Shevchenko, the greatest Ukrainian poet, prose writer, painter and playwright of the 19th century, had put down his pen and taken a samurai sword in his hands. There will be a question and answer session with the producers of the film after the screening.

“DZIDZIO Double Bass”: 3:45 p.m.; Three men living along the border risk everything to make their dreams come true, but all their plans are ruined when a pretty woman shows up. There will be a Q&A with the producers and cast of the film after the screening.

“Egregor”: 7 p.m.; An American detective travels to Ukraine to investigate the disappearance of his former mentor, and with the help of his mentor’s daughter, the couple uncovers a sinister plot involving an ancient cult. There will be a Q&A with the producers and cast of the film after the screening.

Short films will be screened before some feature films.

Ema Sasic covers entertainment and health in the Coachella Valley. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @ema_sasic.

Joseph K. Bennett