Ukrainian refugee makes film on women affected by war

Lora Arkhypenko
Image caption,Lora Arkhypenko was taken in by a Shropshire family after fleeing Kyiv

Alex McIntyre

BBC News, West Midlands

  • Published6 January 2024

A Ukrainian refugee has created a documentary about the strength of women affected by the war.

Lora Arkhypenko and her young daughter were forced to leave their home in Kyiv following the Russian invasion in February 2022.

The film-making student was taken in by a family in Chirbury, Shropshire, before moving to Wales.

After finishing her studies, Ms Arkhypenko started work on Women, a film focusing on the strength of women affected by the conflict.

The director and producer said the idea for the film was inspired by her recent experiences.


“When my life changed, my thoughts were consumed.

“The happenings of the world seemed insignificant, as my world – along with that of all Ukrainians – crumbled unexpectedly,” she said.

Lora Arkhypenko
Image caption,Lora Arkhypenko was studying film-making when she was forced to flee Kyiv

After arriving in Chirbury, Ms Arkhypenko started to dwell on what people think and do when dealing with experiences similar to her own.

She began investigating the subject before coming up with the idea for the documentary, which she described as a story about the strength of women “who continue to move no matter what”.

“This is a film about real emotion and real power,” she added.

Ms Arkhypenko, originally from Odesa, was studying for a degree in film-making in Kyiv at the time of Russia’s invasion.

She said she was grateful to the “kind-hearted” family from Chirbury who took her in for five months before she moved to Welshpool with her now five-year-old daughter.

She enrolled at Newtown College to continue her studies in the creative industry, eventually earning a Level 4 Diploma.

Film poster for Lora Arkhypenko's film Women
Image caption,Lora Arkhypenko’s film Women will have its premiere in Shropshire

Ms Arkhypenko said her biggest dream was to get an Oscar, which she said would be confirmation that she was “talking about important things”.

“By talking about important things, you turn the world upside down, making people think about things they haven’t thought about.

“For a creator, this is the most important achievement,” she said.

The film has been supported by Shropshire Council and Robert Macey, the authority’s cabinet member for culture, said it was a chance to learn more about people affected by the ongoing conflict.

“Lora’s experiences are unimaginable for so many of us and I am sure her documentary will prove to be both insightful and thought-provoking,” he said.

Women is scheduled to be screened at the Old Market Hall in Shrewsbury at 12:30 GMT on Sunday.

Visitors will have the opportunity to take part in a question and answer session following the film.

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