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Ukrainian documentary 'Home Games' available on Netflix in Europe

December 28, 2021 5:02 pmby Asami Terajima
A shot from "Home Games," the first Ukrainian-directed documentary released on Netflix. The film follows Alina Shilova, whose passion for football gives her a chance of escaping poverty. (Courtesy)

Ukrainian documentary "Home Games" has joined the Netflix library on Dec. 23. Its director Alisa Kovalenko said this is the streaming giant's first documentary by a Ukrainian filmmaker.

“I hope it will be a milestone and that other great Ukrainian author-driven documentaries will be soon on Netflix as well,” she told the Kyiv Independent. 

It is now available to watch "Home Games" in original Ukrainian and Russian languages with English subtitles in the European Union and the U.K. The film's team hopes Netflix users in Ukraine will be able to watch it starting in January. The exact date has not been announced.

The film follows Alina Shilova, a 20-year-old woman in Kyiv, whose passion for football gives her a chance of escaping poverty.

Shilova grew up on the streets in Kyiv and took up the sport while her parents were in jail. When her mother suddenly died at the age of 39 and her father disappeared, Shilova had to quickly adapt to the new role of being a substitute mother for her young siblings. 

The 86-minute film was originally released in 2018. Its co-producers hail from Ukraine, France and Poland.

The documentary has received awards and nominations in international film festivals around the world, including goEast Film Festival and Odesa International Film Festival. 

The Ukrainian state film agency provided Hr 850,000, or about half of the film's budget. The documentary also received funding under the Guardian Goes Ukraine contest, conceived by the British Council, the Guardian and the Docudays UA film festival.

Aside from "Home Games," Netflix streams the Ukrainian co-produced documentary "Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom," which, was directed by Israeli Evgeny Afineevsky. The award-winning film portrays the 2013-2014 EuroMaidan Revolution in central Kyiv.

Earlier in the year, Netflix released the first feature film with Ukrainian dubbing, “Outside the Wire.” Though many films on the platform have Ukrainian subtitles, few have been dubbed into Ukrainian before.

Asami Terajima
Author: Asami Terajima

Asami Terajima is a staff writer at the Kyiv Independent. She worked as a business reporter for the Kyiv Post until November 2021.

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