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High Five: adoption saga in Ukraine is presented at Vancouver International Film Festival

Boris Ivanov (Vancouver), media release

Great news, for the third year in a row we are presenting a film at Vancouver International Film Festival. This one is a world premiere of High Five: An Adoption Saga that was produced in association with Knowledge Network and Piksuk Media Inc. from Nunavut.

High Five premiers on Saturday, October 6th at Granville 7 at 9:15 pm and also screens on October 8 and 12th at Pacific Cinematheque. 

In the film: Cathy and Martin Ward travel to the remote village of Gorodnya in rural Ukraine to begin the process of adopting five biological brothers and sisters. The children—the youngest only six and the oldest nearly 17—are separated when only the adoption of the two youngest sisters, Alyona and Snezhana, goes through. Determined to make the remaining siblings part of their family, the Wards bring Sasha, Yulia, and Sergey to Canada for the summer.

After a period of tension, tenderness, conflict and discovery, the couple begins to understand the complex memories, losses and wounds that deeply affect the children they have chosen to make their family, especially eldest daughter Yulia who had for years assumed the role of protective mother at the orphanage.

Two years later, the wheels are in motion to finalize the adoption of Sasha, Yulia, and Sergey in Ukraine. When they finally succeed in bringing all five children permanently to Canada, they embark on an unprecedented emotional journey. With many ups, downs, failures and triumphs in their sudden role as the parents to five orphaned children from a vastly different culture, Cathy and Martin remain devoted to loving and caring for the children as best they can.

About the director:

Julia Ivanova, a Canadian documentary film director and editor, grew up in Moscow and was trained at the Russian Film Institute (VGIK). After immigrating to Canada in 1995, Julia together with her brother Boris Ivanov self-produced their first documentary “From Russia, For Love” which has been televised in 26 countries. In the decade that followed Julia felt a deep commitment to making films that break individual and societal perceptions. She directed a number of intimate films on the topics of minorities, orphanhood and search for love. These films have been shown on PBS, Discovery, and various TV channels in Canada, Asia and Europe. Other titles include “Fatherhood Dreams” (2007) – a film about gay fathers and their children; “Love Translated” (VIFF 2010) – a journey into the world of Dating Tours to Eastern Europe and Sundance premiered Hot Docs Winner “Family Portrait in Black and White” (VIFF 2011).

Editor Note: You can read more about Julia Ivanova in our previous interview in Ukrainian Vancouver.

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