Ukrainian-American director David Gutnik is set to unveil a moving new film documenting artists who chose to stay in Ukraine amidst the ongoing war with Russia. Premiering tomorrow June 8 at Tribeca Film Festival, Rule of Two Walls documents a number of creatives, including anonymous artist Kinder Album, wearables artist Serhii Petrov, rapper Stepan Burban and Lviv Municipal Arts Center director, Lyana Mytsko.
The latter figure would in effect act as a guide for Gutnik in Lviv as he chronicled the horrors brought on by the conflict. “This war changed creators,” said Petrov in the film. “Since art is my life, my only source of living, I will definitely try to create something. If I don’t, I will be over.”
The focus of the film doesn’t solely rest on the artists themselves, but on the Ukrainian film crew as well, many of which had their own stories to share of loss and perseverance. “It just became immediately apparent and necessary and right to include them in a portrait of artists because their stories are as extraordinary as the other artists in the film,” said Gutnik in an interview with Artnet.
The film is a poignant fight for identity, one that has historically been a cause of tension for Ukraine by Russia. “In a better world, this film doesn’t exist,” Gutnik added. “But on the flip side of that, there’s something really awe-inspiring about them and their work. I felt like I was in the company of giants. It made me proud; it made me feel connected.”