Vataha, the Embassy of Ukraine to the Netherlands, and Haarlem4Ukraine organized a film screening of the movie ‘Casa Nostra. Mom is leaving’ with famous actress and activist Irma Vitovska at Maca Amsterdam.The screening and Q&A, not least because of the diverse audience, turned into a celebration of Ukrainian contemporary cinema.
In addition to the screening in Amsterdam, there was another event with Irma Vitovska organized in Haarlem. Both screenings were fully booked out and enjoyed a warm reception by a diverse audience. Young and older, Dutch people, Ukrainians displaced by the war and Ukrainians who relocated to the Netherlands well before the invasion.
The film’s plot
The comedy ‘Casa Nostra. Mom is leaving’ is about Vlada Koza, played by Irma Vitovska, who following the birth of her grandson in Italy travels to help her daughter with the new baby. However, her daughter is not as thrilled about Vlada’s surprise visit. After being kicked out and in a funny turn of events, Vlada ends up getting involved with the local mafia clan which is fighting for its survival. With her caring personality, she adds very useful traits to the struggling mafia clan, at least until Vlada discovers the truth about the clan’s leader.
Irma Vitovska, the lead actress who has been awarded titles such as ‘Woman of the Year 2018’ and ‘Women in art’ from the UN and Ukrainian Institute, stayed for a Q&A session. Answering questions from the audience, she underlined the importance of the support and strength of Ukrainians living abroad and expressed her hopes for the spread of Ukrainian cinema and for the revival of Ukrainian cinema. Vitovska shared some impressions of the Netherlands and talked about the experience of filming the movie in Italy, and communicating with the Italian crew and colleagues despite the language barrier.
Continued support for Ukraine
In her political activism, Vitovska raises funds for the Ukrainian army and terminally ill children. The actress has also been to the combat zone in her support of the Ukrainian troops. Reflecting on her impressions, she said the front line is ‘the place where you see the most acute truth, but also a lot of light from soldiers’ hearts, as if God himself is present in the trenches’. Additionally, the war in Ukraine and continued need for support were central to the discussion. Irma Vitovska urged the Ukrainian diaspora to continue fighting for Ukrainian independence, to maintain public awareness of the invasion and to keep supporting the Ukrainian armed forces.
The screening successfully brought the Ukrainian diaspora together around Vitovska, thereby fighting the feeling of isolation and reconnecting Ukrainians living abroad with the cultural processes and shifts taking place in Ukraine.
This film screening was an initiative from the Ukrainian Embassy, who arranged to have Vitovska present at the film. VATAHA coordinated the public communication and social media promotion of this film screening, as well as the logistics of the evening itself: ticket sale, moderation, and a photographer.
We would like to thank Irma Vitovska for her time, sincerity and support for the promotion of Ukrainian culture in the Netherlands. We look forward to meeting again for new projects. We also thank the engaged and vibrant audience and everyone who helped us organizing the screenings.
By Wiebke Stimming, 20 December 2023