NEWTON - A meal in Newton Wednesday night was one of the first the Koliubaiev family's shared in five months. And the reunion is temporary.
"It's really difficult because I feel myself like in a movie," said Artem Koliubaiev. "I need to switch from one world to another world."
Koliubaiev was only allowed to leave Ukraine on a two-week culture mission. He was screening his new film "Carol of the Bells" Wednesday night for Boston Jewish Film.
"We believe in the power of film and we believe in the power of community," said Ken Shulman, president of the Boston Jewish Film Board. "We're thrilled that we get to harness the power of both in the service of this film, in the service of this family and in the service of Ukraine."
"We are trying to show the world what's happening," Koliubaiev said. "That's why we are trying to show our films."
His film tells the story of families whose lives were shattered by Nazis and the Soviets. Koliubaiev couldn't have known making it history would repeat itself.
"In the night, in the day, in the morning, they are just killing civilian people," Koliubaiev said. "There isn't any safe place in Ukraine."
His wife and daughters are safe with friends in Washington, but the war is never far away.
"It's painful," said Erica Koliubaiev, Artem's daughter. "I don't read the news because it's too painful, too heartbreaking."
Even as they share their film, moviemaking has stopped in Ukraine. Funding for films now goes to the military and a fight for survival.
"We don't really know when it ends," Koliubaiev said. "I'm worried about my family and the future of Ukraine."
Koliubaiev says ticket sales from his film will help support other Ukrainian filmmakers finishing movies they started before the war.
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