Ukrainian Sheriffs / Ukrainski sheryfy




Ukraine, Latvia, Germany


VFS Films, SOUTH, Taskovski Films


88 min


Roman Bondarchuk


Daryna Averchenko


Roman Bondarchuk

The film takes place in Ukraine after the Maidan’s events. In the village of Stara Zburivka, there is practically no police presence, and the responsibility for maintaining public order has fallen on two local residents: 50-year-old Viktor Kryvoborodko and 44-year-old Volodymyr Rudkovskyi. Together, they become local “sheriffs” and perform not only the duties of police officers but also those of social workers, mediating family disputes and conflicts among neighbors. However, as the country enters a state of war, the mood in the village gradually begins to change.

In 2014, Roman Bondarchuk was among the directors of the anthological work  Euromaidan. Rough Cut, which documented the early protests on Maidan during the Revolution of Dignity. At the same time, Bondarchuk was already working on his first feature-length documentary film, Ukrainian Sheriffs. This film was shot over nearly four years in Bondarchuk’s native Kherson region. While it did not directly address Maidan, it reflected the sentiments and changes taking place in the country. Hence, the symbolic heroes and their journey from self-organization, which became an important element of Maidan and post-Maidan practices, to their transition into renewed institutions of power (both “sheriffs” were eventually elected to the village council). Bondarchuk would draw constant parallels between events in Ukraine, and events in the village which became a microcosm of Ukrainian society in Bondarchuk’s perspective.

Ukrainian Sheriffs was first shown in 2015 at one of the most prestigious documentary film festivals in Amsterdam, where it won the Special Jury Prize for Best Feature-Length Documentary. Within a year, Roman Bondarchuk’s film was submitted by Ukraine for the Academy Awards as the Best Foreign Language Film.