A new war documentary film that sheds light on Russian war crimes committed against Ukraine’s national and multicultural heritage is soon set to screen in Malta, as part of its world premiere tour.

Screening at Spazju Kreattiv on 15 December, Erase the Nation documents the resilience and determination of individuals from the world of culture, as they fight to preserve Ukraine’s unique history and heritage in the ongoing war with Russia. A Q&A session will follow with the film’s director and host Tomasz Grzywaczewski – a war journalist and documentary filmmaker with experience of the Ukrainian frontline, and an author of several non-fiction books focusing on Central and Eastern Europe.

“Often, when films focus on war crimes of any kind, culture is forgotten,” explains Grzywaczewski. “I wanted to tell the story of Ukrainian culture and the tireless and courageous work of those fighting to protect it from wilful destruction. Malta’s culture is equally rich, historic and unique, and people in Malta understand how important culture and history are to the national identity, so I believe that Ukraine’s efforts to protect its own culture will especially strike a chord here in Malta.”

Produced by Inbornmedia and supported by the Polish National Institute of Cultural Heritage, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Polish Support Centre for Culture in Ukraine, the powerful film also highlights the deliberate devastation of Ukrainian monuments throughout the country to rewrite the nation’s history. These range from archaeological sites and museums to modern libraries and schools, as well as sacred places such as the cathedral in Odessa. Likewise, it pays tribute to the artists who have perished in the conflict, who would now never have the chance to compose new songs, direct new films or craft new poetry, emphasising the long-term loss of Ukrainian heritage that has already resulted from the war.

“Before the war, there were over 5000 museums, 65 historical-cultural reserves and around 170,000 monuments, including seven UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ukraine. Already, Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy has registered more than 800 cases of destruction by Russian troops on Ukraine’s cultural heritage – a number that rises daily,” adds Grzywaczewski. “I hope that this film will raise awareness about what is happening in Ukraine and highlight the scale of assistance that is needed to protect and restore its cultural heritage.”

Erase the Nation will screen at Spazju Kreattiv, Valletta, on 15 December 2023 from 6pm until around 7.30pm. A Q&A session will follow. Tickets are free, although booking in advance is required at www.kreattivita.org.