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Volia Chajkouskaya • Director

“When one person is changed, the whole world is affected”


- An interview with Belarusian producer Volia Chajkouskaya of Volia Films, one of the participants of Jihlava's 2018 Emerging Producers

Volia Chajkouskaya • Director

An interview with Belarusian producer Volia Chajkouskaya of Volia Films, one of the participants of Jihlava's 2018 Emerging Producers.

Why do you produce documentaries? Do you believe that they have the power to change the world?
Volia Chajkouskaya: To me it sounds already a little bit utopian – that art, and documentaries in particular, can change the world. The world seems to me to be repeating itself all the time, so there is no hope to change the world on a global level. However, I believe, that the world could be changed on a personal level, on the level of every single person, on the level of individuality and identity. When someone’s making a film, a piece of art, it means he or she touches a certain topic and certain people. Within the process of filmmaking the attitude of these people could change, the people themselves could change and the filmmakers could also change. Great, when this change is positive and there is a personal growth for every participant in this miraculous process of documentary filmmaking, observation and revelation. When the world of one person is changed – then the whole world is in a way affected. From that perspective, documentaries have a great power.

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What do you think is the future of distribution of documentary films?
It’s a tough question for me, taking into consideration my yet Belarus-bound state. In Belarus we have domestic theatrical distribution neither for fiction films, nor for documentaries. We don’t have a TV channel which could acquire creative documentaries for broadcasting; also Belarusian broadcasters do not do co-productions. Therefore, we have very few films, as well as very few distribution opportunities. When it comes to global market, I assume, it’s a crucial period, in a way. As the world is very much segregated now, the market for documentary films is becoming more segregated as well. And old distribution channels are becoming weaker, but there are new ones appearing, such as VoD platforms and different documentary communities. The challenge now is to properly reach your audience, as the audience is also segregated. So, in my opinion, the main difficulty is to target the audience, spread the word about the channels, where docs can be seen. Promotion and social media are the main tools in this respect. 

What projects do you have under way?
Right now, I am working on three projects with my company, Volia Films. The first one in post-production The Art of Censorship by director Maksim Shved, who has an amazing sense of humour. This film is Polish-Belarusian co-production and tells about the phenomenon of cover up graffiti in Belarus. Another one in production is called Babushka. Lost in Transition by DocNomads graduate Aleksandr Mihalkovich. This one is Belarusian-Ukrainian co-production, which we were shooting in Crimea, it is about the director’s grandmother, the relationships between her and her grandson – and the environment. The third one in development is in a very early stage and dedicated to a very sensitive topic, so I would better not tell the details yet. The directors of this project are Anna Savchenko and Katerina Barushka, and this one is going to be a Belgian-Belarusian-Norwegian co-production.  

Looking for more interesting projects. And keeping a list of topics that to my opinion have huge documentary potential.


Emerging Producers is a promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.

Deadline for applications to the Emerging Producers 2019 edition is 31 March, 2018. Click here.

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