Ukrainians are a quiet storm building in Hollywood
Beleaguered by the tide of films with a Russian revisionist point of view, Ukrainians in Hollywood are busy promoting Ukrainian interests in films and television. With the birth of the Hollywood Trident Foundation in 1999, the voices of the Ukrainian diaspora are coming to the entertainment surface.
Formed to “create and promote more films, television programs and music which contain Ukrainian content, or are written, produced, directed or acted in by people interested in Ukrainian affairs” as well as counter misrepresentations of Ukrainian history, politics and culture, the Foundation claims participation by some of Hollywood’s heavy hitters including longtime film industry leaders and for several years was chaired by Academy Award winning actor, Jack Palance. Named for the ancient Ukrainian symbol, the Trident, dating back to the time of Prince Volodymyr the Great and commandeered as a symbol of sovereignty in Ukraine’s declaration of independence in 1918 and its more permanent state of freedom in 1999, the Foundation has already made its mark on the Hollywood filmmaking community.
Sponsor of an annual scholarship program in partnership with the Los Angeles Film School for applicants of Ukrainian heritage expressing a desire to learn the craft of filmmaking, Foundation members are preserving both the history of Ukraine as well as defining its future representation in the entertainment industry.
The Foundation is also front and center in the politics of Hollywood. Last year, Foundation chair, Jack Palance (before his untimely passing), penned a letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences thanking members for its rejection of the Ukrainian government’s decision to submit a Russian movie as Ukraine’s candidate for an Oscar. Citing a history of Ukrainian artists through history like acclaimed writers Gogol and Dovzhenko who were forced to work inclusively in Russian, the Foundation shone a spotlight on the enduring historical perception that Ukraine and Russia are one and the same culturally and politically. Kozak ancestors would be proud!