Queer Fighters of Ukraine
Screening and talk with Angelika Ustymenko and Alex King
This documentary offers an intimate perspective on the Russia-Ukraine war through the eyes of Ukraine’s queer community – who are resisting Russia’s invasion but also fighting for equality within their own society. Before the full-scale invasion, the subversive collective Rebel Queers would defy the heteronormative and patriarchal world that so suffocated them by scrawling slogans on the walls of Kyiv including “Queer Sex,” “Make Queer Punk Again,” and “Be Queer, Do Crime, Hail Satan.” The driving force behind Rebel Queers is Angelika Ustymenko, a non-binary and neurodivergent artist and filmmaker. When their country and their community came under attack, they resolved to document the experiences of queer Ukrainians during wartime. On the first anniversary of the full-scale invasion, Ustymenko began a new phase of their documentary project, collaborating with Huck Docs to collect queer soldiers’ reflections after a year of war and exploring the many forms of queer resistance.
Angelika Ustymenko is a non-binary neurodivergent queer artist and activist based in Kyiv, Ukraine. They are a part of Rebel Queers whose actions aim to honor queer people and realize their liberation. In 2018, Ustymenko made their first short film that was shot on 16mm and premiered at Kyiv International Film Festival Molodist. After the full-scale invasion, they evacuated to Berlin and organized an exhibition featuring Ukrainian queer artists. After coming back to Kyiv in spring 2022, they made a documentary about Ukrainian queer people during the war, Ukrainian Queer Fighters For Freedom. In 2023, Ustymenko released a new documentary, Rebel Queers: Ukraine’s Queer Resistance, focusing on queer people in the Ukrainian army as well as a fictional short Before Curfew. Both films premiered at Sunny Bunny LGBTQIA+ Film Festival.
Alex King is Senior Editor at Huck Magazine. Formerly, he was a freelance journalist and documentary producer based between Athens and London, covering humanitarian issues, activism, and alternative culture. He writes for international publications such as The Guardian, Dazed, Huck Magazine, Vice and Novara Media. He is a creative producer with independent documentary collective Perfidious Productions and produced Athena Skates (for Red Bull) and Still, Moving (for Nowness). His debut documentary feature Tight: The Rise of Indian Bodybuilding is forthcoming in 2024.