What is the problem?
Ukrainian cinematography is gaining popularity. According to a study conducted by Gradus Research in March 2023, 29% of respondents regularly watched Ukrainian movies before the full-scale war. Over the year, the number of fans of national cinematography increased to 33%.
Most Ukrainians prefer online streaming platforms. The audience aged 55-60 enjoys watching movies on TV. Some of the respondents attend offline cinemas; however, this applies to those who live in Ukraine. What can refugees who currently are staying abroad do? How and where to stream Ukrainian movies in this case?
What is the solution?
Many refugees admit they watch and download movies on illegal streaming websites. However, using "cinema dumps" is a wrong and risky decision, as it equals theft and disrespect to the moviemakers. Watching illegal content abroad can result in actual fines. Today there are many opportunities to be responsible and watch Ukrainian films legally. We share a few ways on how to do it.
How does it work?
"Takflix" is the first and only online cinema dedicated to Ukrainian cinematography. The platform is willing to make Ukrainian cinema available for viewing in all corners of the world and encourage viewers to watch Ukrainian content, as well as support national cinematography. These are not just concepts, as 50% of ticket sales on Takflix are directed right to the moviemakers. After the full-scale war took its turn, "Takflix" has been sending a share of ticket sales to the "Come Back Alive" foundation and to organizations that support people from Mariupol.
The online cinema was launched in December 2019. Over the years, the platform has collected the largest list of Ukrainian films. Here one can find almost all movies they've ever heard of, as well as a good selection of classics and interesting short films that they won't find anywhere else. There is also a small selection of free movies.
"Takflix" has cinema-like features, with payment charged for one movie. There is an opportunity to arrange movie streaming with friends online (Movieparty service). The price of a ticket for a full-length movie is $2.5 and ~$1.5 for a short movie. After the moment of payment, the movie will be available for viewing within seven days.
Most of the movies are available for streaming worldwide. Some of them have access restrictions (information about this is given in the description of the movie). In this case, Movieparty will come in handy. If the host of the joint streaming stays in Ukraine, the participants abroad will also be able to join the movie session. By becoming a Patreon member, one can watch movies from the "Takflix" list without any restrictions.
Aside from being a popular mobile operator, "Kyivstar" provides Internet TV services. By installing the "Kyivstar TV" application on any device, users can stream over 300 TV channels. The platform also includes a VOD library of 20,000 movies, series, cartoons, and shows. Viewers can watch "Kyivstar TV" anywhere, even abroad. The only requirement is an internet connection.
Users can choose any move among a plethora, such as "Sniper: White Crow," or war-related "Ilovaisk 2014," "Donbas Batallion." There are many documentaries regarding Russia's war against Ukraine, especially dedicated to the events of 2022. Viewers can take a glimpse at Ukrainian-made "Mariupol. Unlost Hope," "Silent terror" (about the Kherson occupation), "Follow me" (about a rescue operation in eastern Izium).
Since the first days of the full-scale war, the platform granted access to all TV channels, children's entertainment, and educational content to a section with audio fairy tales in Ukrainian. Most of this content is still available to any user both in Ukraine and abroad.
New users get two months of free streaming. They can connect up to five devices to one account. So every family member will be able to watch their favorite channel from their device. At the same time, they can watch TV on several devices at the same time without losing video quality.
"Megogo" is one of the most well-known Ukrainian streaming services. It has not only many Western films and series but also modern Ukrainian tapes. "Megogo" includes rare pieces, for example, recordings of theater performances. Many Ukranian movies are available for purchase or free watch. Viewers can watch some popular movies like "Cyborgs" about the defense of Donetsk in the 2014 war, "The Tribe," "Oh," and other more.
Since February 2023, the company's services have been made available to Polish users.
Poland is the 14th country where the platform provides foreign users with access to its content. "Megogo" includes both television packages with interactive features and a library of movies and TV series. Now the prices are divided into different subscriptions:
- Starter subscription – PLN 9.99 per month;
- The optimal subscription – PLN 29.99 per month;
- The maximum subscription – PLN 39.99 per month;
- TV and Cinema UA – PLN 14.99 per month.
The last offer is an additional "Megogo" fee for all Ukrainians in Poland. If one does not want to pay for a subscription, he can simply watch Ukrainian TV channels, which is free.
"SweetTV" is another online cinema with Ukrainian and international masterpieces. The application works anywhere with access to the Internet.
There are also educational courses, including foreign language programs. Users can check out the app free of charge for a week. Then they will have to start a subscription which costs nearly $3.
Owners of Visa cards, both in Ukraine and abroad, can get free access to the content of "SWEET.TV" for a whole year. The offer is valid from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023. Viewers can find out more information about the campaign here.
Since last year, Ukrainian movies have started to appear on the Netflix streaming platform. Viewers can already watch 24 Ukrainian products. Since June, "Luxembourg, Luxembourg" by Antonino Lukach, which has already ranked 8th in the list of the highest-grossing Ukrainian films, and "Klondike," directed by Marina Er Horbach, have been added to this list.
Unfortunately, Ukrainian tapes can be streamed only in the state itself. Millions of fled Ukrainians abroad lost access to the full list of movies, even if they have a subscription. A VPN will help to use streaming platforms without obstacles. By using a VPN connection to a Ukrainian server, viewers can be recognized as a Ukrainian IP and get access to blocked movies.
YouTube has many Ukrainian movies to stream too:
- Dozens of Ukrainian movies and series of various genres are waiting for the audience on the "Ukrainian Cinema" channel. Ukrainian historical films will take the viewer several centuries back and show what life was like for ancestors. Comedies and melodramas will help to relax, and detective stories will keep one hooked to the story.
- "FILM.UA Group" is a Ukrainian company that has created 80 movies, 81 TV series, 18 shows, and six theatre performances. It shares part of the production on its YouTube channel. Viewers can also watch documentaries, educational series, and official movie trailers.
- "#BABYLON'13" is a movie association for the production of short or full-length Ukrainian documentary films. The moviemakers post cultural, social, historical, political, and military parts of their stories. Each of these projects is important historical evidence of modern Ukraine and Ukrainians.
E-government "Diia" app
Many Ukrainians have already installed the e-government app "Diia." Since day one of the full-scale war, the developers have been constantly expanding the app's features, so now Ukrainians can listen to the radio and watch Ukrainian television for free.
"Diia" mainly streams news and children's channels, but Ukrainians can watch new series on the local broadcaster. They can also download the application on Google Play and the App Store or visit the website.
One can also watch Ukrainian movies abroad in cinemas. For example, Canada, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, and the Baltic countries acquired the rights to show the recent Ukrainian movie "Pamfir," which was presented at the Cannes Film Festival. That includes the cartoon "Mavka. The Forest Song", which turned out to be a total blast in many European countries.
Ukrainian cinema weeks are regularly hosted in Poland, Czechia, and other countries. These events support Ukrainian culture and its movie industry, introduce foreigners to the cinematography and let fled Ukrainians feel at home for a while.
More useful solutions!
A streaming service with list of Ukrainian movies
At the beginning of the full-scale war, members of the Irish company "Usheru" appealed to the Ukrainian Institute, wishing to help Ukraine in popularizing its movies. The cooperation resulted in a site that allows one to stream Ukrainian films abroad legally.
Today, the online database created by the Ukrainian Institute in cooperation with Usheru contains more than 600 Ukrainian movies. Here one can get familiar with both old Ukrainian films and modern tapes from local directors. Depending on the person's current location, the site also finds a movie or a streaming service to watch a specific Ukrainian movie. Users are offered a link to watch the movie online legally if it is available on VOD platforms of the host country or in cinemas.
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