(Click thumbnails above for larger images)
Oksana and I hope to have ready for viewing this September, a documentary about her father, Wasyl (“Bill”) Kuryliw, entitled Chapters and Verses: Action Bill’s Walk Through Life.
Starting some time in 2012, Oksana began thinking about, and doing some research for a documentary concerning the Sudbury Ukrainian community in which she grew up, but over the next couple of years, never came up with a “hook”, or central story theme. After considering interweaving her parents’s stories into the documentary, she decided on a documentary about her father’s life – a man widely remembered, and whose life which indeed was full of stories.
So, we began work on Bill’s documentary in early 2015. We have completed most of the editing as of April, and are now about to have sound editing done, while we work on licensing music and other items used in the documentary.
Below is an early, 4 minute trailer of the film. The final documentary will be about 1 hour in length.
To watch in full screen, click the logo to the left of “vimeo”. Click it again (or hit escape) to return.
About Bill – and the documentary:
Bill came to Canada in 1928, “with $5, a grade three education and a powerful zest for life,” and became one of the most dedicated and most remembered activists in Sudbury’s Ukrainian community.
We’ve used archival video, audio, photos and newspaper stories – including a radio interview where he talks about his early life in his village of Potochysche, and his arrival in Canada. There is also video of him reciting Ivan Franko, and interviews with many who remember him. We hope the film captures the energy and commitment that earned him the nickname “Action Bill”.
The “Chapters” in the film attempt to tell his story, and answer some questions: How did a child from the small village of Potochsyche in Western Ukraine later mingle with the business and political leaders of Sudbury? How did a welder at Inco eventually establish an endowment, named after Ivan Franko, in Ukrainian folklore at the University of Alberta?
The “Verses” in the film are those of Ivan Franko: the poet and writer whose words and philosophy greatly influenced his life and outlook. No event in the Sudbury Ukrainian community – from births to deaths, in halls and homes – was complete without his reciting, from memory, an appropriate Franko poem. One poem (“A Parable About Life”) that was particularly important to him is interwoven into the narrative of the film and of his life.
In addition to poetry, Wasyl had a life-long passion for promoting many other aspects of Ukrainian culture. A self-taught musician on numerous instruments, he was well-known for his mandolin classes, teaching both children and adults to play Ukrainian folk music. He also played cello in the first Sudbury Symphony Orchestra.
He was famous for his tireless efforts to support the Ukrainian community, especially the Ukrainian National Federation and associated organizations. He helped found the Sudbury branch of the UNF, along with the Sudbury Ukrainian Credit Union and Food Co-op. He became perhaps the leading seller of advertisements for the national Ukrainian-Canadian newspaper, New Pathway and sold endless fund-raising lottery tickets.
But he was also passionate about Canada, and believed in contributing to the country that gave him a home. He was well-known by all Sudbury area politicians. The film includes a tribute that members of Sudbury Regional Council gave him prior to his leaving Sudbury. The Chamber of Commerce granted him an honourary membership for the huge number of new members he recruited when their numbers were dwindling.
We hope you can join us at one of the screenings this fall. If you’d like to comment, and/or get updates on the film & its screenings, please fill in the form at the bottom of the page. For more about Bill, and his wife, Anna, see this page.
“Kalina Nehh Verba”
Traditional, performed by St Nicholas Mandolin Ensemble, Lawrence Pshyk conductor
Used with permission of Lawrence Pshyk
Traditional, arranged by Brian Cherwick & Mykola Kusch
Performed by The Kubasonics
Used with permission of Braqin Cherwick
Composed by Vincent Segal
Performed by Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal
Used with permission of Vincent Segal and No Format! Records
Sudbury Regional Council Meeting from Northern Cable Services
Used with permission of Eastlink TV
Radio Interview with Bill
From “Memories & Music” on CKSO-FM
Used with permission of Vale Canada Limited and Newcap Radio